From Every Place let Incense Rise – Tweet Your Prayers!

Hamilton now has another waterfall.

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Well, sort of.

Hope you can come and take time in the Prayer Room @ the Vine these next two weeks!

But if you can’t come as often as you like, never fear! Twitter is here!

We’ve created a hashtag #PrayHamOnt so you can tweet your prayers for the city wherever you are! And we set up Hootsuite on a screen in the Vine cafe, so we can agree with you in prayer.

Let’s pray together, gathered and scattered, for this city we love. And from every place in the Hammer, let incense arise.

The Creation of a Prayer Room

Tomorrow we launch two weeks of 24-7 prayer, and all this week, we have been preparing the prayer room.

Here is the room just as we got started.

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We turned our regular prayer room into the Vine Cafe, where folks can come hang out and drink coffee. Local artists have hung their work on the walls.

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Already the Vine is a hub of happy creativity. We can’t wait for the 2 weeks of prayer to start!

Have you signed up for your hour of prayer yet?

online calendar

The Psychology of Prayer

The other day I was listening to one of the breakout sessions from the 24-7 International Gathering in Dublin. It was called “The Shrink and the Monk”. One of the speakers, Roger Bretherton, was a psychologist who studies, among many other things, the psychology of prayer. He shared loads of interesting stuff, but one piece really caught my attention.

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Those who study the psychology of personality often split personality up into five dimensions:

Openness: How open are we to new things? How exploratory?
Conscienciousness: How hard working are we?
Extroversion: How much stimulation do we need from external sources?
Agreeableness: How important are harmony and relationships to us?
Neuroticism: How emotionally sensitive are we?

These dimensions are thought to have a degree of stability over the course of our lives and are largely unaffected even by conversion. An introvert converted to Christ remains an introvert.

And interestingly, these dimensions have implications regarding our experience of prayer, and what makes prayer accessible and enjoyable to us.

Openness: Imaginative and exploratory forms of prayer will be life giving. Painting, music, even types of Ignatian contemplation.
Conscientiousness: You will thrive with set routine prayer times and prayer lists.
Extroversion: Are you an extrovert? You likely will enjoy loud and kinetic prayer times. An introvert? Solitude and contemplation is the way in.
Agreableness: Relational connection to God and to one another will be important to you.
Neuroticism: Your emotions will lead you into prayer, your happiness, your fears.

I think challenges can come when we emphasize particular models and methodologies of prayer that cater exclusively to a narrow band of personality dimensions and characteristics. Consquently, people with strengths in different personality dimensions than those being modelled find the way into prayer difficult, and feel left out in the cold. They wonder why their hearts are not burning within them the way they see idealized by others, and become deeply discouraged about prayer. Perhaps this is part of the reason why prayer mobilization can be so difficult!

One of the graces that the 24-7 Prayer Movementhas brought into my life and the life of GOHOP, is the emphasis on “all kinds of prayer.” Coming up in our two weeks of 24-7 prayer, you can sit in silence and contemplate. You can pray through prayer lists. You can do creative artistic prayer activities. Participate in liturgies. Dance and sing with abandon. Enjoy the community with others or enjoy solitude. We are trying to make prayer accessible and enjoyable to us all.

My little précis is not doing the wonderful teaching much justice, so I recommend that you listen to it yourself, and hopefully find onramps to prayer that are life giving and unique to how God has created you.

The Monk and the Shrink and some other great teachings on prayer

Pray and Breathe

As the congregants entered the sanctuary, they were greeted by my daughter Hannah, who stamped their hands with a handcrafted stamp made by our friend Xenia.

It said Breathe

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Heartfelt worship was accompanied by a single banjo. I was reminded why I enjoy Eucharist so much.

After the worship, I had an opportunity to share. My sermon was called Attunement and the Ancient Art of Breathing, a rather unwieldy title which Kevin very sensibly renamed Pray and Breathe.

Here is the link to the mp3 of the teaching

http://eucharistsermons.tumblr.com/post/76248257902/prayandbreathe

I ended by reciting a poem recently written by my friend Marg Ann Roorda. I’ve reprinted it here with her permission.

Breathe

Close your eyes
now
breathe

Close your eyes
now
see

Draw in deeply
hold
let go deeply

Again

Draw in deeply
hold
let go deeply

Again

Draw in deeply
hold
let go deeply

There

Did you feel it
Did you see it
letting go

Close your eyes
now
breathe

Close your eyes
now
see

that is

breathing

that is
life

Unplugging and Plugging In

The average Facebook user logs on for about half an hour a day.

Youtube? The average visitor watches 15-25 minutes daily.

Netflix subscribers plug in for 87 minutes a day.

Here’s the whopper though. The latest American Nelson statistics (2013) indicate that Americans (and I have no reason to believe us Canadians are much different) watch a whopping 5 hours and 11 minutes EVERY DAY.

So much noise. So much visual and audial stimulation.

We have lost the art of being silent. Of being still.

And knowing He is God.

Today I’m preaching at Eucharist Church on “Attunement and the Ancient Art of Breathing.”

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True City Conference – Tale of Two Kingdoms Feb 21 & 22

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

“Our churches are figuring out how to collaborate together around mission – we’re pretty good at that part.  What we need from you is help strengthening the prayer piece.”  Dave Witt, the leader of True City, explained.

“Hmmm, you’re probably better at prayer than you think you are.  Maybe you just don’t recognize what your prayer language is.”  I countered.

That was seven years ago, and over the last years we have enjoyed a fruitful partnership.  GOHOP teachers have been invited to teach at True City churches.  I’ve met with leaders on a consultative basis to look at strengthening prayer in their churches.  We are developing emergent leaders from True City churches in our 10 month Studies in New Monasticism Internship.  Many True City folks participate in the Prayer Truck with us each summer.  And together we have mobilized the one, and now two weeks of 24/7 prayer around the annual True City Conference.

This year’s conference is going to be a good one!  Check out the conference video and come join us as we learn, serve and pray together for the good of the city!  I’m helping to lead one of the workshops, which will explore “lifestyles of resistance”.