FINDING GOD

By Learning How To Pray

Reviews, Table of Contents, & Excerpts

“Clearbridge has reached into many corners, including her own heart, to gather valuable resources for the committed believer and the spiritual seeker. Meditative exercises, words of guidance, and inspirational quotes will help the reader find prayer, and find God.”

Rev. Walter John Boris, President, The Interfaith Alliance of Washington State
Pastor, Congregational United Church of Christ

“A sensitive approach to the worship experience. May it aid all those who read it in their search and their reaching for the divine.”

Rabbi Neil Brief, Ezra-Habonim, The Niles Township Jewish Congregation

“This gentle, compassionate woman has written a wise and warm book of instruction for those who are timid about beginning to pray or just don't know where to start. The generally non-sectarian nature of the suggestions may be used by anyone who seeks to grow spiritually. The offerings identified with specific religions are thoughtfully chosen to support and encourage. I highly recommend this beautiful book to beginners, and to those with mature prayer lives as well.”

Diane Johnson, Ph.D., Psychotherapist


Table of Contents

Talking About God

Praying Alone

How?

Why?

When?

Dear...Who?

Theologies, Spirituality, & Religion

Mudras & Kanjis

Where?

Finding Your Life Purpose

Helpers

Ancient History

What (or Who) is God?

Praying Together

Ceremonies & Rites

Atonement & Mercy

Help!

Thank You!

Bliss

Praying for Others

What Happens Next?

Index of Prayers & Page Headings

Sources, Thanks & Acknowledgments

About the Author


Excerpts

Introduction

This is a workbook with prayers, poems, meditations, ideas to ponder, stories, and quotations. I hope it helps you. Feel free to write to me with suggestions and comments.

I wish you godspeed!*

* godspeed: A wish of success to one setting out on a journey or undertaking



In order to be as neutral as possible in referring to God, standard English pronouns cannot be used, as they assign gender. Many languages have genderless pronouns—please substitute the ones you prefer.

I use these:

ze: it, her, him

ze’s: its, her, hers, his

Ze: God

Ze’s: God’s


How does one pray?

What is prayer?

There are several kinds of prayer:

    giving thanks (worship)

    request (help me)

    power sharing (through You I create)

    asking questions


Daily Prayers

Even though you don’t know what you’re doing, or to Whom you’re speaking, or why, or how—begin anyway. Begin a daily practice of talking to God. Introduce yourself. If you start a dialogue, it is likely that you will receive an answer.

When the soul sings, all of creation answers!

God, help me to find you

I wish to have my eyes opened

my heart is ready

I am patient

but impatient, too!

I am ready for mystery

I am ready to not know

I wish to wonder

I know there is more to life

but don’t know where to look, or how

help me!

[Now in silence, receptive, sit or walk in a peaceful place. Listen and look. 10 minutes at least! Morning and evening.]


Gracious God

give me the ability to perceive you

diligence to seek you

eyes to behold you

wisdom to meditate upon you

and a life to proclaim you

—adaptation of a prayer of St. Benedict


How do I begin?


The usual way is to open the lines of communication by developing a spiritual practice wherein you acknowledge or speak to God every day. Many days pass and you continue to speak. The act of speaking, and your devotion to doing it, and your yearning—your lust for God—open your perception and you make contact.

Or sometimes a prayer is answered, and that brings certainty; you increase your practice, and that brings more blessings and thus more certainty. Over time your connection becomes sure and nourishing and splendid.

Or sometimes you are the blessed recipient of a miracle—God touches your shoulder, or perhaps kisses you—your eyes are opened and you see. You are the mystic.

Reach up, up—pray through the top of your head!


Daily Prayers

With joy do I cook!
With joy do I eat!
With joy and thankfulness do I cleanse the kitchen and let it rest!

[Invent a prayer for whatever task you are doing.]



Song of the Sky Loom

O, Our Mother the Earth,
O, Our Father the Sky
Your children are we and with tired backs
We bring you the gifts you love.
Then weave for us a garment of brightness
May the warp be the white light of morning
May the weft be the red light of evening
May the fringes be the falling rain
May the border be the standing rainbow.
Thus weave for us a garment of brightness
That we may walk fittingly where the grass is green
O Our Mother the Earth,
O Our Father the Sky.

a Tewa prayer


Silence is vital.

Make friends with silence.

I do not mean you should shut out all sounds until you are lost within the pounding of your blood within your ears. The sounds of animals and weather, trees and stars, are wonderful and nourishing.

Set aside regular times to sit or walk in silence.

Make your sleeping room as free as possible from machine noises (refrigerators, clocks, computer and lights humming), street and neighbor noises, and all the rest. If you are in a quiet place, open a window a little to hear the insects and birds, the wind and rain.

Nearly everyone requires silence to find God.

prayer begins and ends with silence


The act of praying

doesn’t mean that something called God hears you and obeys by granting your request (or demand).

In an act of prayer, you reach out of your usual rather-small self. You consciously link to the astoundingly-large creative force, you resonate in harmony with it. You commune. You access the common power. You touch God.

This changes you.

The situation you are in may not change. Often Godpower surges through you into the situation and it does change. Often, it doesn’t matter whether it changes or not, because it will feel different to you because you have changed.


Prayer on First Going Outside

The sun rises

and as it does,

I feel the hope rise

within me.

Thank You

for once again

making all things possible.


Have you ever been so frightened


that you yelled out—or thought—“Oh God!”

Have you ever experienced such an intensity of joy that you yelled out—or thought—“Oh God!”

Have you ever seen such beauty that you gave thanks for its existence? Or for your own?

Why?



Prayer for Help

Help me God, to lie down in peace and to rise up full of life.

Spread over me your peace.

Direct me through your good counsel.

Shelter me with your protecting love.

Guard my going out and my coming in.

Help me to have knowledge, understanding, and discernment.

Draw me near to your service.

Help me to cope with grief and suffering.

Lord, you are the staff and trust of they who suffer.

May I feel your everlasting peace.

-- paraphrased from Jewish prayer



my soul sings quietly today

as i do daily things

driving, washing, planning, talking

i hear my soul burbling joyfully underneath

i smile

people ask me why i’m cheerful

with the state of the world the way it is

i do grieve for the state of the world

but the state of my soul

is singing


©2002, revised 2008, 2017 by Barbara Clearbridge

To order by mail, send contact information, check and details of your order to:

Peace Eagle Publications
P. O. Box 1018
Middlebury, VT 05753


Contact Barbara


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