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I'm sorry I don't pray that way....

 
 
Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:15 pm
I was at a wedding last week that was of a decidedly Christian sort. At one point in the wedding the minister said "Let us pray" and every head dropped, and every eye closed, and some hands assumed the pose on cue.

Well, okay. Every head and eye and hand but mine.

And I guess Mo's because he saw that I didn't do those things.

Mo later asked why I didn't pray.

I explained that I pray but I don't pray that way and went on to explain that there are a lot of different ways to pray.

So now I'm curious about prayer rituals.

What is your ritual and why is it your ritual?

All manner of Gods and ritual and prayer welcomed here.

Thanks!
 
Intrepid
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:18 pm
Prayer is not a ritual. It is a conversation with God. For one who professes to pray to not accept the way others pray is unusual and perhaps even rude.
Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:18 pm
I don't pray at all. In fact, today I went to a lovely concert at one of our local churches. Before the performer began playing, the pastor offered up a prayer. To his credit, the prayer was quite generic, and designed not to offend anyone, which I appreciated.

In cases like these I look straight ahead, and stand quietly, respecting the rights of others to pray, if that is their desire.
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boomerang
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:22 pm
Mo's only seven years old so his rudness on the matter is excusable.

I'm pretty much the same, Phoenix. I think people should pray or not pray as they see fit.

But I do think there are rituals and gestures involved in prayer, Intrepid and that's what I'm trying to discover -- the purpose of the gestures.
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ehBeth
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:26 pm
I like to go to events at synagogues. Their approach to prayer works for me - seems most like a conversation with God - head up and facing forward.

The Catholic/Orthodox/High Anglican stand up-sit down-etc etc etc feels a bit like being at a high school football game. I find it annoying, and more about the ritual/the priest than my interaction with God.

I don't like the head down thing either - I'm not there because I'm ashamed of something, no need to be hang-dog.
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Intrepid
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:28 pm
boomerang wrote:
Mo's only seven years old so his rudness on the matter is excusable.

I'm pretty much the same, Phoenix. I think people should pray or not pray as they see fit.

But I do think there are rituals and gestures involved in prayer, Intrepid and that's what I'm trying to discover -- the purpose of the gestures.


I certainly do not find any fault with a child in these circumstances and hope that I had not implied such.

I also agree that those who do not pray should just wait quietly while a prayer is being said. I do not, however, understand why people who pray would not fold their hands and close their eyes.

The closing of the eyes takes away any distraction and the folding of the hands gives reverence and since the hands are held near the heart, it symbolizes ones true heart attitude towards God.

I make no judgement on whatever someone wishes to do in such circumstances.
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ehBeth
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:37 pm
Intrepid wrote:
I do not, however, understand why people who pray would not fold their hands and close their eyes.


That's the ritual/convention you are used to - it's not the same in all cultures/traditions.

As much as I don't like some religious practices/habits, it is quite interesting to see the differences (particularly between adherents of the same faith).
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George
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 08:59 pm
As I was driving home from work one evening last week, I was moved
by the beauty of the snow covered trees and said a short prayer. I did
not bow my head or close my eyes or fold my hands near my heart. My
fellow drivers, I'm sure, appreciated that.
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Intrepid
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 09:06 pm
George wrote:
As I was driving home from work one evening last week, I was moved
by the beauty of the snow covered trees and said a short prayer. I did
not bow my head or close my eyes or fold my hands near my heart. My
fellow drivers, I'm sure, appreciated that.


When I am in the car, I do the same thing. Even us Christians have common sense. Laughing
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real life
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 09:51 pm
When you are having an earnest conversation with your friend, you do certain things to insure a profitable time of communication.

These may include looking them in the eye, putting away tasks that distract, etc.

I think the habits of closed eyes and so forth are attempts to do this.
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Diane
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 10:10 pm
EhBeth, you are so right:

Quote:
The Catholic/Orthodox/High Anglican stand up-sit down-etc etc etc feels a bit like being at a high school football game. I find it annoying, and more about the ritual/the priest than my interaction with God.
I always expect to hear someone say, "Simon Says."

Prayer or meditation is such a personal thing that I wonder how anyone can disapprove of another's way of praying or meditating. It is personal and private except when all are praying for another.

Boomer, it does the heart good to hear the questions from Mo, knowing that he will always get an honest answer--or as honest as he can absorb at his tender age.
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hingehead
 
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Reply Sun 2 Mar, 2008 10:20 pm
Diane wrote:

I always expect to hear someone say, "Simon Says."


The few times I've had to experience a catholic mass it was like being in the beginners' aerobics class - I never knew when I was meant to be up or down. Found myself cursing (somewhat inappropriately) half way through.


Did anyone realise that 'Sorry I don't pray that way' is a lyric from 'Tainted Love'?
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 05:02 am
ehBeth wrote:
I like to go to events at synagogues. Their approach to prayer works for me - seems most like a conversation with God - head up and facing forward.

The Catholic/Orthodox/High Anglican stand up-sit down-etc etc etc feels a bit like being at a high school football game. I find it annoying, and more about the ritual/the priest than my interaction with God.

I don't like the head down thing either - I'm not there because I'm ashamed of something, no need to be hang-dog.


