Spiritual Life: An Experience in Prayer
by Father Chris Hardman
When I was a young family man financial constraints forced me to learn how to do simple repairs around the house. I learned most of what I know from my older brother and from a man who worked for us at our lumber company. Both my mentors showed me how to repair all kinds of things. But, most of all, they taught me the importance of having the "right tool." Having the right tool is often the difference between getting the job done and having to call someone to do the job - now much worse!
As I have grown older I have begun to realize how important having the right tool is, not only for repairing the house, but also for repairing the soul. Most of us, for instance, have grown up with only one "prayer tool" in our belts, the prayer of petition. Prayers of petition are very helpful when we are praying for a sick friend, but not so helpful when we are trying to make an important decision. In fact, that type of prayer may be a hindrance when we are trying to "let go" of some destructive behavior and trying to "let God" lead us into fullness of life.
This summer I would like to introduce some new "prayer tools." They are not new in the sense of just being invented. In fact, some of them have been around for centuries. But, they are new to most people today, and so they may be new to you too.
The "prayer tools" I would like to introduce will include: noticing God in nature, discovering God's call through nature, centering prayer, walking the labyrinth, praying with scripture, body prayers, the Anglican rosary, icons, chanting, and . . . a whole lot more. In addition, we will explore several books on prayer as well as two new movements, Quiet Gardens and Contemplative Fire.
This series begins on June 1 and will continue each Wednesday at 10:00am throughout the summer. Since some of these prayers will be experienced outside, please wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Bring, also, your sense of exploration and fun. Drawing closer to God is sometimes awe inspiring and frightening, but it is never dull.