Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of February 6, 2011
- 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
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
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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