Tag Archives: adoration

Tech = Baal (Re: Idol worship)

Personal Handy-phone System mobiles and modems...

Baal worship...new skool

Baal worship...old school

TECH = Baal. True or false?

We’d like to think idol worship isn’t something we practice. We don’t bow down to manmade gods like the foolish people of old we read of in the Bible, right?

Not so fast. (I think we do)

Probably, if we can’t live without something invented in the last 150 years, it qualifies as an idol–Yes. A full-tilt false god.

If we have a trust and loyalty to something we assume is a necessity, I think we should challenge this devotion.

Here’s the ugly truth. You probably worship your computer, your Apple product, your GPS, your phone, or your car. (Our association with technology is the modern equivalent of Old Testament style idolatry.)

A “long ago” 2007 British study of 1,256 people showed that 1/3 of those asked would pass on $2 million to keep their cell phone. 85 percent of those studied said that having a mobile phone was “vital to maintaining their quality of life.” The statistics are likely far higher now, almost 4 years later.

So, it’s simple. Tech = Baal.
Now, will you give up your false god?

At first we rebuff this allegation of idol worship. We’ll think of ways that the things we adore are for safety, common sense practicality, or we’ll come up with a rationalization for why our devotion isn’t really so bad.

The prevailing idea is that if the technology is available, there’s a kind of moral imperative to utilize it. “If it’s possible–it should been done.” Hence, things like octoplets, an artist being fitted with digital camera skull implant, and decades-long life support situations happen. (Can you think of another gross abuse of technology?)

What of ourselves is lost because of these unnatural loyalties?
Probably, a basic part of our humanity.
Sound overblown?
Let’s be serious: We become what we serve. We are enslaved to what we worship. What are the repercussions for serving technology?

Here’s a case in point:

It seems no one (especially under a certain age[?]) can image going without a mobile phone, or internet capabilities for a few hours, let alone a few days. Could you give up technology that’s been created within the last fifty years for a full week? Would it cramp your style, and make you grouchy? (Signs say yes…that’s old school tech…the 8 Ball.)

281 million youth have cell phones. I admit I have withdrawal symptoms without access to the internet for more than a day. I get twitchy. It’s uncomfortable. And no, I don’t like it.

So, I think we have to be honest and address this. What do you think about it? When have you worshiped technology? What do you think you do about it?

Is there a Christian spiritual practice that can help us?

Absolutely. It’s called fasting. Prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor are the pinnacle of Kingdom of God living, according to Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Without these things, we are not living as a follower of Christ as he laid it out.

A Tech Fast should be part of your spiritual practice, because it will get your attention better than most things will. This will create growth and maturity.

Fasting challenges our loyalties.
(Read that again)
When we desire the thing we fast from, it creates a space to concentrate and reflect. It re-proritizes our habits, calls them into question, and helps us sift through the what we we should hold dear versus what should be leashed and subdued. When the pang to digitally connect, shout out our thoughts to the masses, or get instant information strikes, we can train our hearts as we place prayer and worship in that void that feels like need. The point isn’t to prove our righteousness by going without, but rather to create time and space for heightened refocus and Christian spiritual practice. God has us engage in fasting for our benefit, not his. It’s a training method…a.k.a. a disciplineIt’s a command to fast. (Sorry to break this to you.)

BUT GOOD NEWS: The effect is refreshment, and quite likely a more informed outlook on our lives.

Will you take the JANUARY TECH CHALLENGE with me? Kick the new year off on a new foot. Between now and the end of January, fast 3 times from technology. Start off with a few hours, or half of a day (if you’re ready for THAT-gulp), and try to build up to 2-5 days by the end.

Feedback appreciated on this. Thanks.

God Bless you.
Lisa

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Mystically Wired: A book review

A book to change the way you see God and communicate with him.

Thomas Nelson Publishing, through their poorly-named, BookSneeze I review for BookSneeze initiative, sent me Ken Wilson’s book Mystically Wired: Exploring New Realms in Prayer.

