Ramblings from the Theologian’s Café (submitted by Chris Longley)
Once a month, the Theologian’s Café meets at Glen Pine Pavilion Seniors’ Centre in Coquitlam. It is free to attend, but you must pre-register. This was my first time attending, and I will definitely return. The session is moderated by the very knowledgeable John Slattery. Our topic for January was PRAYER.
We started out defining the types of prayer: petition, thanksgiving and adoration and the belief that there is someone or something to pray to. There is also pseudo prayer, often an expletive such as “God dam you”, quasi prayer such as “O Lord help us” (which could be a prayer if the speaker was actually petitioning for help but generally this is more an expression than a prayer.)
Good examples of actual prayers can be readily found in the Psalms: Psalms 4, 22 and 72 are all petition prayers, Psalm 136 is a prayer of thanksgiving, Psalm 135 a prayer of adoration and Psalm 23, probably the most well known of all Psalms, is actually a bit of all three.
We also discussed the difference between prayer, meditation and contemplation.
Prayer is personal and it is relational. Prayers can be individual or they can be a group effort. Being in a group raises the energy level, whether it be prayer, meditation or singing in the choir.
Assumptions of Prayer:
· That there is a being to pray to (either God or a supreme being)
· That the being cares and is aware of you
· That the being will be able to respond in some manner
o You cannot count on the means or timing of the response
· That there is energy to be gained
There was quite a bit of discussion as to whether you can pray subconsciously and without intention. Also that uniformity in prayer is different from unity in prayer.
Effectiveness of Prayer:
There is an assumption that there is “someone” out there who will give a response, but don’t ever think you know the mind of God in how He responds.
We must enter into prayer with an open mind. When we pray and something good happens, is is causation or coincidence? What is necessary in ourselves for effective prayer?
· - Faith, that someone is listening
· - You don’t have to be in a certain moral state
· - You must be sincere
- You may receive Grace if you believe in God which may lead to Faith. What you do with it (grace) is your choice.
Until next month…..
Feb. 19, 1 – 3pm Will the Real Bible Please Stand Up? (program #605957)
Mar 19, 1 – 3pm Religious Communities (program #605956)
April 16, 1 – 3pm The Roles of Organized Religion in the Wider World (program #605958)
May program: The Apostle Paul (details in next Coquitlam program calendar)