Posted by: picturefool | April 8, 2008

Pray Without Ceasing

I’ve been thinking a great deal about “God” lately.

The word “God” is filled to the brim with connotations. To mention God to a Christian usually means that you instantly are labeled as a fellow Christian. To discuss God in common company means to open oneself up for debate, ridicule and rarely support. God is not an area of life where free thinking is encouraged. How ironic given that the very nature of religion is heretical. Christianity would not exist if it had not been at odds with the current religious system. Likewise, Mormonism, Lutheranism, Protestantism in any form butted heads with the status quo of their own parent religion in order to be born. Birth is not easy.

In my own thinking I tend to embrace all visions of God and be selective of the theologies. It’s like picking through a fruit salad of faith. I like the prayers and ritual of this group, I like the belief in the goodness of man from over here, the music from that one over there, the reflective nature of those people off in the corner. I am still on my journey. May it never end. “Better than a deed, better than a memory…. the moment of anticipation!”*

All of this thought of God has led to thoughts about prayer. I plan a few posts about this subject as I work through things.

My issues with Christianity stem, in some rather large part, from Paul. You know: Paul. He was the go-to guy for wisdom. Except Paul was, to be kind, of his time. His thinking was rather conservative for a guy who followed a hippie around while he preached. His attitudes toward women are slightly less advanced than those of cave-men. However, if you talk that much all of the time you are bound to have some wise things to say. One of those wise things is:

“Pray without ceasing.”  I Thessalonians 5:17

This is the same thing as Joseph Campbell’s stance that life is a meditation. If we choose to be driven by money, sex, greed, politics… that is our meditation and our focus. If, however, we work to direct our thinking toward good, charity, beauty, love, family than those things are our meditation. Within that meditative space we can find who we really are and also, I am starting to believe, find the keys to where we want to go and who we want to become.

“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

“God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” ~Mother Teresa

“What is this true meditation? It is to make everything: coughing, swallowing, waving the arms, motion, stillness, words, action, the evil and the good, prosperity and shame, gain and loss, right and wrong, into a single koan.” ~ Hakuin Ekaku

*The Simpsons, Life on the Fast Lane, Season 1, episode 9



  1. You might find the Acts of Paul interesting. Theres a character named Thecla who is so taken with Paul’s ideas on chastity that she follows him and goes through a number of ordeals which he does little to help her.

    Theres also a woman written into the old testament who fills the role of the woman in the 7 days of creation. Supposedly she was created from the same earth as Adam and would not submit to him because of it. She ends up cursed by god and the mother of demon-kind if i recall correctly.

    Spirituality is an interesting topic I enjoy contemplating.. but I do wish I had more answers than questions 😛

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