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Feb 232013
 

The traditional approaches to prayer never worked for me.  In the end it did not change my life.  As Thomas Moore put it, “All the classical things that have been said about prayer are true – petition, praise, adoration, communion, conversation.”*  All of these approaches to prayer are real, but they are not enough.  Verbal prayer by itself is not enough.  in the end we must be silent and listen to that mysterious other we call God.  And we must take what we hear and live it in our active lives.  In the end real prayer must change us and move us toward spiritual maturity.  I grew up as a very angry person, and the traditional approaches to prayer did absolutely nothing to change that.  Then I discovered spiritual practices, buried in the depths of the Christian tradition, that over time, did in fact change my life.

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I preached my first sermon on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Mechanicsville, Virginia.  It was given as part of a sermon series about prayer leading up to the beginning of a series of Wednesday evening contemplative services at the church sponsored by the Spiritual Formation Team.

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* Moore, Thomas, Meditations:  On the Monk Who Dwells in Daily Life, (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1994), p. 69.
** Needleman, Jacob, Lost Christianity:  A Journey of Rediscovery to the Centre of Christian Experience.  (Rockport, MA: Element, Inc., 1980), p. 4.
*** Nouwen, Henri J. M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life, (Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1974), p. 13-14.

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