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Archive for the 'Mysticism' Category

Introduction

One item that Scripture makes abundantly clear is the following admonition: Believers must avoid idols. Both the Old and New Testaments contain numerous commands to not make or worship idols – and they also describe the consequences of breaking those commands. For example, consider the following passages:

Exodus 20:4-6 (ESV):

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Prayer, Liturgy, and Worship

For some time now I have been incorporating written prayers into my morning prayer time. I have been using prayers which I believe come from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) which was nicely laid out day by day for the summer in the prayer manual Phyllis Tickle compiled called Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime. Most of the liturgy/written prayers are actually direct quotations from the Psalms. Furthermore, there is a daily reading of just a few verses from the Gospels and then there are two extra-biblical prayers at the end. I have found that by incorporating this structure it has actually really helped me to be disciplined and enjoy a certain freedom. I still pray “spontaneously” or “from the heart” during my prayer time as well. In fact, with many things, I think this is a case where it might be helpful to take a “bothand” policy rather than “either/or.” Here is a short video clip, I just found, where N.T. Wright speaks on the matter.

Prayer of Examen

Monday was orientation for me (and JohnO) at Boston University. It was a long day starting at 8:30 am and not ending until 4:30 pm. At the end of the day one of the facilitators led us in the prayer of examen. This prayer was made popular by Ignatius of Loyola (the founder of the Jesuits in the 16th century). The prayer of examen is simply a way of reviewing your day and offering God thanks, confession, or petitions as you feel led. I had first come across this prayer technique when I went to Rob Bell’s impressive website (Rob Bell is the pastor of a large church in Grand Rapids, MI, called Mars Hill). Here is a link to the description that he put together. For the upcoming Royal Family Reunion I’ll be leading a workshop called prayer and meditation during which I will be introducing people to this particular prayer along with some others. In light of that I recently put together the following instructions: