Prayer I've been consolidating and editing the prayer section on Glocal Christianity and it's been an interesting trip down memory lane. Clearly I lean towards meditative prayer, but there's some interesting reflections on missional prayer and intercessory prayer as well. 

The most controversial article I ever wrote was on entranced prayer, which generated a huge amount of buzz in conservative circles at the time. The most personally awe-inspiring moment was the healing prayer God answered for a mate with a gangrenous hand.

What struck me as missing though was commentary on confessional prayer. Confessional prayer seems to be under-rated in evangelical circles but I've found it to be life transforming. So, I'm thinking I need to write more on this in future.

4 thoughts on “Prayer over the years

  1. I do appreciate the opportunity for reflection that your blog topics provide, thanks, Matt.
    I think I’ve discovered (or just invented?) another category… Incarnational Prayer. I don’t mean we have out of body experiences all the other times we pray. I am referring to the fact that sometimes just being where we are supposed to be, with whom we are supposed to be – for God, for us, and for others – constitutes an embodied “living prayer”. It may not necessarily be particularly deep (descending into ourselves so that we have an ascension kind of ecstatic experience, but sometimes later on, we may learn of the blessing that our fully present deeds brought to others, or that a shift occurred somewhere inside ourselves… a sign that God lived in, through, with, and/or despite us and our conscious recognition at the time.
    For me, a conscious decision to turn up every Sunday afternoon to facilitate a safe and creative sacred space for a bunch of kids who live in a marginalized, disenfranchised community often results in the realization that something divine, something remarkably special has occurred amongst us just because my friend and I stopped by with our bags full of snax and trix for awhile… although at the actual time, we sometimes wonder what we are doing… surmising if our presence is just a waste of time. We don’t even have a cupboard to properly store the variety of stuff we have to literally cart in shopping bags to cater for the wide-ranging age group (0-15) involved. Then young Aliesha glances in shy gratitude that we noticed she wasn’t there last week; that character of a kid, Benny, cracks up with laughter when caught out on his own little attempt to play a word trick; curly-headed Joeli waits outside the door in anticipation while several of the others lay out some chocolate treats and candle up the cupcakes for his birthday; when we arrive, they all run up the street calling out Church is here! Church is here!
    After a couple of hours with us, they go back to the slum shacks – their “homes” soaked with grog, doused with drugs and awash with verbal, if not physical, violence… to parents (or guardians) who groan and moan with the sure knowledge that in a couple of weeks their housing will be gone… the suburb is due to be gentrified and the Sunday arvoasis will be no more. But hopefully, the cry that “Church is here” will live on in the memories, the hearts and minds of our little ones, and be lived out in their bodies as Incarnational Prayer…

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  2. Richard Foster wrote a book sometime ago called, Streams of Living Water, where he differentiated the various Christian movements throughout history into six broad streams: the incarnational stream, the contemplative stream, the social justice stream, the evangelical stream, the charismatic stream and the holiness stream. I am sure this schema would be challenged by non-Protestants but it’s still worth a read. The incarnational stream had to do with embodiment and the sacramental life. How can we, for instance, express our relationship with God through art, ritual and symbolic action? I think there could be some resonance to what you speak of here in terms of prayerful action, prayerful presence and gospel re-enactment in everyday life.

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  3. “… and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…”
    It’s about humility before God, honesty before God, laying out our lives and our weaknesses before God. The Ignatian prayer of examen can be helpful for this.
    It’s also important to remember that confession can be for corporate sin as well as individual sin. So, the sins of the church should be part of confessional prayer as well.

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