Come when we say/sing the Amidah, which involves standing and some bowing, including walking backwards three steps. There is a part where the three patriarchs are mentioned, Abraham -- bow to left; Isaac -- bow to right; and Jacob -- bow straight.

Lots of standing and sitting during Yom Kippur, too, though we're all fasting so it's aerobic. :wink:
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shewolfnm
 
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Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 06:34 am
when I decide to pray / have a ritual

I do a lot of meditation.
I sit down at my alter ( A small table with candles, herbs, incense, water, salt, knife, and paper .. generally..) and I close my eyes and just relax.

I picture a blue energy ( sort of like a smoke screen) surrounding me as I sit, encompassing me, my alter , and a few feet of space around me.
There is a little more preparation then that , that goes in to it but I am not putting all the details....

I envision this smoke screen until my skin is warm and prickling from a soft wind.
I use candles when I pray.

My intent usually written on the candle if possible. I also envision a smoke like energy filling the inside of the candle carrying my intent.
I use paper + hand made ink to write down any other parts of my prayer that may be necessary and I will burn the candle either on top of the paper, or sometimes I will wrap that paper around the candle and let the two burn together.
Depending on how strongly I feel about that particular prayer, I may rub an appropriate oil into the candle or onto the paper. Lose herb if that helps it along, and maybe two or more at a time.

I have a spirit guide who is a beautiful tall dark black woman who wears older, traditional gypsy style clothing that I often envision and 'pray to' or with when I need something.

I also use archangels. Micheal to be precise.

A lot of older, traditional Celtic god/desses , Egyptian.. African.. even some Japanese.

Though, it isnt as simple as I make it out with this paragraph...
I am truly just grazing over it all
In my religion, I can not just bow my head.. though I do sometimes wish I could Smile
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George
 
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Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 08:13 am
Shewolfnm, I'm one of those Catholics who play "Simon-Says". It's good
to see someone out-ritualizing us -- besides the Montreal Canadiens on
home ice. You ought to meet my Lovely Bride sometime. She thinks in a
lot of those same ways.
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 08:28 am
I don't understand why someone would think a person is being rude, if, when someone says "Let us pray" that person doesn't close his eyes and fold their hands.

If everyone else that prays that way was doing what they think they should do, they wouldn't see that you're not. If you are peeking and see someone not doing it, that's hypocritical.

Other christians pray by holding their arms up in the air, sometimes waving them around, with their eyes closed and face turned upwards toward where I guess they believe God is.

If they did that when someone said "Let us pray" would everyone think they were being rude?

Some people pray by whirling around at high speeds, entering a trance.

Bottom line is, you can tell when someone is praying or not, based on whether their eyes are shut, open or rolled back in their heads.

I don't ever pray with my eyes closed, and the world and universe is not a distraction, it's what God and I are talking about.
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Chai
 
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Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 08:33 am
hingehead wrote:

Did anyone realise that 'Sorry I don't pray that way' is a lyric from 'Tainted Love'?


Did you realise that boomerang is the kung fu master at creating double, sometime triple entendres with her thread titles?
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Gala
 
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Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 08:51 am
Intrepid wrote:
Prayer is not a ritual. It is a conversation with God. For one who professes to pray to not accept the way others pray is unusual and perhaps even rude.


I do not agree-- if someone told me they don't and won't pray the way I do I would respect their viewpoint. I certainly would never expect anyone to pray the way I do, let alone ask them...even if it was my wedding.
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Bella Dea
 
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Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 09:13 am
I just do it. I don't close my eyes or bow my head or fold my hands. I just do it. Like God is sitting right there. And I don't do it outloud. It's more like God and I are telepathic. Very Happy
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Miklos7
 
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Reply Mon 3 Mar, 2008 09:25 am
Boomerang, I agree with you that the gestures for prayer that you observed at the Christian church are likely part of a ritual: Probably, most of the parishioners bow their heads in a universal sign of respect; most close their eyes to concentrate on an inner connection; most fold their hands to enhance the meditative effect. Who knows for sure why anyone does anything, but these gestures so typically accompany prayer in Christian churches that they definitely seem ritualistic.

What I usually do when attending a religious service is follow the ritual, out of respect for the congregation--unless I have the feeling that by doing so, I'll offend them. Quietly bowing my head and closing my eyes in a Christian church, I have yet, knowingly, to offend anyone. If everyone is waving arms in the air during prayer, I suppose I'd do that, too. My basic principle for unusual social situations is "When in Rome," and this seems to apply to attending others' religious ceremonies.

In a service foreign to you, no one is apt to ask you to participate in every gesture or ritual. To do so would make visitors uncomfortable. One perfect example I remember from my school days, when I was a junior at an Episcopalian prep school. The headmaster, at the end of lunch, would ask, at random, a boy to give a short prayer of thanks. One day, he called on my friend Jimmy, who was one of only two Jewish kids in the entire school. We all looked at Jim, fascinated to see what he would do. Following the "When in Rome" principle, Jimmy said a brief prayer, but ended it with "through Jesus Christ, YOUR Lord." Three-hundred of us, including the headmaster, laughed for about five minutes. That man had learned a lesson.

How do I pray? Actually, it's meditation, and I do it by disappearing into my breathing pattern or by admiring nature as I hike, climb, bike, etc.
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