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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of February 6, 2011

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of February 6, 2011 ********** As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2011
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of February 6, 2011

      **********

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
      here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
      "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
      Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Be sensitive to your life experiences

      "Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my
      sighing."
      Psalm 5:1

      Prayer is learned by praying.

      Reclaiming a tender, loving, intimate, and sacred
      name for God in our prayers often brings spiritual
      empowerment. For Jesus, his favorite name for God
      was "Father." His use of this name is mentioned
      more than 240 times in the Gospels. Once would
      have been significant. God was his dearest,
      beloved, and loving heavenly parent. But the
      Psalmist in today's Bible verse would have found
      that to be a revolutionary and radical way to pray.

      Some twenty-first century people find both "Father"
      and "LORD" highly offensive sacred names. They
      prefer more inclusive and less patriarchal names
      for God. Yet others love to use one or both names
      in their prayers and refuse to use any others.

      Both public and private prayers call for sensitivity
      to life experiences. As a professional minister, I
      have a responsibility to pray publicly with the
      greatest of care. Far too many children have
      experienced a history of physical or emotional
      abuse, rejection, or incest usually by a male
      parent, neighbor, adult friend, or relative. I
      know a number of children who have been abandoned
      by their fathers. One of my young friends had a
      father who committed suicide. For them, our American
      celebration of Father's Day is often a day of pain
      and anger rather than of appreciation and gratitude.
      To insist that any of them pray to God as a father
      figure seems cruel and insensitive. Forcing them
      to do so could actually hinder and hurt their prayers
      and cause deep spiritual damage and resentment.

      Ancient wisdom reminds us that we can only pray as
      we can. When I visit people in hospitals as a
      chaplain, many ask for prayer. Before praying, I
      usually ask what their favorite or preferred name
      for God is. This shows respect and as a result
      our shared prayer time is more effective and
      strengthening.

      So if "LORD" or "Father" is offensive and painful,
      find other sacred names to empower your prayers.
      Consider searching for new tender names for the
      Holy. I know many use alternative names such
      as "Dearest," "Beloved," "Tender One," "Loving
      Healer," and "Mother-God." God has many names
      and delights in hearing them spoken by us in prayer.

      A saying reminds us that prayer is learned by praying.
      If traditional names for God block your prayers, then
      experiment with new ones with holy boldness. Ask God
      for your own uniquely personal sacred name for your
      prayer life. Search with all your strength for an
      intimate, loving, and cherished name for God and your
      prayers will be enormously empowered. You may even
      find yourself surprised with joy.

      Holy One, bless our prayers as we try out new names
      for you. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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