Let’s Pray! (Contemporary service) – Rev. Barbara Prose


It’s kind of amazing that I’m up here this Sunday morning talking to all of you about prayer since I have learned more about prayer from all of you… than almost anybody else in my life learned from being in this church, learned from going to chorale rehearsals, learned from going to praise and worship services on friday evenings, learned from what I’m experiecing right now [there] What I’m feeling right now… I guess, they say, the presence of spirit around me, inside me, among us what Pastor Davis has told me he calls the holy spirit… I feel the freedom to express my deepest longings… and disappointments and still know i’m still loved and surrounded by
love that won’t let me down it’s a powerful, an incredible feeling… and if you want to know the truth… it’s kind of a high… for a gray-haired, middle-aged woman… who grew up… who grew up… and I’m telling you the truth this morning… in New England, where those pilgrims landed… It’s an honor for me to be with you here this morning, to tell you of my own story and my own journey with prayer you may or may not be surprised to hear
that if I’m a minister today, it’s because of the way i felt myself break open in a prayer circle about twenty years ago it’s true it’s an experience of prayer that
compelled me in that very moment to devote myself and my life to god who i often call in my own private prayer life
holy mother god i guess i had no idea and i mean no idea what that vow would mean are wary when lead me on that date when you sit down might here might forget it and they make it kinda shy percent not
actually gone to stand up in pulpit simply to work and i don’t know why in for a five years before my husband headcount here tonight
in the i did i ever think about coming to live in oklahoma have the right side of it on a piece of
paper on that fateful day on my alter at home in every wired on that he’s the
paper is as to today as it was twenty years ago well that’s the say we never know what’s
going to happen when we pray about life you know more about me i want
to talk a little bit my back hannah who we met this morning prizes like several stories in hebrew
and christian scriptures about women who are childless and we meet them and then
are blessed by god would miraculous pregnancies hannah is one sarah is another go back
i’ve another great shows another elisabeth is another there are several mister lazer often used to demonstrate
but that’s how are you and the power of prayer but today i want to talk to you less about the
power of prayer to change the reality around us and what about the power of
prayer to change the reality inside us did you have any talk about the
specifics of pair the how the way they are the women the why affair is just like in music two-second castesystem using cash honors
and styles techniques and technologies of prayer he says this morning is how can appraise after everyone houses painted offerings are made
hennessey’s behind all alone on the temple steps she presents herself not to the priest
but to the lord himself and she makes of our or promise she tells dot she will give up her son
and service to the temple if the lord will give her a child’s can appraise silently and she is so intense and so sincere so
filled with purpose and longing her lips move although no sounds come out of her
mouth she prays her heart out before the lord but here are the priest this is n_p_r_’s she’s drug this is what he says how why will you
make a drunken spectacle of yourself later wining the priest grumbles but hannah answers i’m jumping either wine or strong drink i’ve been pouring out my soul to the
lord you have to stop here for a second after marlon make an observation before and i have some people are comfortable at rock concerts
bleeding their hands high above their heads swinging in singing to the music
better still uncomfortable without high-energy energy be love here in worship and i have haha moments when i imagine
myself sitting on the steps like anna hearing my priest or my pastor acute when i’m in frank use me being drunk i wondered if letting ourselves go letting us of the free in which it
together is a hard because one some of us are afraid someone will judge
us and to because because we are sober because we can’t rely on drugs or alcohol to help us release
inhibitions in that way so i’m gonna speak for myself pyrrhic not that general we cuz i know sometimes on afraid to let myself go completely and praise
and worship because i’ve been tops much like that agencies that support out
my soul to the lord to express their deepest longings of my
heart locally will confuse and concerned some people even people close an important to me that may make a time under the influence
of something dangerous time on rational and now untrustworthy so uh… i thank you all this morning
for teaching me and it isn’t so but leaping out of the priest knows
she’s realizes she’s not drunk a crazy and lessons learned asks at the board of israel answer her prayer so i’m curious this morning i wanna ask
you how do you experienced prayer at that point out of your soul to the
lord’s resilience pouring out a sudden but i think u and how do you create differently now
than the way you were taught as a child’s and how many of you act serious as the
children were this morning about different ways of praying you find that i think you one last
question already pay in several different leave
yourself thank you incubators wait another cuz i’m definitely answer yes to all those
questions and here’s part of my story i want to talk to pay for child didn’t learn how or where when or why it
took a the great thing about that is it allowed
me to discover prairie my own time inorganic and open way i could address the holy in a variety of
reacting there is a man started being a minister i wasn’t quick to judge cases
