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Welcoming, Exploring, Affirming

PRAYER

how_we_can_help_you-worship_2_2877131224The Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that God will make all things right if I surrender to God’s Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with God Forever in the next. Amen.

The Lords Prayer:
Our God who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.

The Buddhist  Seven Limbed Prayer
With my body, speech, and
mind, humbly I prostrate.
I make offerings both set out and imagined.
I declare every unwholesome action I have ever committed.
I rejoice in the virtues of all beings.
Please stay until samsara ends,
And please turn the Wheel of Dharma for us.
I dedicate all these virtues to the great Enlightenment.

Let Us Rise Up and Be Thankful (Buddha)
Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn’t die;
so let us all be thankful.

Peace Prayer of St Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.  Amen.

how_we_can_help_you-prayer_2_3068110940The Druid’s Prayer, first recorded by Iolo Morganwg and updated in modern times, is used by many Druids:
Grant, O Holy Ones, Thy Protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences the love of Earth our mother and all goodness.

DSC_0254What is Prayer?

Matt Slick says ‘prayer is the practice of the presence of God. It is the place where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made. Prayer is the place of admitting our need, of adopting humility, and claiming dependence upon God. Prayer is the exercise of faith and hope.’

We believe prayer is conversation with God, prayer is crying out in times of need, prayer is praise and prayer is listening.

What Does the Bible Say?

Pray for each other. Jesus set an example for us of how to pray. He prayed for His disciples and for every generation to come that would follow Him. His prayer was that God protect and strengthen them as long as they were in this world. Jesus also prayed for those who would come to believe in Him through the Gospel message (John 17).

Whether you believe that prayer changes things or whether by praying you are keeping the person or situation at the forefront of your mind, you are welcome.

What do we say at River of Life?

There is no right or wrong way to pray – there are no right or wrong words to say. If we create a long verbose prayer to impress rather than just pray from our heart then we may find we miss the point. Also with prayer is the state of listening and not missing the answers! We remind each other often of the joke (which is too often true) about God granting miracles:

A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says “get in, get in!” The religious man replies, “no I have faith in God, God will grant me a miracle.”

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again. He responds that he has faith in God and God will give him a miracle.

With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again responds “God will grant him a miracle.”

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God. He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grand me a miracle and I have been let down.” St. Peter chuckles and responds, “I don’t know what you’re complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter.”

At River of Life we believe that we can learn from other traditions, especially in their spiritual practices, that help us grow in our own journeys. For Muslims prayer sets the rhythm of the day for the person praying – but it also sets it for the entire population in countries where this practice is upheld, including non-Muslims.

how_we_can_help_you-prayer_2_3432749767Have you tried prayer yourself?

We have put some helpful prayers on the left-hand side of this page – but let these only be a starting point – allow your mind to connect with the divine in new and exciting ways. It is like reading – there is no point in reading poetry if you cannot relate to it – you may prefer to find a different style.

Sometimes we expect a prayer to change the outcome of a situation however often we are the answer to our own or other’s prayers. For example when someone is lonely and prays for company we can be that answer. If we pray for the homeless and want them to have what they need; perhaps we have something that can help them, or know somewhere to take them, or even take them for coffee and a chat so they feel valued. If we expect a divine power to answer everything for us, we surely are relinquishing responsibility for our own part to play in this.

Have fun – remember the possibilities are endless. If you would like our team to pray for you – please contact them on prayer@river-of-life.org.uk

The Footprints Message:

One night I had a dream, I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints. I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.

“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would walk with me all the way; But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, There is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo Pray or Not to Pray By Betty J. Dalrymple

The three of us huddled beside the recently covered grave, tears freezing on our cheeks. “You know what, Mom?” my older daughter asked. “I don’t know if I believe in the power of prayer anymore. I mean, weren’t all those prayers just a waste of time?”

“Wow, do I understand that feeling,” my younger daughter agreed. “Hundreds of people were praying for Dad, and he still died.

I whispered, “At any given time, I often feel the same way.” Then I asked the question that haunted me night and day, “How could this have happened? I felt sure our prayers would be answered, and your father’s cancer would go into remission.”

As days of shock and sadness dragged on, I often returned to that cold January morning’s conversation. But how could I give up my belief in the power of prayer? After all, prayer was a priority in my life. I didn’t want to bury my prayer life in that grave with Richard, but doubt became a monster that crept in during the night and chided, “Remember how hard you prayed and how sure you were that God would answer?”

In the days that followed, I had trouble focusing during prayer time, both at worship services and during my personal times of reflection.

“How’s your spiritual life?” a friend asked me one day as we met at a local coffee shop. This wasn’t an unusual question because she and I often discussed our faith journeys.

I paused. “I just feel like something is missing and I don’t know what it is. Ever since Richard’s death, I feel like I’m lost in a forest of doubt and I don’t like this feeling!”

“I’ll pray for you,” she offered. Maybe God will listen to her, I thought.

One morning, as I sat in my comfy rocker reading my daily devotion, I read about a man who faced a scary situation and suddenly, he had a sense of peace. His first thought was, My wife must be praying for me! Someone must be praying for me! “I know how that feels,” I whispered. “I’ve experienced that many times.

Memories flashed through my mind-the time I had a breast biopsy and it was benign; when my father’s prognosis was six months and he lived four more years; when we lost our family business and Richard was offered a good job at the right time.

And how many times had God shown me [divine favor in] the little things in my life? The many times I’d prayed for my children’s success in their school events, the God-incidences of a nudge when I’d lost something, or the perfectly timed loving words spoken by a friend. I sat back in my rocker, closed my eyes and whispered, “Thank You, God.”

In that still, quiet moment, I heard God say, “You always believed, but your mind was sidetracked by anger, confusion and disappointment.”

The following Easter, my daughters and I took spring flowers to the now grassy gravesite. We talked about good memories. We laughed at their father’s humorous sayings and all the fun times we’d had as a family

“Remember when we questioned prayer?” I asked.

“Yes, and I still don’t understand why our prayers weren’t answered as we wanted God to answer them,” my daughter said.

“I don’t either,” I answered. “But recently God reminded me of many answered prayers from the past, including some since your father’s death. Even though we don’t understand why God didn’t answer our big prayer the way we wanted, God loves us and wants us to continue [communing with God]-and to keep believing [in the power of prayer]…”

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