Worship Materials: Peace of Mind and Prayer

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

THEME     A Way of Thinking – a Way of Mindfulness

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION

  1. Peace of mind does not come through struggling to stop thinking, but through focusing the mind on some particular thought or object, and especially on the rhythm of our breathing.
  2. Prayer is not as much a particular activity as a frame of mind.
  3. True prayer is using our imagination in a way that focuses on love.
  4. The way we direct our positive and negative energies in prayer is more important than the form of words.
  5. The prayer that transforms is the prayer that gently embraces; not the prayer that seeks to manipulate or direct.
  6. Prayer is a way of connecting with the rest of life.
  7. Do not let other people decide what is the best form of prayer for you.
    No one knows better than you what is best for you.
    You are your own best guru.
  8. Do not let the discipline of prayer become a drudgery, nor one’s freedom an excuse for not setting aside time for the spiritual journey.
  9. We access the mystery through letting go, not through filling our minds with thoughts.
  10. When I allowed love to enter my life it gently touched me on the shoulder and beckoned me to follow. This I did with hope and trepidation not knowing where it should take me but resting in the aura of well-being which it cast around me.
  11. Deeper than the ‘to be or not to be’ is the I AM.
  12. There is nothing more wonder-filled than the awesomeness of the present moment.
  13. Search for the stillness and it will elude you.
    Go with the flowing and you will become your stillness.
  14. Positive thinking is not enough in order to tackle the world’s problems.
    We need reflective action if we are to avoid creating our own apocalypse.
  15. Peace lies not in the absence of conflict but in the still point at its heart.
  16. The silence between our thoughts is the fracture in the clouds that reveals the azure peace of eternity.
  17. Being fully alive comes from immersion in the river of the Cosmos rather than remaining trapped within the stream of one’s consciousness.
  18. If you attempt to capture the moment you loose it but if you let the moment capture you, you find it.
  19. Come out of the silence and take it with you.
  20. To only have positive thoughts is to deny life itself for life is always a mixture of the positive and the negative. It is what we discern beyond these that gives life its fullest meaning.
  21. The process of enlightenment is not one of denial but of bringing to the light of day what we previously could not face in ourselves. However, this process is not in order to pour judgment upon our shadow but in order to surround it with transforming love.
  22. May I not be so enchanted by still waters that I do nothing about the injustice and oppression of this world.
  23. In my solitude I am at one with all things.
    In my loneliness I am not even at one with myself.
  24. You are the seer who can observe your thoughts.
  25. To trust in future hopes is not nearly as secure as to dwell in the certainty of the inner heaven of the NOW.
  26. There is no peace with sharing.
  27. When I stop struggling to be I discover I AM.
  28. The secret of praying lies not so much in talking but in listening for then a whole new world of sacredness can impinge upon us.

PRAYER

O God, who can be approached in a thousand ways, may the form of prayer we choose contribute to our mental health and not to the undermining of it.  May it help us to affirm ourselves and other people and to increasingly open our lives to your love.

HYMNS

Not in grasping or in holding. (BL)

God of Sky and God of Earth. (BL)

God wake us from illusion. (BL)

I am greater than my thinking. (BL)

An awakening is beginning. (BL)

When we find beauty in our depths. (BL)

There’s a beautiful place in our minds. (BL)

When I pray to you for help, O God. (BL)

When we have moved. (BL)

How liberated are those. (BL)

 

I will talk to my heart.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

Help us O Christ.

www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/boundlesslife

Between our thoughts.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

O God of Earth and God of Sky. (STS1)

Out of the stillness. (STS1)

Help me to pray as Jesus prayed. (STS2)

If my heart grows icy cold. (STS2)

Christ Jesus praying from the cross. (STS2)

May the peace of God. (STS2)

That of God within us all. (STS2)

Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011, Vol 2 2014 World Library Publications

 

SONG FOR TEENS

Great Life-force, God of all nurture. (Modern Lord’s Prayer) (SYSJ)

 

RESPONSES AND CHANTS

Prayer / Meditation Responses.(BL)

Intercessory Responses. (BL)

I am Dancer. (BL)

Beyond the rain.(BL)

 

Between the stillness of the rock.

http://www.methodist.org.nz/resources/hymns/the_mystery_telling

 

RESPONSIVE READING

A paraphrase of the Beatitudes (SE/MU)

 

POEMS / REFLECTIONS

WHEN I SIT

When I sit in the mall or the park

and watch all the world go by

I am no longer the victim

of my concerns, limitations and frustrations

but I am the true uncluttered me.

O that I might make more time to sit and watch

and become one with all that is.