This book promised to hit the sweet-spot of my spiritual interests, and I was not disappointed. Wilson was spot on starting out in his book that our first priority in seeking God and utilizing prayer is to pray for the desire to pray. This often overlooked first-things-first way allows us to receive from God a thirst for him (which comes via God, not us). This step invigorates our longing to communicate and be more aware of God.

Wilson gives a thoughtful and careful look at prayer, and our inherent basic need for interaction with God as Spirit shows us that we actually all pray for peace–peace of mind.

A “mystic” sense of God is not a pickled and preserved static view of a far-off Being, but an ongoing dew-kissed refreshment to our souls that adds richness to our spiritual life, our growth, meaning in life, discovery, and general renewal. It is realizing that God is great, mysterious, unfathomable, available, and quite nearby. It’s the beginning of a deep and nourishing relationship.

This way of apprehending God is a critical aspect of a walk with God. It is also a seminal part of Christian history, faith, and ongoing transformation toward holiness.

As a person who’s spent hundreds of hours studying prayer on the graduate level, and enriching my own walk with God through a rich prayer life, I can truly say, “Well done, Mr Wilson.”

Here’s the product page description from the publisher.

To read samples, find out more, or purchase it, you’ll find it here at Amazon.

Prayers of Adoration (Praying the Names of God)

At my school, if one has ever taken Dr Mellinger, one has engaged in this particular prayer form. Praying this way, is a way of praising and worshiping God–a useful spiritual practice.

It’s quite simple, and may take on variations, or adaptations. It’s helpful for individual prayer time, or in a group setting.

I’ll present something simple here.

If you use it, or come up with something else, I’d love to hear from you.

Art work - Names of God

Prayers of Adoration/Praying the Names of God: A “How To”

1. Make a list of 10-20 words for God (Including namew for all 3 parts of the Trinity is encouraged, Creator, Redeemer, Spirit, etc.).

Adjectives are fine, or names of God found in the Bible.

(Examples: Savior, Father, Light of Lights, Lamb, Protector, Reconciler, etc.)

For Prayer in a Group: pick a name from your list that seems to  stand out as be more meaningful, and take turns praying your selections in adoration to God, calling God by the name, and saying something of your own, similar to the following:

“God, you are Savior. I thank you that you are a Savior to us, and you given yourself up for us.”

Everyone then may respond together in agreement: “God you are Savior”

(or whatever name has been selected)

For Individual Prayer time:

Work down through your list, in a similar way. Rest, and consider each name, as your finish adoring God with that name.

At the end, jot down some observations, thoughts, insights, feelings, associations, etc. that came to mind during or after your prayer time.

GROUPS: Take turns sharing some of these.

Individuals: May read over your observations again; and later come back to them, and re-read them.

Spiritual Challenge: A prayer walk.

hiking

Flickr photo from this source.

I’m curious to know if you’ve ever been on a prayer walk? Would you please tell me in the comment section/link below?

The weather (in North America) is changing to mild temperatures, and the beauty of Spring is here.

I’d like to inspire you to carve out 20-45 minutes, (or more, if possible) within the next few days from the time you read this, to absorb the beauty of creation, and the God of it.

This beautiful picture gave me the kick to write this post. Let’s both do it. Go to your calendar now, check for a spot, and mark it down. Morning time, evening, weekend, whatever. You truly have 20 minutes, I know it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. We both know-once you mark it down-it’s quite likely to happen.

With this time, you can allow yourself the experience of a guided prayer walk, using some, or all of the guidelines I’ll lay out below. It will help create a place in your heart to experience the presence of God within and around you. It’s really the perfect Rx for the spring season.

Some suggestions for your walk time:

Items to bring along-

– Comfortable, durable, Shoes

-(if needed) Sunscreen/basic first aid kit

-Water

-Snack

-Notepad and pen

-Camera

(Some of you may want to bring a Bible. If you feel this is important, I am suggesting that you read Scripture before you go on this walk, and if you’d like, bring along a passage, or verse that is on your heart.)

