‘Prayer’ Category Archives
ANZAC gives us time to reflect on the futile hideousness of war.
Also on how — human nature being basically good — peace will overcome evil if we try hard to copy the courage of the ANZACS.
Unfortunately, this second reflection isn’t true.
Today’s world has reached a point where wishful thinking can no longer keep us dumbed-down like before.
Meanness, lying, bullying, hatred – these dominate both our personal lives and international geo-politics.
What to do?
There are many options, e.g. pre-emptively blow North Korea apart, teach children gender-inclusiveness, adopt various postures towards Islam, impose sanctions on certain nation-states…?
None of these measures are sufficiently practical.
The most practical thing you and I can do is to pray.
How about an extra hour of praying per day?
On the contrary, if you don’t do it, I think you won’t have any time at all.
None of us will.
Time, for humans, may well be no more.
Some Muslims commit atrocities while crying out “Allahu Akbar”.
It apparently means “Allah is greatest”.
Greatest? That can’t be right.
Muslims passionately profess to believe in only one god.
If so, wouldn’t he be better described as — not “greatest” — but the “only” god.
Jesus Christ taught believers to address God as “Our Father”.
He combined the creator’s uniqueness with a personal and intimate relationship that Islam doesn’t teach.
The lovingness of a Christian’s relationship with his/her God seems unique to Christianity.
It’s a wonderful thought. Surely it’s something every person is looking for, if only they knew it.
Why don’t they know it?
If only Christians’ lives more convincingly bore witness to their sharing in God’s fatherly love….
Today might be a good day for us to start trying a bit harder.
The day to either celebrate — or to deliberately ignore — the birth of Jesus Christ.
Whatever else he was, this Jewish prophet had a message for the whole world that he called the “Kingdom of God”.
He taught us to pray for the coming of that Kingdom:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.
“Give us today our daily bread — and forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven those who are in debt to us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
That was the prayer.
He followed immediately with the comment:
“Yes, if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours;
“But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.” **
The prayer is 2000 years old.
The commitment is one that we have, so far, not disciplined ourselves to live by.
If, with God’s help, we did live by it, would not the problems of fear, terror, genocide, gossiping, broken homes – all such things going on unchecked in our greedy world – start to give way to a new, better world?
Are you (am I?) willing to start praying it and doing it at the personal level — starting now?
(** source: Saint Matthew’s gospel, chapter 6)
“DISTURB US, LORD, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
“When our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little;
“When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
“DISTURB US, LORD, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
“Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity.
“In our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.
“DISTURB US, LORD, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery;
“Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
“We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes;
“And to push into the future with strength, courage, hope, and love.”
(attributed to Sir Francis Drake, 1540-96)
by Arnold Jago in Faith, God, History, Multiculturalism, Prayer
Last Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited Pope Francis at the Vatican in order to pray together.
The previous day, the Pope tweeted, “Prayer is all-powerful. Let us use it to bring peace to the Middle East and peace to the world.”
Within moments, his message was re-tweeted and favourited all around the world.
* * *
How can these men pray together?
What have they in common?
Well, the prayers of the three faiths are so beautiful — among the most beautiful words known to mankind.
The prayer of the Jew going something like this:
“It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to ascribe greatness to the Author of creation . . . . We bow in worship and thank the Supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed is He . . . . The Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below. There is no other.”
“Praise be to Allah, Lord of Creation, the compassionate, the Merciful, King of judgment-day. You alone we worship and to you alone we pray for help. Guide us to the straight path . . . .”
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven . . . .”
* * *
All magnificent sentiments.
We must teach our children such prayers — and somehow convince them to live by what they say.
Consider the phenomenon of suicide bombing — a dreadful problem that peace-desiring Muslims, and the rest of us, seem unable to solve.
What is taught in Islamic schools (and all schools) must include a love for what is in common to our faiths . . . .
Plus a love for those whose faith is different from ours (yet with so much that is good that we hold in common).
If all adherents of all three religions were to say (and mean) the words of the Pope’s tweet at least once a day . . . .
Might that be the start of something good?
There was a time when suicide was considered so upsetting that people felt too uneasy to discuss it.
Which was understandable.
There was a time when suicides weren’t buried in the normal part of the graveyard.
Suicide was considered an act of defiance of God who has lovingly given us our life, and it never being right to throw away a loving gift.
Yet we know that many people committing suicide aren’t in full control of their reason and so not fully responsible.
Might the deeper, secret part of a person’s soul still believe in God and hope in God and love God — even while the surface part is driving them to an act of despair?
While suicide is a terrible mistake, we know that, whatever sin a person commits, if we regret and feel sorrow for our sin, God will pardon.
Only God sees and judges our hearts.
In our prayers it is right always to pray for the souls of the departed.
That is something we can do every day.