patients in the hospital for their beliefs or their lack of the
lease during my years in seminary though i
also know that my mother although she never told me still recited the lord’s prayer every
night before she went to sleep that my mother scientifically minded
humanist psychologist and reference librarian how many you know how you know c_n_b_c_ predicts prayer life what does
that mean about what they are me to get that have to tell you a story a
true story that something happened when i still
lived in maine i’ve been thinking about it lately
because of the four women who were shot and killed not far from nyc where i live
here in tulsa on east fifty-fifth street some of you know i walk in the morning on this particular walk i was just
coming to the top a small hill when i heard what sounded like gunshots i stopped and waited for the silence the
reassuring silence that would mean headed in a car backfiring or a random
rifle shot this time though instead of silence i
heard a woman yelled someone call nine one white house someone call nine one one instantly i turn hysteria walking and then a running back
downhill towards the woman’s voice thinking those
workshops there’s a real science something’s wrong and yes i got home and raising the flag
in front of the coast guard station i stopped askin if you’ve heard the same thing
i’ve heard and then i just ran on in a driveway the bottom the hell i saw
something out girl with her arms stretched high over her head walking away from a house toward the road i was on as a vent hole up toward her i could see
she was holding the phone and a smaller boy with walking with him rise block with mine staring into my eyes he said help me my daddy has killed my mommy my daddy has killed my grandmother lead time she finished her second
sentence i was at her side to give me the phone and we took each
other’s candidate reenact wants into the middle of the road together as i told a man on the other end of the
line there we would wait for him until he got there we’d stand right where we wear and wait i hung up and the coast guard cemented followed
not far behind us turned us toward the coast guard station saying
let’s get you off the street inside without a corner of the room them to settle in and the coast guard
guys brought us doughnuts and drinks brought us doughnuts and drinks and the next hours listening to the girl who was nine
and a boy who was six tell me about what they had seen i listen to what they thought was true and what they hoped was not when i finished telling me about what he
just happened they started to tell me about their mom about how she told them stories at that
time about the songs she saying to them and they had trouble falling to sleep about how she insisted they do their homework even about how
she sometimes that angry at them when they didn’t and i have seen need them clean up their
roof when a man out of stories and steam i hurt myself asking them would you like me to pray they nodded yes as already in seminary and i had just set up a semester of
chaplaincy with my local police department believe it or not i had no idea when i was gonna say i don’t remember every word it said something like that dear god, we are afraid, and we are tired and we are very very sad we want all the people we love to be alive it’s hard to know right now what’s real and what’s not please give us the strength to face whatever comes next thank you for keeping us safe. i remember a long silence. and a few more words coming out i opened my eyes and looked right into
theirs if I know anything in this moment i know your mother is happy that you’re
here that you’re safe that you’re alive this is… a good… thing… thank you in that moment there were lots of reasons not to pray my words couldn’t fix anything my prayer wouldn’t and couldn’t make any
difference in the outcome i didn’t know the right words to use, i
didn’t know how to start or how to end or who I was thanking. on the one hand how could i pray and on the other hand how could i not but i know today is i’m glad i did and also know that my presence before i
spoke was already a prayer on my attention and intention was
focused on the children in those first hours after they had seen what children should
never see all of that was prayer, all of that was
being present to what was real being present to… and not turning away from the violence
and the loss and also being present in not turning
away from the truth of the love in them that was still so real prayer is paying attention to what is
most real it is not in reciting words that have become meaningless, although it can be reciting words which have surprisingly retain their
meaning despite the passing of years and the changes in
one’s theology as in my mother’s case before invite someone into my office to
sit and talk i ask for the meditations of my heart
the words of my mouth the thoughts of my mind the movements of my body all support the presence of compassion
and kindness an understanding and that my words be pleasing to my lord
my god but i’m beginning to understand is i’ve
been praying all my life just didn’t know it i really didn’t know what i’d say the
same way before i stepped into this very pulpit all those years right at the moment is
center myself before making it difficult phone call when i asked for wisdom and insight
before confronting one of my children when i got their behavior was beyond
acceptable i was calling on the better angels of my
only chair calling on the wisdom of my ancestors and calling on the presence of
the holy spirit to guide i was praying i’d just didn’t nellis doesn’t make you religious is one of the points this morning and
you don’t have to be religious to pray third infinite number of ways to pay
