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AMEN: Taking a Different Approach to Prayer

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What could you talk about for hours on end? If you’re passionate about something, you want to share your knowledge with the world. You want everyone to be as excited about this particular subject as you are. Let’s say you really love dogs. You own a dog, you are outraged at animal cruelty, you meet a fellow dog-lover and there’s an instant bond. The conversation begins.

I’m passionate about prayer. I pray everyday. I write about spirituality. I talk to others to find out how prayer moves them and what is a turn-off. When it comes to experiencing different types of worship—I’m there! This morning I prayed with the Woman Act Now Morning Prayer on U-stream. It’s an upbeat and empowering online prayer network. The session I followed was led by a prayer-whiz who never gave her name, but—I liked her. The audience for WAN is Christian African-American professional women. They have readings, prayer requests for their families and businesses, blessings for birthdays and lots of lively praise for the Lord. Even though I’m Jewish, I’ve attended gospel-style services before and have always enjoyed the enthusiasm that comes from drawing out an “Amen” to four or five syllables. This morning was no exception. What I found particularly interesting with this method of prayer; was the spontaneous blessings.

Just yesterday, my co-workers and I had a meeting with Julie, a consultant who will be doing some work for our website. The subject of spontaneous blessings came up. Julie was trying to understand how a poem could be a prayer. The business we are in is called Prayables. We’re publishers of original multi-faith prayers for women. What makes Prayables unique is that we encourage a pray making style that is a conversation between a woman and God. It’s always uplifting, sometimes tells a story and often poetic. Ed, our webmaster, recalled how when he was growing up, he was expected to pray spontaneously from the heart, not from written text. I learned how to pray reading from traditional fixed prayers. What if we could add new techniques to our rituals now and then? I liked when the WAN prayer leader took a prayer request and came up with a personalized pray for the circumstances. I’m going to try that. I know there are lots of folks out there who are experimenting with Prayables even though it’s different from what they’re used to. The glory of this passion of mine for prayer; is in being able to see the “ah-ha” moment, when women from different faith traditions realize, we all come together in a prayer experience that is exactly the same for everyone. When we pray, we connect to God with praise, petition and in loving gratitude. Let the spirit move you!

Here’s a favorite prayer:

Worship

I need You, I weep for You, I reach out for You.
I feel You, I think of You, I worship You.
Guide me to be a better person
today than yesterday.
Let the joy of worship manifest in me,
and others will know your comfort,
understanding, forgiveness, and love.

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