 

A PARAPHRASE OF THE LORD’S PRAYER

O God of Sky and Earth

We reverence your presence

Both within us and beyond.

May what we eat sustain us

In the Way of compassionate sharing.

Help us to be forgiving –

Forgiving others, forgiving ourselves.

Liberate us from guilt

That learning from our mistakes

We may move beyond self-centeredness

To that depth of being

In which we are one with all things.

This Way of love, peace and justice

Is for the Earth, for human beings and for all living creatures

Both now and forever. AMEN

 

WHAT I THINK

What I think in my mind can destroy me,

What I think in my mind can fulfill me,

Therefore I will watch what I think.

 

KNOWING AND SHARING ONENESS

When our minds and hearts

have grown beyond

infantile conformity

give us, O God,

analysis that does not kill respect,

certainty that reaches beyond arrogance,

awareness of manipulation that responds with compassion

and the knowledge that the drumbeat

our deepest psyche would march to

is the pulse of the universe.

Help us to know that individual and community needs

coincide at our spirit’s omega point,

that connectedness is not blandness,

nor is community anonymity.

Enable us to see that oneness lies

in the integrating enrichment of diversity,

that diversity which is the very earth

out of which unity flowers.

May I, O God,

cease to evaluate myself in isolation

but sacramentally, sacrificially, sensuously

offer my inner wealth to the whole

and in that offering open myself

to the multitudinous gifts

which the complex known and unknown

forever awaits

my willingness to accept

from the hands of its

gracious hospitality.

 

A PARAPHRASE OF PART OF THE PEACE PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS

O loving Christ may I become an instrument of your peace:

Grant that I may learn

To strive but not compete,

To be empowered without seeking to oppress,

To stand tall without looking down on others,

To be aware of my inner wisdom without attempting to inflict it on anyone else.

For it is in letting go that we find peace,

In abandoning arrogance that we find truth

And in taking risks that we find love.

 

I EXPERIENCE GOD

In every act of creating

I experience God.

In all that is truly human,

In the midst of pain and destruction,

I experience God.

In new life,

in nature,

in other human beings

and in the recesses of my own spirit,

I experience God.

In victory and defeat,

In power and humility,

In the action of forgiveness and reconciliation,

I experience God.

In community and in solitude,

In history and in the present moment,

I experience God.

Whenever there is the spirit of life, love and empowerment,

I experience God.

But above all in the mystery beyond all other mysteries,

I experience God.

 

PATHWAY

May we move beyond the path of negation,

the path of guilt and self denial,

the path of self-imposed crucifixion

and division and warfare,

to the space of the holding together of pain and joy

the fragmentation of images,

the oneness of vision,

the connectedness with all things,

the darkness of the mystery

and the delight in the Inner Christ

within the ever expanding circle of love

that from that space we may gracefully glide

down the spiraling path of wisdom,

down to the rhythmic curves of the interweaving of Earth and Sky,

Mother and Father,

Sage and Lover,

down to the centre of things

where the smallest grain of sand

stands side by side with the furthest galaxy,

where human beings and the rest of nature intertwine

and the endless ages

rest within each sacred moment.

 

FOCUS FOR ACTION

Introduction.

When a person suffers from mental illness, a common description is that they have ‘gone out of their mind’. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.  They are often consumed in an endless cycle of thought which feeds on itself like the forms of anxiety that fall within the so-called ‘normal’ range.  What such a mentally ill person seems to lack is the ability to stand to one side and observe their thought processes. Each of us needs to affirm that we are greater than our thoughts.

People who are comparatively ‘healthy’ psychologically do have the power to control their mind and can change the way they think.  St Paul said, “Have that mind in you which was in Jesus Christ” or in other words, let your ‘Inner Christ’, your ‘I am’, your ‘that of God’ observe and take control of your thought processes. This in effect is a way of praying.

1.  What method of praying do I predominately use:

  • talking with ‘a God out there’?
  • talking to the ‘God within’, the Inner Christ, the I AM, ‘that of God’?
  • meditation (meeting God in the silence)?
  • reflection (thinking in the presence of God)?
  • contemplation (focusing on a particular thought about God or image of God) ?
  • observing my thoughts from the perspective of the Inner Christ
    (see introduction above)?
  • simply concentrating on the now, for to be fully alive in the present moment is to participate in a ‘heaven’?

 

2.  Would it be useful for me to use some of the other ways of praying outlined above as well as the one I am currently using?

 

Note: A useful exercise at the beginning of prayer is to relax the body and become aware of the rhythm of breathing. On the in breath say ‘let’ and on the out breath say ‘go’ or ‘love’ then ‘God’, or ‘en’ then ‘joy’, or ‘for’ then ‘give’ etc.

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.

 

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