We do Inspired Prayer from our unique Address, the place where we will live our whole lives–even if we move from house to house to refugee camp to homelessness to a nursing home to campsite–our body.
Similar to where your smartphone links to communicate with the internet, your body can be only one place at one time. An IP address serves two principal functions for your computer: network interface identification and location addressing.
The divine web already knows who you are, where you are, and who your network is. 🙂 But it’s up to you to link up, to communicate…The IP address of your body can receive and give information that will assist you and all beings to connect well with all that is, was and will be. That’s a bigger, deeper, and more powerful web than the internet.
Your body is your address, the location of experience from which you address Divine. At that nexus of intimacy and intimidation, you can sense your vulnerability, your power, your weaknesses, your longings. In a word, your humanness.
We are surrounded by many machines and manufactured environments squashing the pulsation of other beings. It can be hard to remember we are human. It can be hard to peel back the layers of our robotic routines to touch the emotional intelligence that is anything but artificial. IP can help us with that. Invoking the Spirit in intercessory or internal prayer process lifting petitions also arises our power and purpose to do Divine will. Other alliteration:
I is for internal – intercessory – invocation – invited
P is for petition – power – poem – process
I’ve been asked to be prayer coordinator for Mennonite Church USA’s church-wide convention in Orlando in 2017. We will be a diverse team of people committed to holding open a space for everyone to experience their IP address and connect with the God’s world wide web of All.
WHAT FOLLOWS ARE LISTS THAT I HOPE TO KEEP GROWING. ANY OF YOUR IDEAS ARE WELCOME!
Prayer can be…
-an inward process of returning, remembering, renewing, and restoring.
-an exuberant, spontaneous verbal or physical expression to communicate with God/dess.
-an uninterrupted connection with the divine (like being in the zone)
-musical experience that elevates the soul
-dismantling your illusions about the self; simultaneously revealing your essence
-practices that support you to offer the best of yourself to the outer universe
-a part of the process to being forgiven, forgiving others, or forgiving yourself.
Bible references that can guide our prayers during the denominational gathering:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14
Prayer nurtured Jesus’ relationship with God and energized him spiritually for the work God called him to do. Mark mentions three times Jesus went alone to pray: at the beginning (1:35), in the middle (6:46) and at the end (14:32-36) of his ministry.
Quotes that can inspire the sustained contemplation of the Prayer Team and visitors to our room throughout the week:
“The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.” –Francis Weller, The Geography of Sorrow
“We shall pray our work, but we may not substitute our prayer by work” – Mother Teresa
“Don’t just do something, pray!” -Alan Kreider
Prayer Room for All:
Pillows, colorful cloth, small groups of chairs, grotto-style candles, stones, vocabulary sheets, paper and writing utensils, post-it notes for intercessory dedications, educational section with prayer books, images of people in prayer, tissues, dance space, confessional?, yoga mats
Types of Prayer:
Silent meditation or being still
Sharing what’s going on and asking others to pray for you
Lectio Divina (Focusing on a passage of sacred scripture)
Examining your conscience and consciousness
Freely dancing, shaking, or swaying
Walking meditation, labyrinth, or pilgrimage
ACTS: Prayers of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication
Yoga asanas (to unify mind body and spirit)*
Repetitively singing simple tunes and lyrics or chanting
Activities of Prayer Team:
Meet daily for prayer and sharing
Pray continually based on the requests from convention planners and participants
Be available for intercessory prayer and blessings
Hold ritual spaces for focused time to experience grief, joy, brokenness, and collective power
*My friend Phileena of Gravity Center for Contemplative Activism, wrote an article about how yoga assists her Christian spiritual practice. This is especially helpful in white-dominated Christian spaces, where we have lost a lot of embodiment of the bends and bows in our rituals and expressions of how faith stretches us.