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Prayer and Silence

      I have noticed a change taking place in my prayer life over the past six months.  My prayers have been much less of me talking and more of sitting in the presence of God.  In the Gospel of Thomas (Sayings 6 and 14) Jesus advises against hypocrisy in prayer, among other things.  In the other gospels he warns of being like those who pray to be heard by others, and making long prayers to appear spiritual.  I was part of the larger church movement and know that type of prayer...heck I was one of those who pray that way.  Also in these sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus suggests for them to not do what you hate...this could be taken a couple of ways....don't act like those who do the things you hate (false piety), but also don't pray simply because you are "supposed" to.

     Prayer from the heart is not false.  At times I am angry and vent to God, other times I plead with God, knowing I am utterly powerless.  Still others I am absorbed into Silence..the very presence of the Beloved.  It is here that if any worry or care comes I simply offer it up and let it go in the presence of God.  This sitting in the prescence of God seems to follow me more and more.  It is not something I do at a set time, (though I do see benefits from having a time to sit) but I think, (I hope!) that this represents a maturing in my prayer life.  It is totally grace and not something I can whip up or manufacture.

     I believe the Gospel of Thomas offers a unique perspective that many Progressive Christians also believe: That anyone can approach God as a son or daughter of God.  In the past when I was so focused on my sins, and unworthiness, I could not get past looking at myself to look at the Beloved.  It is a type of Zen Christian prayer, this sitting in the present moment, fully present, and yet utterly one with the Beloved as there is no more I and Thou.

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