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An Experimental Prayer

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by TomOver TomOver 10 months ago.

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  • #528820
    TomOver
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    Manatee said:
    Tom, that’s the best post I’ve ever seen you write. Refreshing and honest.

    And MO, that is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen. :)

    Thanks Manatee, but in what ways is it refreshing and honest for you ? Thanks

    #528821
    Manatee
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    It shows a humbleness I don’t often see.

    TomOver said:
    Thanks Manatee, but in what ways is it refreshing and honest for you ? Thanks

    It shows a humbleness and a willing to find out.

    Both prerequisites for great spiritual and scientific explorations, IMHO.

    #528822

    jcdoctor
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    I recommend you all check out egwritings.org. Search for the book Power of Prayer by Ellen White. I would also check out Steps to Christ and The Great Contreversy. All the books on this website are free and perfectly give answers to your question and will satisfy your desire to learn more about prayer. If not these than read Matthew 6:9. Happy new year folks!

    #528823

    jcdoctor
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    Sorry its egwwritings.org and the books are simple to read and phenomenal trust me.

    #528824
    TomOver
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    jcdoctor said:
    Sorry its egwwritings.org and the books are simple to read and phenomenal trust me.

    It sounds written from a Christian perspective. What does Christianity offer that other religions don’t in terms of doing our best to make the world a place where there’s less suffering and more well-being ?

    Thanks for the info. I intend to give it more than a cursory look.

    #528825
    jillg
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    Tom, I don’t feel that I’ve gone so far as to solely care about “hyper-consumerist and escapist pursuits” as you put it. I live in a modest house. We don’t vacation. We don’t have cable or smart phones or other such luxuries. However, we are comfortable and have some security. I take my kids with me every other Saturday to deliver meals on wheels because I agree that it is good for them to understand what it means to help others. I don’t say this to imply that I’m doing everything I could do. We could get by on less, and we could give more, but I don’t, and it’s something I think about often, which is why I responded to your post in the way that I did. I’m sorry that it bores you.

    #528826

    jcdoctor
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    Tom, Christianity acknowledges that Jesus Christ is part of the Godhead (Father, son, and holy ghost) and that he came to earth to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life, John 3:16 and Jeremiah 31:3. Christianity is not just about loving your neighbor but also focuses on your own personal salvation and the hope of a better place when Christ returns for a second time to take us to heaven. I encourage you to read browse the website I gave you because it will make more sense and you can make your own decision regarding this. Blessings.

    #528827

    dogfart
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    arent all prayers experimental

    #528828
    Manatee
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    dogfart said:
    arent all prayers experimental

    True dat

    #528829
    TomOver
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    jillg said:
    Tom, I don’t feel that I’ve gone so far as to solely care about “hyper-consumerist and escapist pursuits” as you put it. I live in a modest house. We don’t vacation. We don’t have cable or smart phones or other such luxuries. However, we are comfortable and have some security. I take my kids with me every other Saturday to deliver meals on wheels because I agree that it is good for them to understand what it means to help others. I don’t say this to imply that I’m doing everything I could do. We could get by on less, and we could give more, but I don’t, and it’s something I think about often, which is why I responded to your post in the way that I did. I’m sorry that it bores you.

    Hmmm. I need to be more careful about clearly stating what is in response to what you wrote and what I’m writing regarding what might be related to what you wrote.
    So, I didn’t say ur post bored me or that I think you are hyper-consumerist and escapist. But my comment was nonetheless a lapse of social awareness on my part. Sorry.

    Meals on Wheels sounds interesting. Maybe I should check it out. As for an experimental prayer, on the one hand, I want to express my concerns about what doesn’t make sense to me about the major religions, and to express my hunch that ecology will give rise to a science-based form of spirituality. (Critics of animal rights and critics of ecology movements are already wary of the religiosity among some activists.)

    But, on the other hand, if I am truly focused on doing my best to love, that is, to help make the world a place of less suffering and more well-being, I will forge common cause with theists and atheists alike.

    #528830
    TomOver
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    My experimental prayer continues consciously and deliberately as well as unconsciously. But for a slogan, I suggest “much more is possible with love,” over “with God, all things are possible.” Perhaps the latter would be more useful if it read “FOR God, all things are possible, but for the rest of us, MORE things are possible with love, God or no God.”

    #528831
    TomOver
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    Here are emailed comments from Nathan Schneider of wagingnonviolence.org[/url] His book is God in Proof[/url]

    Nathan Schneider: The idea of “experimental” prayer is, in the Christian tradition, in some sense a contradiction in terms, since prayer is so infused with the cultivation of pre-existing longing and faith and commitment. From that perspective, there is something sort of disingenuous about tinkering with prayer in this way; it should be as natural as breathing, or as obligatory as going to one’s job. But that’s not to say I think you’re being disingenuous at all!

    One thing that your experiments remind me of are my own experiments when I was younger with Eknath Easwaran’s book Meditation, which I’ve always found very valuable. He takes prayers from across traditions and adapts them to a method that is more akin to Buddhist or Hindu meditation practices, which themselves are more much aligned with the mode of experimentation.

    Tom Over : Is your ultimate goal to obey God, or is it to use love to help make the world a place of greater well-being and less suffering ?

    Are those aims one and the same, or do they instead overlap, with some cases in which the will of God does not seem (to the minds of humans) to tend to promote well-being ?

    Nathan Schneider: For me, God is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. God is not something to use as a tool for reducing suffering and countering hate; God is the name I use for what calls me to do those things. Prayer, to me, is an act of love and not a test of truth, any more than one should say “I love you” for the sake of judging what the other person will say next.

    There are many people, a few of whom I profile in my book, who view religious traditions primarily as a series of objective truth claims to be proved or disproved, and who go to great lengths to do so. I’m not one of them.

    As I tried to make clear, I did not mean to call your experiments “disingenuous.” Only that your approach to prayer is kind of upside-down with respect to conventional Christian practice. But that’s not a reason not to try it.

    #528832
    TomOver
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    dogfart said:
    arent all prayers experimental

    See Nathan Schneider’s comments above. But as for my critique of religion, I want to proceed respectfully. Religious folk such as Gandhi, King, William Lloyd Garrison and others inspire me with how they faced with dignity trying circumstances.

    Being open-minded and honest, I wonder if I’d resort to non-experimental prayer if I were in tribulation, or if I’d revert to an atheist mantra for meditation: “love, love, love, love” or maybe “do my best to love, do my best to love…”

    But even if I’d resort to (thinking I was) having a relationship with God while facing a trying situation, and even if many other theretofore atheists did likewise, does that necessarily prove the existence of God ? Perhaps all humans have a tendency to believe in an illusion while under duress.

    Whichever, I wonder if I should continue with my experimental prayer so as to, somehow, be better prepared to not only endure tribulation, but triumph, spiritually.

    Related to thinking about this is my ongoing hunch that I’m too comfortable and that my excessive comfort results from not doing enough to help make the world a better place.

    #528833
    TomOver
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    I ask this of God (if she exists). Help me back to love when I stumble into the vortex of hate or wander into the fog of indifference.

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