Questions to help you find your own way to pray.
Image © Rémih (CC BY-SA-3.0).
Most religious traditions embrace some form of prayer as a part of meaningful spiritual practice. The forms, purposes, and addressees of prayer vary greatly, but scholars in many traditions agree that there are four general categories: adoration, confession/contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication. Many people find some combination of these to be a meaningful practice that opens them up to new possibilities and attitudes.
Name and connect with whatever it is we understand to be sacred and worthy of love and reverence.
What is sacred to you? What is most worthy of your love, allegiance, commitment, praise, or veneration?
Where do you perceive joy and beauty in yourself? In the world? How do you name and affirm the existence of that beauty and joy?
See and claim responsibility for the fullness of ourselves, including the qualities or acts of which we are least proud.
Where are your limits? Where do you feel “stuck”? What are the qualities you possess that are holding you back from acting as your most compassionate, joyful self?
What are your greatest gifts? How have you fully brought those talents and strengths to the service of “the altar of humanity”? Where have you caused harm? In what aspects of your life are you out of right relationship with yourself, with others, with the earth? What do you regret, and what would you repair?
Acknowledge and celebrate the blessings and gifts of life.
What small moments of beauty, joy, grace, or connection have you unexpectedly experienced today? How did you experience the sacred in your own life today?
What are the solid, constant gifts that make it possible for you to live your life? What things—relationships, resources, conditions—have you perhaps taken for granted?
Open in ourselves the ability to surrender control while courting creativity and cultivating hope as we seek to change circumstances in our lives and our world.
What circumstances in your life seem beyond your control? What would make it possible for you to approach those circumstances with renewed energy, creativity, trust, or love?
What are your deepest hopes and yearnings—for yourself, for your community, for the world? What are the things that seem most in need of movement, change, or healing?
What are your wildest, least rational dreams and aspirations? Your simplest wishes?
Reprinted with permission from Quest (November 2016), the monthly periodical of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
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The Rev. Ashley Horan is executive director of the Minnesota UU Social Justice Alliance and national learning coordinator for the Beloved Conversations program.