What I’m Reading Today: 1 Timothy 1-2
Having been raised in a small church that was VERY traditional, I was taught there was only one kind of prayer growing up. They never used the phrase “intercessory prayer” – but that was the only kind I was taught. By intercessory prayer, I mean the type of prayer when you spend your time talking to (or in some cases at) God.
Intercessory prayer is most meaningful when an individual believes in a God that is transcendent (i.e. “out there in the universe”). Over the years - as my belief in God evolved from a transcendent belief toward a panentheist belief (God is both within and beyond the created order) my prayer life began to be challenged. I no longer felt satisfied spending the bulk of my prayer time talking to/at God.
“What other choices do I have?” I remember wondering.
Consequently, my prayer life began to taper off dramatically.
It wasn’t until I took a wonderful class in seminary titled “The Life of Prayer” that I was exposed to a variety of ways to pray. Once that happened, my prayer life began to soar.
I found that one of my most satisfying experiences in prayer is simply sitting in silence – being open to the movement of the Spirit (what many would call meditation). I also enjoy a form known as walking prayer (repeating a simple phrase over and over under my breath in rhythm to my steps during a walk). I also use my piano playing as a means of prayer. Lately, I have found ways to experience conversations with others as a form of prayer as well. Each of these prayerful experiences has deepened my connection with God in very profound ways.
I suppose my expanded experience of prayer is one reason I appreciate the words offered in today’s passage from 1 Timothy – especially the opening words from 1 Timothy 2 where the author states: “The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how…” That encouragement to “pray every way you know how” is a wonderful phrase to invite all of us into expansive prayer lives.
Today I would invite you to take a moment to reflect on your own prayer life. Is your prayer life a meaningful part of your spiritual life? Do you use more than one method of prayer? If you are looking for an expansive approach to prayer, I would invite you to visit the following link: Vennard Interview. Jane Vennard, the UCC pastor interviewed in the article, was the professor (and friend) who taught the course I mentioned at the start of today’s entry. It might be a helpful resource if you’re looking for other ways to experience prayer.
Til next time…