DIVISIONS OF PRAYER CHART
|Definition and Essential Components|
|The intentional reminder of the presence of God, to be aware and conscious of the Divine presence. It is the act of inviting God to bring the awareness of Spirit into one's mind and soul.|
|The honest and revealing telling of one's sins and mistakes to God, to honestly be sorry; to sincerely request forgiveness.|
|The result of a grateful heart. There are four versions of thanksgiving: for Jesus Christ, for all the means of grace, the joy and wonder of life, the gifts one receives, and for persons in our lives.|
|The act of asking God for those things needed for life and living. This prayer is created from the realization that one is dependent upon God for that which gives live and meaning to ones existence. As we pray this prayer, we give our wants and desires over to God, and ask that God's will be done.|
|To offer a prayer of intercession is to lift the needs of the world to God for blessing and help. The naming of those in need is critical. God created us to be in relationship with others. We express that relationship through intercessory prayer. Honest Christ-like intercession is one of the most intense levels of communing with God.|
Patterns of Praying
Everything that increases ones awareness of God is prayer; thus everything that is done in one's daily prayer time is prayer. Whether we are praying the Psalm, The Lord's Prayer, the scripture, personal and intercessory prayers, or our favorite hymn, we are in prayer. Likewise, our journal time becomes a time of writing prayers. While there are various ways to pray or talk with God, one generally finds the method that best fits his or her needs and circumstances. The table below lists the various methods or patterns of praying mentioned in the study book.
Patterns of Praying
Songs: Hymns, Spirituals, Gospel music, etc.
Praying the Psalms
The Book of Psalm
Cultural Prayer Patterns
Native American Spirituality:
Embracing all of God's creation
Praying in Solitude (Aloneness)
Journaling, using written prayers of others, looking at nature, silent meditation, guided prayer tapes, listening to music, praying during a walk or run, or creating a worship center.
Praying for others. Intercessory prayer can be greatly strengthened by fasting..
Fasting is the act of temporarily giving up something that is very important to us in order that we may use the time normally given to that thing for prayer and reflection. Intercessory prayer can be greatly strengthen by fasting.
Prayers of the gathered church, the community of believers
Short, one sentence prayers that may be said in one breath as we breathe in and out.
Praying With Words and Movement: Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Starting position: Stand facing front with hands at sides. Step forward on R. foot - at same time focus eyes upward - raise both arms, palms facing body - L. hand overlapping R. hand - pass hands close to mouth, lift arms high and than open them to denote "all the lands."
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Half kneel, R. foot forward - lower arms - outstretch hands in position of giving -focus still upward. Be glad.
Rise to standing - take 2 steps forward - at same time take arm position and movement of first line except end with hands not separated, with R. hand slightly higher than L. Focus still upward.
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Continue same position except clench fists in a controlled movement - lower arms slightly, raise again for emphasis.
Bring R. hand down pointing to but not touching self. Lower and reach forward with L. hand - palm up (to include all people) . On "we are his" raise both hands high and fairly wide.
Hold that position then- on "sheep" drop to half-kneeling position and look down on "pasture" as hands move out to side and back together with palms down. On "his" (last line) focus upward.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
Rise to standing - take 2 steps forward - hands loosely clasped in front of chest - look upward, then downward.
Take 1 more step forward - raise hands high and separate them about shoulder width.
Drop to a half kneel - bring hands down and clasp them loosely in front of chest -focus upward - on "bless his name" raise hands upward, R. hand slightly above L.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Rise to standing - stand tall - raise clasped hands high and press them together tightly - focus upward.
Movement continuous. Circle arms outward, sideward, downward, crossing them in front of body and continuing until they are stretched high - on "faithfulness" bring arms forward downward to shoulder-high with L. palm up - R. palm down - move R. hand to R. side and back to denote "all generations" - finish with R. palm up, slowly raise arms high, separate them somewhat. Hold.
