In Need of Prayer

This morning, while walking this sweet hymn, “I am standing in the need of prayer” came to mind. As soon as I got home, I found it on YouTube and played it a few times to let the words sink in.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kyd1M3U5VsQLately, I long a to be in a prayerful community. I pray as I walk, pray before meals and read prayers. I meditate daily but it is in private. Sensing this inward urge to connect with others seeking a sacred space to pray and meditate together, I decided to set a day and time for like hearted folks to come together. Though I do not have all the details worked out I have set aside Fridays at 1:30 pm. Tentatively, the first prayer group will be July 26, though the place is yet uncertain.

Have you wondered what prayer and meditation have in common? Me too. Several years ago, my prayers morphed into meditation. For the past several years, I practice meditation and continue to pray. According to Merriam-Webster:

1a(1): an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought said a prayer for the success of the voyage(2): a set order of words used in praying b: an earnest request or wish2: the act or practice of praying to God or a god kneeling in prayer3: a religious service consisting chiefly of prayers —often used in plural. Meditations defined by Merriam-Webster:

1: to engage in contemplation or reflection He meditated long and hard before announcing his decision.2: to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. These definition urged me to compare these activities ad the benefits each offers. In this and many other articles, benefits are linked to prayer and meditation.

“Prayer and meditation are often seen as something specific for people who are religious. However, even non-religious people have said that prayer can bring on a strong sense of inner strength or power.” Yet, this article continues emphasizing

Group in meditation

“Prayer and meditation are often seen as something specific for people who are religious. However, even non-religious people have said that prayer can bring on a strong sense of inner strength or power.”that prayer can be useful when used alongside treatment, but a physician should always be when it is used. Meditation helps individuals focus their attention and become aware of their thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. This usually results in a state of calmness, physical relaxation, and psychological balance. Although beneficial, prayer and meditation should not be used in place of medicine to treat illnesses; but used in conjunction with a with therapy and support groups as a complete approach to recovery.” Reflecting on how prayer and meditation helps me in my grief journey even more than that I am becoming more grateful, forgiving and compassionate in my daily life. 

Like meditation practices, there are many forms of prayer. Here are the most well known: 1; Blessing and adoration or worship, 2; Petition, most familiar is asking for something from God 3; Intercession: is another form of prayers of petition, but more nuanced such as praying ro our children. In such prayers we’re not concerned with our needs but with the needs of others. 4; Thanksgiving prayers, perhaps most neglected. While Grace Before Meals is a good example of a prayer of thanksgiving, we should get into the habit of thanking God throughout the day for the good things that happen to us and others. I learned to say Grace before meals an it has been my habit since childhood. 5; Praise is a form of worship prayer, giving credit to God and acknowleging Him/Her to be the source of all power the Holy One, the Creator the Source of Alpha and Omega.

Here the major Types of meditation: Loving-kindness, Body scan, Mindfulness, Breath Awareness, Kundalini yoga, Zen meditation and Transcendental meditation. With the many types of meditation to try, there should be one to suit most individuals. …  Each meditation category has many subtypes. For further information explore: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320392.php. I lead and practice several forms of meditation and found many of the benefits listed in this scientific research article:

12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditationhttps://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation

  • Reduces Stress. Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. … 
  • Controls Anxiety. Less stress translates to less anxiety. … 
  • Promotes Emotional Health. … 
  • Enhances Self-Awareness. … 
  • Lengthens Attention Span. … 
  • May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss. … 
  • Can Generate Kindness. … 
  • May Help Fight Addictions.

Getting back to what began my inward longing to begin a meditation prayer group. While I pray, and meditate daily, it is a community in sacred space that I long for. Come if you feel the nudge. Respond in the reply section for information about the location. 

Praying togther is powerful.

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Gabriella was born in Budapest Hungary. Some of her family still resides in Hungary. After escaping the Communist regime in the aftermath of the 1956 Revolution, Gabriella's family settled in Cleveland OH. She graduated from Cleveland Heights High School and attended college but did not earn a degree. She met her husband in Devon PA, and soon they were married and began family life in PA. Only a few years married, John and Gabriella moved to FL to be with Gabriella's aging parents. Two o their three children were born Florida. After the children began school, Gabriella volunteered in schools and libraries. Her love for swimming drew her into the world of aquatics. Part time coaching jobs evolved into career aquatic management. Her children out of the home, Gabriella worked full time as an aquatic manger, coach and swim instructor. In 2001, John and Gabriella's plans to ease into retirement in Tucson changed drastically when John suffered a heart attack in 2002. John’s amazing recovery after bypass surgery allowed Gabriella to seek a new career. It was a life changing experience for both of them. Gabriella returned to school at the University of AZ and John took over household responsibilities. A shift occurred in their lives. Gabriella felt called to become a spiritual care provider. Preparing for seminary, she chose interdisciplinary program, combining Psychology, Family and Religious Studies. She graduated with honors in 2006. Gabriella and John moved to Berkeley for her to begin seminary at the Pacific School of Religion. Gabriella was accepted on the ordination track in the Swedenborgian Church of North America. Her goal was to becoming a chaplain. John's health crisis necessitated a move from Berkeley back to Tucson in 2008. Gabriella transferred to Earlham School of Religion to complete the Master’s program. In her senior year, working in required Supervised Ministry, Gabriella created a dual ministry; Circle Community, a sharing, praying and studying support group and worked as a crisis advocate in Tucson area hospitals. Most of her family was present in Cincinnati OH when Gabriella was ordained in July 2012. In July of 2011 she was ordained in the Swedeborgian Church and accepted a call to be the pastor of the New Church of Southwest FL. Soon after her ordination Gabriella accepted a call to become the pastor to the New Church of Southwest FL in 2011. John, a VA patient needed comprehensive medical care unavailable in Fort Myers. For Gabriella ministry begins at home. Once again new a health crisis changed their life. They moved back to Tucson AZ. Back in Tucson, Gabriella found ministry opportunities with Circle Community, did workshops and conducted weekly Prayer Meditations at Rincon U.C.C. She completed a course in Spiritual Direction at the Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction. In mid October 2012, Gabriella began to work as a Chaplain for Harmony Hospice. The job all she had expected. She found great satisfaction working with patients and their families. Gabriella left the per diem position with Harmony for a full time job with Valor HospiceCare. Here too, she worked with grieving families, conducted grief support groups and lead Community Memorial services during the same time that her husband's health was spiraling downwards. Gabriella resigned her job to care for John in the last months of his life. John died in April 2014. Life became chaotic. An intense search a chaplain position in Tucson and other parts of the country was unsuccessful. Peers suggested Gabriella look into open churches with the Swedenborgian Church. She candidated in Kansas with two churches. She was called to pastor the Pretty Prairie and Pawnee Rock churches in July 2014. A new life began with the move to rural Kansas. In August 2014, Gabriella began to serve as the Pastor of the two churches.

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