First, allow yourself to acclimate to your environment. Notice your surroundings. Walk deliberately, and also wait, sit or rest, once in a while, and take in your surroundings. Put hurrying aside.

Second, as issues, or chatter run through your mind, push them gently aside, or if they are quite intrusive, jot them down, and give yourself permission to think of them, at another time. (You may may find it helpful to briefly lift those things to God in prayer, and purposefully “hand them over,” before you continue your walk.)

Third, continue until you feel like you’d like to find a comfortable place to sit, or rest, for a little while. The jot down something about your surroundings, and associations that may come to mind about God, and God’s character. Note your response to God, or his creation. Or, record other thoughts you feel are meaningful, or maybe things you would like to explore further, at some point.

Fourth, enter into a time of prayer. It can be any length of time. This is a time of conversation, and also worship. Worship involves  adoration of God. Speak, but also listen.

Fifth, be where you are.

Sixth, Continue your journey until you are ready for it’s conclusion. During this time, you may want to spend more time in prayer, engage in vigorous exercise (walk at a rapid pace, for instance), gaze appreciatively at nature, or sit in quiet, or a bit of each. It’s a free-play, or freeform period of the hike/walk, where you can have all the freedom to enjoy it in the way which makes the most sense for where you are right now in your life. Sense God’s love for you, and his delight in you. If you cannot, ask him for the grace to do so. Forgive others, and forgive yourself.

Seventh, when done, offer a brief prayer of thanksgiving, and accept God’s grace. Receive from God. After a few minutes, write down noteworthy thoughts, experiences, ideas, sensations, or insights that happened along the way, or during your prayers.

Eighth, Later, share some, or all, of your notes with at least one other person.

You may want to walk with another friend, a spouse, or in a small group etc.

How rewarding this is!

For this, I suggest that a period of prayerful silence be observed during the whole time,

and conversations between people be postponed until after the walk is through.

Group discussion after the walk may prove very fruitful.

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear how this goes.

Will you please share your experience here?

(Photos you’ve taken can be sent to ovationeneterprises (at) verizon (dot) net)

May God be with you.

Meditation to Contemplation – Kataphatic to Apophatic Prayer

Prayer Exercise

(a.k.a The 3 x in 7 days invitational)

First, a bit about Meditation-

Meditation: In prayer-

The half-way house between thinking and contemplating.

(Worship) Meditation is Recollection (a re-gathering):

No more and no less than the subjection of the attention to the control of the will. –Evelyn Underhill

Read her book “Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People” –free here:

Book Cover: "Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People," 1914

From Meditation one may move to a stage of Contemplation.

The two contemplative purifications at work:

The purification of sense, and the purification of will.

For millennia, fire has symbolized the Spirit of God.

If your prayer time has lost some of its richness, please enjoy this prayer exercise:

Meditation Prayer Exercise (7-20 min)

(Please note: It may take several, or many times of disciplined meditation, (as a spiritual practice), to move into a more contemplative prayer experience or mindset. I challenge you to have the courage to keep at it.)


1. Read through this exercise the whole way. (You will likely need to refer back to it during your meditation time, as well.)

2. Light a candle to represent the Spirit of  God.

2. Slowly Read and Reflect on a portion of Scripture, or the following poem:


All our knowledge, sense, and sight,
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded.
Til Thy Spirit brake our night,
With the beams of truth unclouded.

Beginning this time of prayer and worship:

First, surrender to the influence of the Object of your meditation, [in this case, through the vehicle/aid of the poem words, visual aid (candle), plus symbolism (flame = Spirit)]. Surrender to The Divine exhibition of unexpected meaning, beauty, and power. Pray on these things.

