Is Prayer Navel Gazing?

When I was growing up I took piano lessons. Now, don’t get excited and think that I should accompany your next recital. For the number of years I took piano lessons, I really should have more to show for it. But, I wasn’t very diligent in my practicing and once I left home for college, I never continued to play. Due to my lack of contact with the piano over the years, that skill is long gone.

It’s that way with most things. If there is a skill we wish to acquire, it is a natural consequence that practice will make us better at it. It is no different in our human relationships. We know that being attentive to them is necessary for them to be sustained and grow.

The same is true in our relationship with God. Communication is necessary and yet we sometimes find it difficult to access that relationship. Prayer is the primary means through which we communicate with God. Of course, we connect with God in many ways, but prayer, in its many forms, is the way we converse with God.  

I once heard someone say that prayer is too much “navel gazing” and not enough action out in the world. I looked up the definition of navel gazing: “self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself or a single issue, at the expense of a wider view.” I don’t agree that prayer is anything like that! We pray SO THAT we will nurture our relationship with God. One of the consequences of a relationship with God is that we are motivated and nudged to ACT in the world with kindness, justice, and mercy. It is through my prayer life that I have heard the sometimes still small voice of God and the sometimes giant kick in the back-side voice moving me on into action. 

I appreciate that my relationship with God continues to grow as I intentionally seek out new ways to pray. Maybe you are also looking for new ways to communicate with God. To that end, I hope you will consider joining us for one or more of the following prayer practice sessions.  abeaty@firstcongmadison.org  Child care provided.

 

Sunday, January 11 at 8:45am (chapel) The Breath Prayer

Sunday, January 18 at 8:45am (chapel) Centering Prayer

Sunday, January 25 at 8:45am (chapel) The Examen – God in the Day to Day

 

Sunday, January 11 from 11:30 am -1:00 pm Praying in Color (includes lunch)

Maybe you love color. Maybe you are interested in knowing God better. Maybe you find yourself easily distracted when trying to pray. Maybe you are a visual learner. Using the book, Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God, by Sybil MacBeth, we will experiment with several new ways of praying. RSVP by Sunday, January 4. Child care available. Please let us know about child care when you RSVP.

 

Wednesdays January 7-February 11 from 6-7 pm

Service of Quiet Reflection: This service includes music and silence, prayers for healing and Holy Communion. Scripture and readings are provided for those who wish to have a focus during the music and personal prayer time.

 

~ Ann Beatty

 

Posted on December 9, 2014 at 10:22 am in Featured News.

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