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Tag Archives: prayer

Take a Knee

I begin this post with two points. First, I am not American. I spend time in the US and enjoy my time there. One thing I enjoy, and I shared with my students, is the way Americans respond to their National Anthem. Second, Canada, where I live, has social and historical skeletons in the closet i.e. residential schools.

My aim is not to pass judgment, but to cast a different light on what it means to take a knee. In a world that is increasingly secular, perhaps I lose my way in what it means to live in a spiritual way and it can mean many things to different people.

The image that comes to mind when I think of is people kneeling and standing at the foot of the cross of the crucified Jesus. We were not there, but we are told his friends, family members, and followers knelt and stood. It seems there was no one right way.

When Colin Kaepernick first took a knee, I thought of it as praying. The etymology of prayer is to ask earnestly, to beg, and to entreat. Prayer is asking someone i.e. God or something bigger i.e. Universe or a nation than I am to intercede in a concern to me.

To genuflect is to kneel, usually with one knee. It is an act of worship and respect. Parker Palmer wrote about fidelity as something other than mere loyalty. It is loyalty to an obligation, cause, and idea one holds dear.

Who or what one asks depends on one’s spiritual and religious background. What I understand is that there are no fixed answers when I take a knee and pray. I have to listen. Part of praying is silence, listening to what Parker Palmer calls my inner voice. It is only in moments of silence, whether kneeling, standing, or walking, that I hear that inner voice.

I pray in various ways and have since I was a child. When I enter a church, I find holy water, bow to the cross, and complete the sign of the cross. I stand. As I enter a pew I genuflect, taking a knee. I do so with two surgically repaired knees. At times before, during, and after service, I kneel, I pray, and I listen to what my heart says. Other times, I stand. During the Lord’s prayer, I stand and join hands with others asking God to intercede on each of our behalf. As I receive communion, I walk slowly and quietly, bowing my head as I accept the host.

For me, kneeling, standing, and walking quietly show my fidelity to a cause and purpose larger than me. In this case, it is plight of people and our shared humanity. I make a point of being quiet, because it is a time of thoughtful meditation and mindfulness of how the world and I are broken. I beseech someone or something larger than me to intercede and, as Parker Palmer says, to make whole the broken.

 

 

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Kahlil Gibran

In this little treasure of a book I found yesterday, is a quote .. I had not seen this one before from one of Kahlil Gibran’s writings;. You pray in your distress and in your need;  would tha…

Source: Kahlil Gibran

This is a wonderful quote from Kahlil Gibran. We should make it a daily practice to pray whether it is in a time of need or not. When we pray, it can be a thankful and mindful practice that acknowledges the good that comes into our lives.

talisman

When we pray, the words are an amulet for someone to wear. Suheir Hammad suggested the words remind us there is a divine space in each of us, waiting to be brought out as we write and speak. Inside each of us, there is a space of strength and courage we can offer to others as we write and repeat the poetic words.

In silence that endures within each of us, we discover the gestures and words of prayer and poetry another has written and spoken. A prayer reaches out to the other and adds strength to their living in moments of hardship, reminding them they are not alone. It is in those moments that something stirs gently and unexpectedly in us, reminding us we are not alone and perhaps a smile appears similar to the sun and moon’s warmth.

During those moments, we find the words written and spoken in silence. It is essential we set aside the busyness of daily living and listen attentively for those words to bring the god out in each of us.

it is written
the act of writing is
holy words are
sacred and your breath
brings out the
god in them
i write these words
quickly repeat them
softly to myself
this talisman for you
fold this prayer
around your neck fortify
your back with these
whispers
may you walk ever
loved and in love
know the sun
for warmth the moon
for direction
may these words always
remind you your breath
is sacred words
bring out the god
in you

Prayer

Enjoy the day as If it was the last one for The dawn is so far. Be patient and take care A prayer flies to Heaven. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Source: Prayer

Prayer is about listening. When we just speak, we cannot listen as closely and attentively as we need. Esther used the words patient and care in her beautiful poem. When I am patient, I listen more closely and take care to hear what is said and what is unsaid. The spaces between words, lines, and stanzas call to me, but in the busyness and noisiness of the world I can lose my way.

When I have faith and accept that my prayers will be answered in inexplicable ways, ways that I cannot understand, I find my way by being patient. I trust what is intuitive and I cannot possibly know fully. I walk the path carefully, but not alone. When I walk with others, it is an ethical journey where I take responsiblity for my actions and hold my hand out to the others I journey with.

Prayer to Mansur Al-Hallaj

Source: Prayer to Mansur Al-Hallaj

Prayer is about listening to the world and is part of an internal conversation. The Sufi prayer is about listening closely. Each stanza of the poem begins with a word that entreats God guide me in sensing the world more deeply, not as something I hear, but as something all my senses are able to engage with.

We think of leadership as action and speech, but it is about sensing the world in a sensitive and mindful manner. Leadership is about a conversation and the questions we ask. It opens up space where there are no preconceived answers and followers can be part of conversation and lead, as well. Leadership and its communication is about community, a gathering of people who do not always agree, but hold something in common.

A Mindful Moment

A Mindful Moment.

The link is to a post that is both simple and deeply moving. Meditate comes from the root which means to measure. This measuring is not about applying a number and is about the qualities of what is being observed. In this case, a candle flame.

Prayer comes from the word meaning obey. We can only obey when we listen deeply and find those quiet moments where silence appears speaking to us in its fullness.

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