This past week in worship we considered some of the most difficult obstacles to achieving inner joy–fear, anger and sadness. In Pastor Mark's sermon he shared some of the stories from "The Book of Joy" of how the Dalai Lama and Bishop Tutu have dealt with tough times in their lives–and they have lived through very difficult periods of history. Each of them was able to maintain their inner peace while working for a more positive society due their ability to keep a healthy perspective on life. You can learn more about this in their book, or you can listen to Pastor Mark's sermon on-line. And be sure to join us for a prayer for perspective.
This Week's Prayer Assignment–A Prayer for Perspective
This week's prayer assignment is a prayer for perspective. First, find a quiet place for your prayers and set aside 10 minutes each day to practice. Sit comfortably with your feet flat, or with crossed legs on the floor if you prefer. Close your eyes and begin by focusing on your breath. While breathing you may pray the Easter Orthodox Jesus prayer (Pastor Mark's version) with your breath. While breathing in think to yourself "Jesus Christ, brother of mine," and while breathing out, "Be present with me, here and now."
After you have calmed your mind then think of a problem that is bothering you. Then imagine that a friend of yours has this same problem. What advice would you give him/her?
Next think about how this problem will look in the future–in a week, or a year, or ten years. Will it really matter? What good may come out of this in the future?
Next, imagine how your problem looks in God's eyes. How does if fit in the grand scheme of life? After you imagine the problem from these perspectives, then offer the problem to God in prayer. Continue to focus on your breathing and remaining calm until the ten minutes is up. After you open your eyes, write in your prayer journal what you learned about this problem.
"The Book of Joy," by the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams is our source book for this series. It also contains many prayer practices including the ones we will be using in the Lenten series at church.
Pastor Mark's Sunday sermon from this past week can be found at "Joy's Obstacles."