Thursday, December 14, 2006

28 Questions About Prayer

  • Does prayer mean more if it's out loud?
  • Does prayer have to consist of words?
  • Is there such thing a prayer of silence?
  • Do I have to use hackneyed language that I hear in church every week in my prayer?
  • Could action be prayer?
  • Could I have a very deep, sustaining prayer life and still, for whatever reason, feel uncomfortable praying out loud in a group?
  • Does prayer have to be theologically sound?
  • Is more prayer preferable, or is better prayer?
  • Is prayerlessness actually a prayer, or could it be transformed into one?
  • Is spiritual "dryness"- lack of desire to pray- best remedied by simply forcing it out?
  • Does noise hinder prayer?
  • Do children running around noisily inhibit deep, reflective prayer?
  • Is it more important in prayer that you give, or that you receive; that you "do for God" or that God "does for you?"
  • Is prayerfulness a sign of spiritual advancement, or qualification of some kind?
  • Does anyone practice the discipline of silence in church anymore?
  • Is liturgical prayer less efficacious because it's "just by rote?"
  • Is there one best way to open, or close, a prayer?
  • Should it matter to me in the slightest what anyone else thinks of my prayer if I'm praying in a group?
  • Is prayer without accompanying action rather vain and self-absorbed?
  • Is prayer that is louder, more emotive, or more "on-fire" necessarily more heartfelt and effective?
  • How come very few Christians "let their words be few" and so many "pray like the heathen?"
  • Speaking of heathens, can we expect God to ignore the prayers of people who don't pray "in Christ's name?"
  • Do very verbose prayers really come from a desire for dialogue with God, or are they just a way of quelling anxiety?
  • In a prayer group, does someone have to start talking right away?
  • In a prayer group, do the most "leader-ly" and the most extroverted people need to start us off and close us?
  • In a prayer group, is it okay to demand that everyone pray? (your turn...)
  • Should prayers, regardless of content, be authentically aimed at a higher, better, realer knowledge of God's love for his people, and at bringing out an appropriate response in us? Is any other type of prayer just missing the point and doing a disservice to onesself and to God?
  • How incredibly naked and real is St. Teresa of Avila's prayer: Oh, God, I don’t love you. I don’t even want to love you, but I want to want to love you.

I am a novice in "real" prayer. Yet some of these questions seem to answer themselves. Anyone have any questions to add?

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