because the phrase the common response to our common everyday experience and being alive in the world when i finished a siesta assassin offend a_t_f_’s isn’t it as a catholic mass are true and israelis distinct down onto her knee even repeat the same fires over and over
again among strangers she has suddenly aware of how big and how small her life is when did you dollins when he stands to
sway in saying his morning prayers he’s also responding to the wonder of waking
up to a new day when the muslim washes his eyes and ears
lips hands and feet then prostrate himself on the floor five
times a day he is physically mentally and psychologically realigning himself with his highest
hopes and aspirations to the greatest good when the catholic pays the rosary when
they can see a lot counterclockwise three times of planting
the tampa when the yogi practices poses when the christian uses less
inspection and centering prayer aspires to pay without ceasing day-in and day out hall all are returning to acquire commitments to use their attention and net intention
to respond silently and tenderly to this world which we inhabit together world which is so off and beyond our
control the wii we pray is shaped by culture but
why do we pay a universal widely praised the reason i’m minister
today so honestly what happened that weekend twenty years ago the leader teacher with using ancient payer techniques and teachings to bring
us into a relationship with the holy i can remember everything we did because
that one will only overshadows all the rest i know my heart and abrupt open exposing something i had
never touched felt before a place inside me wet i couldn’t have done a place i could return see and listen for the
presence and guidance of a dot i could not only
love and adore some of them around now to make sure now
do you think i’ve been drinking this morning the case against prayer isn’t hard to make if prayer works some say it dot answered our prayers
love in so many things just wouldn’t happen our husbands will die of cancer our nephews will lose their lives in
afghanistan are wives then leave us our daughters wouldn’t be addicted to
drugs it would be having such a hard time
going cold turkey with a drinking problem and a whole slew left in more serious things would happen we wouldn’t be able to stick to our
diets i prayed about them that dream car we wanted for so long we
have done that job i’ve been given that promotion whether it be well peace out suddenly have enough to eat safe
place to live a good education excellent health care right myron downers friday don’t i say not if you want to change
the world but do you know if you you want to be changed to then you can
change the world’s and there’s evidence to support death for ten years of my doctors and
scientists and studying what’s happening in the brain when people are deep in
prayer or meditation medicine don’t differentiate between the
two and uni of baroda neuroscientist at the
university of pennsylvania and author of several books including how god changes
your brain has been scanning gains for more than a
decade he said the more you focus on something
whether that’s not or are they seeing or football or god and we’d advise qualities of kindness
contraption generosity the more that becomes a reality the more heavy cons of written into the
narrow connections of your brain what’s really interesting is that
whether you agree with getting the rate of a methodist minister who’s had
intense special experience is most of his life
hearing the voice of god fit into my hours impairs everyday or the brain and the doctor leads practiced tibetan meditation for the last twenty years a belief system in which
they’re is no god their brains revealed the scene pattern the frontal lobe lights up with the
intensity the concentration in the parental loeb associated with a sense of self goes dot when we unite out attention and our intention we
increase eka cassidy to feel and shell compassion it doesn’t matter volcano meditating
what cultivating in deepening are longing to connect to the world around
us to each other to god into god in ox and it changes our brains i’d just bob acts i sense a self feeds and we said if you
were becoming part of the object of our focus whatever it is the fact is that
the moon rise the breed patients generosity kindness god and god bless when it comes to the break inhibits says special experience is
spiritual experience in their priests and energy which there is no mother and
it’s just hall one companies they work i don’t think eight-thirty actress
needed a few people you collette it’s fascinating to understand sedalia
modern technology that the brain is malleable its plastic we have removed the in remodeled by what
we think and you it’s a little scary to that if you think
about that don’t know what you think about all day
long coming into every detail every day at
three walker we meditate every pregnancy jim use that we’ve read and write to
journal back shaping who we are but it also means that every review i’ve
resentment and we call our friends all they want to
complain and were mentally listing all our faults
and are for you both well that’s also who we become because truly really in chile fundamentally
materially and mentally spiritually and structurally what we think changes hui are when someone says high franny from now
on i hope you’ll realize you don’t know that i don’t know that we don’t know and
we won’t know what they mean last week af so that some of you activism at canteen people represent the bride continuum of
beliefs and practices at this church represents and serves what it means to them if you’re curious about but they said
you can read simple gifts this month and mean their responses to exercise we
did together and you can look on our face book page
where many responses are posted its importance and then he said i care team experiments and experience are different
