Ten hard Questions by a Skeptic. #11 (bonus)
Welcome to my blog post entitled "Unveiling the Zeitgeist". Recently, I had the privilege to answer 10 questions from a friend about the nature of God and spirituality in general. I am sharing the ten-part Q&A with my friend's permission. I have titled this very first series "Ten hard questions by a Sceptic". I hope that this blog post series helps all the skeptics out there that wrestle with the existence of God in their minds and in their hearts. Friends, It's time to leave the fence!
#11. We often say God speaks to us when we pray etc. But how do we know that feeling of content, happiness, or gratefulness isn't a function of a meditated mind? Meditation is proven to bring calmness and the feeling of being present. Are we not confusing the effect of praying = meditated mind as God?
Let me add another aspect of Christian meditation in conjunction with prayer. Although both are vastly different spiritual disciplines, they have commonalities because of many misconceptions about prayer. First, we are so accustomed to eastern meditation which takes hold of our awareness of much of our spirituality. Eastern philosophy and meditation is to achieve a state of mind of “nihilistic calm” or “absence of thoughts” which is consequently expressed as tranquility, peace, and calmness. At the heart of the exercise is the removal of disturbances, distractions, nuisance, and noise. Hence much is to achieve harmony and balance via active subtraction. Christian mediation is the opposite. We allow for an active engagement of mindfulness of thought. Say a verse in the scripture that seemingly reveals a character of God. So, we continue to dwell on this thought not because we are waiting for an effect as the thought by itself is meaningless but because it is accompanied by the presence of the Holy Spirit “peace” and “joy” is a by-product of meditation. Christian mediation edifies the spirit by dwelling in a thought hence addition.
What wasn’t mentioned about prayer so far is that in prayer life there are many facets of prayers. Next to adoration, supplication and intercession are also types of prayers. Adoration is the expression of fondness and love to God. Supplication means asking to intervene in my own life as a provider or healer etc. Finally, when we pray for others, for our community (church and other), and even our own nation it is called intercession. Next to all these types of prayers which are altruistic in nature (with the exception of supplication prayer), God always hears your prayer and answers them in His time. The keyword is in His time rather than in our time.
The greatest misconception of prayer within the Christian community is that prayer always requires words. It is not the case as prayers are often more about listening. If two-person speak at the same time, there is no real communication. So, as a rule of thumb, instead of me trying to tell God what He already knows, a solid prayer requires 20% speaking and 80% listening.
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