Focal Point:

Not if, but when, your thoughts wander, or your attention wanes, bring your internal, (and external) gaze back to the flame of the candle before you. The chatter of your mind will be ceaseless at first. Refocus. Recall what the flame symbolizes, and the goodness of God, (Trinity-Creator, Savior, Spirit). Center, again, your awareness on the Object of your worship (God), in thanksgiving and grace.

As you continue to meditate: See your self distinctly from the Other, and, in time, transition to observing your connectedness; Move from a “multiplicity to a unity”.

Once you have been vested in the experience of meditation for a time:

You may notice how your efforts of trying to focus and worship God, may adjust to a resting or receiving from God, in silence of the mind, and spirit. In this case, there is no effort on your part, but a loving dispensing, from God, into your heart and mind.

Enter and enjoy this time as though receiving an inpouring of God’s love, healing, and grace.

This contemplative stage of prayer cannot be forced, and for some, it is a difficult experience to come by. If you never approach this stage during your exercise, the discipline of prayer and meditation, done routinely, can aid in the apprehension of this mysterious reversal called contemplation. This is the stage where praying/thinking, moves to determined focus, which may transform into surrendered contemplation–which is a nourishing and awing spiritual communion with God.

Thank you for reading.

Please share your thoughts.


(If you tried this exercise, now or in the future, please mention that here, as well.)

Thank you.

Response to Reader (New Age)

Delta asks:

I brought up the subject of Lectio Divina to my friend, thinking that we could use it together. Once a week we meet as prayer partners, and I thought this practice could be a really neat way to begin our time together. When I mentioned it, she hesitated and said it sounded like “New Age” stuff to her, not Christian, and it wasn’t in the Bible. She seemed really reluctant to give it a chance. What should I say to her, or should I let it go?

Lisa’s response:

The name “Lectio Divina” might do some of the scaring for your friend, but really the “Our Daily Bread” devotional is set up quite similarly to the basic movements of L.D. read, meditate, pray, rest/listen (or dwell/abide/apply) If it was just called “Reading with focused prayer”, maybe no one would care. The tradition of L. D. goes back to very early church times when the first manuscripts of scripture were made available, and Christians could read them out loud and ponder them, pray on them to God, and rest in God.

The nice fit for Evangelicals, for instance, as the major focus is on the Scripture, which Evangelicals LOVE. It puts the Bible in prominence for prayer, worship, and hearing from God. Meditation is Christian (of Yahweh). Personally, as someone in the Christian tradition, I refuse to let other religious/or spiritual sects rob me of what God has given us to grow, and adore and worship him. I think we are cheated to section off practices, used by other groups for other purposes, when they are there to use for our own loving of God. He is the object of our praise. He is our glory. The Christian tradition is rich with meaningful spiritual practices that may be less than cut and dry, or formulaic, but it doesn’t mean God hasn’t and doesn’t use them powerfully to change us into his likeness. The unfamiliar here is only unfamiliar to some, in our current culture and time. 

To be clear, I don’t submit that L.D. and contemplative ways, are a WAY to God, only one of many tools, or vehicles, available to ready our hearts for His good work.

The Contemplative part (movement 4) may be the hardest to understand for your friend, (i.e. most unfamiliar) because it’s more common in the Catholic tradition. Again, some like to think, and reason all spiritual actions out, and figure out the formula of it all. If it’s just being, and resting, enjoying God and listening…how can it be “working”? Where’s the doing part? What good could it REALLY be? So, I like to explain it as resting, and yielding to God. We learn our place. He is God, we are not. We are dependent on Him. We don’t have to *do*. That is the whole point. When we complete this discipline this way, the reorientation can be quite beneficial.

Should you bring it up again? Probably not if it’s a big stumbling block for her. I suggest you enjoy God privately with this enriching practice, and if you would really like to engage L. D. with another, send them here to learn about it, (do a search here for more on the topic) or explain it in terms that they might be more comfortable with, such as “Scripture Reading and Focused Prayer.” May God Bless you as you strive to walk closer to him.