Carl Gregg on #WhyPray?

Carl Gregg weighs in on his blog about 10 Reasons to Pray:

  1. Singer-songwriter David Wilcox’ CD Out Beyond Ideas is an incredible collection of music based on Daniel Ladinsky’s equally good book Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West.” Why pray? To experience this love for yourself.
  2. Martin Laird’s A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation is a small, 200-page gem of a book on prayer that is a recent companion piece to his previous (and also excellent) book Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation.
  3. If you do pray, as you mature in the practice, you will eventually find yourself in some form of a “Dark Night of the Soul,” at which point Thomas Green’s two books When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings and Drinking From A Dry Well are invaluable.
  4. Richard Rohr is one of our greatest living wisdom teachers. His Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer is a contemporary spiritual classic. Everything Rohr has written is great, but perhaps also see, in particular, his more recent book The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See. And in a world in which almost everyone’s inbox is too full, I nevertheless cannot recommend highly enough his free daily e-mail meditations.
  5. To throw a cross-cultural perspective into the mix, I am a huge fan of Paul Knitter’s work on religious pluralism in general, and of his Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian in particular. Knitter “crosses over” from Buddhist practices to Christian practices (including meditation and prayer), illuminating each tradition more fully from the perspective of the “other.” This book is an deeply personal and highly significant contribution to the theology of “religious hybridity” and “dual belonging,” which will likely be increasingly common in common years: religious adherents rejecting an “either/or” dual, refusing to choose only one path, and identifying as “both” — for example, Christian and Buddhist, Jewish and Christian, Muslim and Hindu.

Read the rest of the list: Carl Gregg » #WhyPray?.

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  • Am I too late to the party? Did somebody already say this:

    If God is all loving and all powerful, what purpose does prayer serve? Does his kindness or justice depend on the prayers of humans? Would He not move to prevent suffering unless we begged Him to change for us? If He did not already plan to prevent this suffering was He truly good? I like Kierkegaard. He puts the emphasis on the individual. The purpose of prayer is to change the one who prays, not to change God.

  • jcarlgregg

    Sarah, those are good and important questions. For what it is worth, I look to Process Theology for my own (current) best response to those questions of theodicy — see, for example, my post on “Living the (Hardest) Questions: What If God Is Not ‘Fully and Unambiguously Good?’: A Process Theology Sermon”: