Saturday, June 23, 2012

Praying five times a day

Here is a practice I have picked up from my Muslim friends.

How many of us say "Yes, I pray every day"? But what do we mean?
Many of us mean that we turn to God with requests and petitions - often with the right intention and a good heart, with a desire to help people who are in need or hurting or suffering all across the world.
But we don't always just pray, as in 'spend time to praise and worship God' ...

In the Church of England it has been a practice over the centuries to read daily morning, evening and night-time prayers. A wonderful practice, but often just left to the clergy and not many parishioners come to attend.

My Muslim friends are very familiar with daily prayers. One of the five pillars of Islam is to pray (say Salah) five times a day at specific times.

So I have adapted this concept of regular prayer by putting verses and readings from the Bible to the Islamic prayer movements (standing, bowing and prostrating). I have found prostrating myself before God a particularly powerful experience.

Here is a rough outline of the prayers and readings I use. (I might change the readings and prayers occasionally, depending on what is particularly on my heart)

1)Stand, hand to ears
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be”

2)Stand, hands clasped over chest
Collect of the day

Matthew 5:3-12
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

3)Hands on knees
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. “

4)Stand, “Glory to God and peace to his people on earth”, then
Kneel and prostrate
Lord's Prayer

Kneel and prostrate again
Matthew 22:37-40
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Repeat 2)-4) two- four times, ending on your knees, looking right and left
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all,

Intercessory prayer can be added at the end.

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