Daily Prayer with Alignment’s Interfaith Calendar of Light

Daily Prayer with Alignment’s Interfaith Calendar of Light December 21, 2022

Digital Calendar of Contemplative Practices from a Variety of Traditions

Find five minutes to ground your day in a new spiritual practice.

A Muslim man kneels in prayer with the Qur'an
The daily practice of Islamic prayer (Riccardo Maria Mantero / Flikr)

During the month of December, Alignment: Interfaith Contemplative Practices launches a digital calendar, fashioned in the style of an Advent calendar. Digital doors open each day to a new experience. A Jewish chanted psalm, a Muslim reading of the Qur’an, a dance to a Jain prayer. Once open, each door remains available through the year. Revisit practices that you find particularly meaningful.

Daily Spiritual Practices

As we grow in our journeys of faith, often we find daily practices of prayer. They allow us to pause and notice the ways in which we connect to the divine within us and beyond us. Perhaps we turn to our scriptural texts first thing in the morning or before we close our eyes. We might offer prayers of gratitude for the blessings of the day or address our creator with petitions for help. Or maybe we stop to notice a bird that offers its benediction as it crosses our path. Our spiritual practices might be regular or unique to each new day. 

Embroidered bee on a fabric dyed with pressed flower
Artist Caroline Maw-Deis finds her spiritual practice in creating art and making connections to what she observes in nature.

Embracing What is Different. Incorporating Something New.

Looking beyond the prayer practices of our own tradition, however, can offer a deepening sense of connection. Connections to those of other religious and non-religious traditions. Connections to a source that transcends the limitations of any one particular tradition. I had a friend who thought it “didn’t count” if she attended a faith community that was not of her own particular branch of Christianity. It might be nice enough to pray with a Hindu friend. But it did not bring her the benefits she knew were attained only through the prescribed regimen. I maintain that the benefits of engaging in a spiritual practice are only deepened and magnified by expanding our palate. We are not abandoning our own tradition. Nor are we trying to create one blended spirituality by embracing the gifts offered by other ways of praying.

Oil painting of sun dipping between green mountains and an orange sky
Breathe in Light. Breathe out Love. An offering from Interfaith Philadelphia. Painting “Big Sky Mind” c Bronwen Mayer Henry @choosejoyoverperfection

New Ways of Praying

The Calendar of Light offers a month of spiritual practices from collaborators who identify in over twenty different traditions, half of whom are BIPOC voices. Some are Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian. Some are leaders who find their connection to Spirit in nature, music, and different forms of art. They have come together to create this offering of spiritual practices with the hope that we are not just visitors into the practices of another. Rather, we might embrace the practices of our neighbor and incorporate those practices into our own. And in finding new ways to connect to the source of all being, there just might be a greater awareness of a God without boundaries or limitations. An eternal source of acceptance and love.

What Each Day Holds

Opening each door to a new spiritual practice allows us to see how many different ways there are to pray. Savita Singh enables us to see prayer as embodied as she offers a Kathak dance veneration to a Jain prayer. She explains that as “the dancer transcends into a meditative state, ultimate bliss and adoration for the divine are achieved and the dancer loses all conscious thoughts.” Dawn Weisbord leads us in connecting our energy to the energy of the earth as we cultivate our connection to chi in the practice of QiGong. Caroline Maw-Deis offers a work of art made from flowers gathered and pressed into fabric. She highlights her spiritual practice of creating from what she finds in creation. Collaborators offer chants, poetry, meditations, original songs, and prayers that open new avenues of connection to the divine. 

As you explore the Calendar of Light, holding darkness and awaiting light, may you open your heart to new ways of praying. I firmly believe that if we can learn to pray together, we can move to the ongoing work of building peace and seeking justice in our communities – together.

 


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