kinds of prayer it’s important if they do not like me and the prayer territories wide open and
they need signs and fence posts and directions and a map it is also participate all their lives
and never stop paying it’s important for all of us to experiment and experience different
forms of prayer because in this amazing congregations as an amazing time asian well you will find yourself at the
bedside if somebody were sitting in the punitive to people with different beliefs and practices
different than your home so can see members talk about it and
we’re talking about it this morning we talk about the who and a lot and nowhere
in the way and you know why and here’s what we decided to get it i neglected to experiment in tests easy answers for yourself pathetic as i
said a few times demonstrate again player is experience so and experimental is that we came up with anyone can pray anyways and nowhere in this now that i know my mother loves the
lord’s prayer and recite every night that i find myself by her bed when she’s struggling to live are ready to let go and i i hope i’ll remember to say and french the way she’s her dad and said it since she was a child that’s what they have to use your beetle non-slip salty fyi it’ll venue yen dependability suspects select and como si and andy language anywhere works anytime that day and night how and when we pay is cultural the stronger
the technique the technology our knowledgeable as our brain these many years later i am so grateful
that phrase has become away of allowing my breaking hearts
every open instead of apart to let my breaking car allow itself to
long for healing to your gun express all brains of freedom for myself and for
others is permission to want things to be true even things that are beyond our power to
control artifact at seventeen cbs you into the limit its but there’s also a letting go releasing let me express that deep desire for
relief for reconciliation and her response we also release ourselves to accept what is and well will be not my real but by rail be done how we hold our hands and arms if i’ve
got open or closed about what is is there soccer out at the dance or seeing or hold our fingers like this when you are fall on the ground or speak
entitled or shake out or right if we had to faction fat acts we are always fencing our attention
and focusing are intention act these all fred strikes me never flights prayer anyone basically opera in in that moment
someone says yes and we know why we’re praying the predicate in not moment when they
needed deepest shoes we can’t acts intentions at all of our attention
remaining someone’s hopes and fears and frustrations injuries and
insecurity and longing we speak in prayer mode to hear the west spring
summer heights into honor their responses we hear in return images in the sensations the words
inspirations are to rise up enough when we feel another person suffering when we recognize another person’s deep beauty when we desire another person’s
liberation and everything takes practice we practiced together and the loan so if you’re gonna tractor there just a few things are getting the
distillate actually at the will and the way i don’t have here a quake well you’re pure kind of cops out you’re gonna need a will and away to focus yet attention and your
intention soviet he suggested some people make a
part of their health a special place for prayer i have an alter at home or if you don’t have one you might want to
try and making one something the middle of the night is the
perfect time for prayer the house is quiet and the children are asleep there’s no priest or pastor if no styles are sister did tell you
you’re doing it the wrong way ’cause there’s no wrong way it’s actually holly taxi maybe
discussion dishonestly or focus you can use the book apology well your favorite schedule regular
preachers songs like nature itself is a sacrament so stepping outside tomorrow at god’s
creation might be the way you that go and that god in might wanna take notes and intention to
well let’s see what happens but they need if you follow that longing
you feel within and stand those claims you will find your way i say when i’m thinking about doing it i’ll let you know how it goes i’m thinking about inviting guide to
come with any on those morning walks and taken to twenty years and striking up a conversation with my
god and seeing what happens i’m kind of excitement funds for you as we begin this month and focus on fair
and spiritual practice together as a community act we need to act two people do you play and what do you mean when you say you do and what you mean if you say you don’t and i recommend that you ask someone that you know well and that you also ask somebody that you don’t know well do you pray and what do you mean when you say you do or don’t because we know it’s written in the
beginning with the word we know words are powerful we know there
a way to focus our attention and intention we know that the sculpt and restart and
read destruction our brains so we truly act
made and we have also the potter it’s good to know today that those
children are teenagers now they’re alive and well i couldn’t leave
this morning about telling you that after the tragedy they went to live in
aunt and uncle in california after seeing and silence and joining
with those children in a timeless place beyond words i needed to offer upwards which hopefully in some small way
express but those two children couldn’t say for themselves despite everything it’s good to be alive are very who lives our prayer and you could say and paying attention living our lives that attention and
intention everyday that might be the most important there you ever say are ever offer up to twenty text surtax let’s play let’s keep on praying together amen

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