Monday, September 10, 2007

HAVING A CONVERSATION ABOUT.....Prayer


In a recent blog entry Lorie started a conversation about prayer. I posted on her blog and my post got longer and...longer. Not hard for an extrovert :) However I realized several things as I started to write about this topic and my own journey of faith and prayer:

1) The topic of faith and prayer speaks to the core of who I am and who I long to be.

2) I often read blogs about the discipline of being a triathlete and the training and races it takes to improve at that sport. I'm a walker, not a triathlete. However the "race" I am running, the time I am training..is my walk with God. Prayer is a huge part of that walk.

3) If you asked me to list the three most important parts of my life, my relationship with God would be in my top three. At times it is number one, other times it is third. My relationship with family and the people I love is right up there as well.

Communicating with God , talking to God, listening to God, having quality time with God nourishes my life. That relationship requires time, intention, care, honesty, listening, and talking, just as any human relationship does. If I don't spend quality time focusing on Bert, our relationship gets stale and it doesn't grow. If I neglect my relationship with God (don't learn more, worship, pray) my relationship with God is in words only. My behavior doesn't say that God is a priority. My relationship with God gets stale.

4) I started my relationship with the Lord when I went to Malibu at the end of 8th grade. It was
there that I met God and Jesus face-to-face, heart-to-heart.

However, truth be told, at times I have set God on the back burner of my life. I felt like I had all the answers. And yet when push came to shove, and tragedy struck, I would talk to God (pray) without so much as an apology for ignoring Him. At those moments of grief and despair I turned to Him expecting Him to change the course of events..for Him to make everything better.

I remember those times and am struck by how human that is and at the same time how totally self centered that is. Amazingly, He forgives me for being so self-centered.

5) Going to church, worshiping with others, going on spiritual retreats, reading
books about faith, and praying is how I grow and get more mature in my faith and prayer life. This isn't easy. It takes a huge amount of self discipline.

6) Really loving God with all of my mind, heart and soul...and loving others as myself...is NOT an easy task. Those are not just words. This is a daily walk. I can only do this with His help. I'm not humanly capable of this. Praying to Him is part of that journey.

7) Etty Hillesum, the young Jewish girl who kept a diary during her stay at Auschwitz, wrote of her "uninterrupted dialogue" with God. She had epiphanies even in that morally
barren place. She prayed,

"Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet planted on Your earth, my eyes raised towards Your Heaven, tears sometimes stream down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude." She knew the horror. "And I want to be right here in the thick of horror and still be able to say: life is beautiful...For once you have begun to walk with God, you need only keep on walking with God and talking with God. He is in that horror with you and He will give you joy and peace."

8) I have some favorite books that encourage me in my faith and prayer life. Here are just a few:

The Bible- The Message- translation by Eugene Peterson
Traveling Mercies- Ann Lamott
Grace Eventually- Ann Lamott
Prayer- Does It Make A difference? Philip Yancey
Come Away My Beloved- Frances Roberts
Jesus in Blue Jeans
The Only Necessary Thing-Living A Prayerful Life-Henri Nouwen

9) Yancey, a Christian author says, "If I had to answer the question "Why pray?" in one sentence, it would be, "Because Jesus did."

10) Every morning I start my life with a cup of coffee and this prayer:

Dear God...
As I wake up this morning
may Your spirit come upon me.
May my mind receive Your emanations,
my soul receive Your blessing,
and my heart receive Your love.

May all those I meet
or even think of on this day
feel better for it.

May I contribute peace.

May I serve Your purposes
with all I say and do,
today and always.

Please show me how.

Amen."

Love and Hugs to all who read this! God Bless! Love, Linda

6 comments:

kathibest said...

I think the theme here is.......

Honoring Difference!

No Matter who you are or what it is that you are working on or trying to master in your life....

there is honor and recognition....

whether it is prayer, triathlon, exercise, loosing weight, improving your marriage, working on your career, parenting, no matter what.........

It requires, energy, focus, determination, organization, desire of your heart, willingness to learn and grow and an investment of your self and time.

We are all passionate about different things and probably at any given time have different things on our "top 3" list!

Honoring difference is valuable and necessary and we should focus our energy on being happy for people who are working on stuff, no matter what the stuff is!

Going forward passionately in anything is progress and positive energy.

Thank you for the Love and Hug, :o) you offered for all who read, I will take it!!!

I am happy for you that Prayer is such a meaningful part of your life, that is inspiring!

Linda Seppa Salisbury said...

Kathi-
Thanks for your comment!
Honoring differences is absoluutely one of the themes here. We all have different areas of passion and intention. Many of us have a different "top three".

In my mind, we have no idea the time, dedication, focus, work and energy each one takes unless we ask, listen, and care about each other's areas of passion!

I have loved reading about and supporting your passion of triathlon.

Thanks for listening and caring about one of mine! :)
Love Linda

The Farrell Family said...

Mom, thanks for sharing what was on your heart about prayer. I know that prayer is one of the most important things that I spend time on during the day. My prayer time is what keeps my connection with God open. Just as a relationship would close without communication... I need to be in constant communication with God.

I pray for you daily and appreciate your prayers for me and my family.

I love you!

LORIE said...

Linda: I appreciate your insight on this topic. I found it inspiring and helpful. . . thank you for your "mom moment". . . your gift to me.

jessithompson said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart, mom. Thank you for always keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I love you!

The Farrell Family said...

Prayer is simply communicating with God by listening as well as talking. The
acrostic ACTS is helpful in recalling the various components of effective prayer, though the order is not necessarily rigid.

"A" is for adoration - worship of God, first for who He is; and second for all
of His benefits. He alone is worthy of our adoration and praise.

"C" stands for confession. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Sometimes this
component should take priority, especially for the unbeliever and the
disobedient believer, because God does not hear the prayers of the disobedient
until they confess. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear
me" (Psalms 66:18, KJV).

"T" is for thanksgiving - gratitude to God for His blessings.

"S" represents supplication - expressing our petitions to God for individuals
and specific things and events.

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