Meditation is a spiritual and religious practice that helps people deepen their understanding and awareness of the sacredness of life. Meditation techniques have been around for centuries and are often used as a tool for developing a disciplined prayer life. As we practice the techniques of meditation, our minds and bodies are relaxed, and our souls are nourished and open to the presence of the Holy Spirit. We experience a feeling of calm, peace, and tranquility.
According to recent medical studies, meditation has proven benefits to our health as well. Research conducted by the Mao Clinic links the daily practice of meditation with reduced muscle tension, stress and the lowing of the risk of heart disease. The following table lists some ways to meditate, relax, and nourish the soul and prepare for prayer.
Sit quietly in a room alone
Think about all the things you are thankful for, then offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God.
Relaxation breathing can calm and help you focus. Breath deeply and slowly, become aware of each breath.
This form of meditation in motion is an ancient Hindu practice that incorporates proper breathing, movement and posture. The goal is to achieve a union of mind, body and spirit.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese form of martial arts. It involves gentle, circular movements, combined with deep breathing. It is described today as a form of "moving meditation."
Walking is an excellent way to relax and meditate with nature. Observe your surroundings, look at God's creative powers in the universe. Whisper prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude for all of creation.
Listening to music
Select music that has a calming, relaxing affect on you. Playing a musical instrument can also be a good way to center oneself and meditate.
Writing ones inner most thoughts down in a journal while meditating or during moments of solitude is a meaningful activity.
Using written prayers of others
Praying prayers of others, reading hymns, a the Psalm can help create a meditative mood.
This set of 24 cards offer consists of quotes, prayers that can be used for meditation, comfort and challenge. Available through Service Center (Stock #01088, $2.95).
The Labyrinth: Walking Your Spiritual Journey
A labyrinth is symbolic of the journey to the center of one's self. Labyrinths are found in many cultures and traditions, and dates back as far as 3500 BC. The early labyrinths were designed and built on the grounds of monasteries and on the floors of great cathedrals in France. The following Internet references are recommended for those who are interested in learning more about this ancient form of "walking meditation:"
Private Prayer and Corporate Worship
The Breath Prayer
Breath Prayer is a very short prayer, usually only one sentence long. This form of prayer comes from the Hebrew word ruach, which is translated "wind," "breath," or "spirit." Breath prayers are a form of intercessory prayer that can be used not only in our daily routine and prayer life, but also during times of anxiety, fear, distress, frustration, during surgery, and times of illness. Breath prayers assist us to 'pray without ceasing.' This form of prayer can be most meaningful when used in praying for another person, for prayer chains and to build community.
In his book "Into The Light," written by Ron Delbene, the author outlines several steps that one can use in creating breath prayers. The following is an adaptation of Delbene's Five Step self-directed program for creating breath prayers:
- Sit quietly in a comfortably and be still and calm. Close your eyes and imagine that you are in the presence of God. Recalling a favorite passage of scripture can help prepare you for this living into this moment.
- Imagine that God is calling you by name. Hear God asking you: "(your name), what do you want?'
- Respond to God with whatever comes honestly from your heart. Ask yourself: what do I really want that will make me whole? It could be peace of mind, healing from an illness. Your response will be at the heart of your prayer.
- Choose your favorite name for God (God, Jesus, Christ, Lord, Father, Creator, Spirit, Mother God...)
- Combine your name for God with your responses to God's question of "what do you want?" and you have your own personal breath prayer. Write the prayer down and use it several times during the day. Let the prayer become a part of your daily life. Repeat it several times as you breathe in and out....................
- What I want is peace; my name for God is Lord; and my breath prayer is: Lord, let me know your peace.
- What I want is God's presence; my name for God is Creator God; and my breath prayer is Creator God, lead me to the light of Christ..
- Pray your breath prayer as you breathe in and out. It should become as natural as breathing in air and exhaling it.
- Doris Peterson, Worship With Words and Movement (Women's Division of Christian Service, Board of Missions, The United Methodist Church, New York,1970), p. 19.
- Meditation: Calming Your Mind, Body and Spirit, from http://www.MayoClinic.com., special to http://www.CNN.com.