Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • David Steindl-Rast points out the importance of finding cues to prayer. He tells of two sisters who had a clock that struck every 15 minutes. With each stroke of the clock, one would say, "Remember God's presence," and the other would add, "Let us always be grateful." Talk in your group about what kinds of things spark your prayers.
  • What benefits have you derived from worshipping in a community? What parts of the service are most satisfying to you?
  • Prayers of action, according to Richard J. Foster, are "each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others." Using this definition, talk about your prayers of action this week.

Imagery Exercise

Catholic priest Anthony de Mello developed a series of exercises for use as prayers; they are collected in Sadhana: A Way to God. This one, titled "A Place for Prayer" recognizes that where we pray has an influence on our prayer.

After some time spent in quieting yourself, withdraw in imagination to some place that is likely to foster prayer for you: a seashore, riverbank, mountaintop, a silent church, a terrace that gives on to the starry sky, a garden flooded by the light of the moon . . . See the place as vividly as possible. . . . All the colors . . . Hear all the sounds (the waves, the wind in the trees, the insects at night) . . . Now raise your heart to God and say something.

Journal Exercises

  • For two decades, priest and novelist Andrew Greeley kept a daily prayer journal in a file on his computer; he published several volumes of them. Addressing God as "My Love," he shares his intimate feelings, dreams, creative efforts, and scholastic interests. Keep a running record of your dialogues with God in your journal.
  • There are hundreds of images and names for God in the Bible and even more mentions of attributes of the divine. Muslims recognize 99 names for Allah. To what aspects of God are you devoted? Make a list of the ways you have addressed God over the years; this gives you a good indication of the nature of your relationship. Then brainstorm a list of new names for God. Use at least one new one each week in your prayers.