continuing the conversation: prayer

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Yesterday, Teri preached about the power of prayer. She suggested that the power of prayer is in its ability to build our relationship with God, and so to change us into kingdom-dwellers, as opposed to thinking of prayer as magic. During the sermon, she mentioned that she’d created a sheet of different types of prayer and made it available at the back of the sanctuary. In addition, there’ll be some fleshing-out of those ideas here on the blog. All these ideas come from the forthcoming book tentatively titled And Then We Just Got Really Busy–Spirituality for a New Generation.

Today’s idea is praying with the radio. Many of us listen to the radio frequently–in the car, at work, or while doing chores. Or maybe we just have iTunes or CDs playing–those work too! Any kind of music can be a vehicle for prayer.

“The music on the radio, even if it’s the top 40, can be part of your spiritual practice as well! Notice when lyrics draw your attention, or when a melody makes you want to sing along. What is it about that song that connects with your spirit? Does the song speak to your emotional state, to the reality of your life, to your hopes and dreams? Is there a song that summarizes your experience of God or your adventure of faith? Can you use the songs on the radio to hear the movement of the Spirit, or to express your own feelings to God? Of course sometimes the songs on the radio are not exactly great theological treatises. But there’s often something that can spark your imagination—a word or a phrase, an image or a snippet of melody. If you hold on to that and let the rest of the song be a backdrop for the thoughts sparked by that one little thing (as long as you’re still paying attention to the road if you’re driving, of course) the radio can be a great way to pray.”

What do you think? What caught your attention, sparked your imagination, or prompted a question in the sermon? How do you connect with God? What do you think about praying with the radio?

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3 responses »

  1. Exactly!!! There are so many ways to listen for God’s voice in our lives. When Teri spoke of listening to the music of today, I was reminded of a tradition that goes back a long, long time. It reminded me of good ole Martin Luther and his tuning into the music at the taverns and striking what we know as the traditional hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God!” It also reminded me of the many folk song artists and rock and rollers of the 60’s and 70’s when I was young. Paul Simon’s the Sound of Silence, comes to mind as I heard it as a call of a spiritual seeker, looking for answers, a quest that every human is on at sometime in their lives. I often find myself caught up in the words and works of artists like the Indigo Girls these days. Unlike my earlier years, I find that I am less consumed with finding the answers and more interested in the questions and the journey of listening and trusting that God will show God’self along the way, in the needs of someone else along my path, in the wisdom found by a friend, in the sense of wholeness and holiness of a beautiful sky and in the sense of wonder at the world like a child gazes at a starlit night. This is certainly contrasted with the ugly acts that humans can purpetrate on one another. I feel God calling me (us?) to seek ways to respond that brings the light of understanding to that ugliness and presents with an opportunity a transformational response. In other words, when someone says something that is demeaning of another, demeaning of themselves, demeaning of any child of God, can I have the courage to identify my own lesser self, be vulnerable enough to say I too am sinner, but still loved. Having this courage gives perspective and the potential to identify and invite one another into a deeper conversation…. with one another …with God … seeking guidance and direction from the Spirit of Christ within each of us. Is this the “Secret World” Peter Gabriel speaks of in the song by that name?

    What do you think of this rambling comment. I was not sure where I was going, but listening for the spirit. Join the conversation!

    • I had a professor in seminary who was almost stoned by his students because he said that Simon and Garfunkl lyrics were shallow! I would have been happy to throw the first stone but we decided it was not the most Christian way of responding.

  2. Funny you should talk about music providing the other half of a dialectic that leads to prayer. I recently had a perfect example of exactly that phenenon. I was not listening to the radio but watching PBS channel 20 and heard an artist new to me. I will give you the lyrics below. When you know that I am thinking a lot about my aging you will see how the lyrics was evocative. Here they are:
    cause I’d rather be 75 and sunny
    than 29 with a chance of showers all the time
    I’d rather be older than the wind
    then this years new kid runnin’ for my life
    or to be through at 52 someday, stoned faced and leery eyed
    you better believe i’m lookin for the moment but my moment
    you better believe i’m lookin for the moment but my moment
    you better believe i’m lookin for the moment
    but my moments growin’ bigger by and by by and by

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