Here is a schedule of remaining programs. All of the programs begin at 7:30 p.m. at the church. Donations will be accepted.
- June 18
Some people get closer to God through dance. Others find enlightenment in chanting. Still others prefer quiet meditation.
Unity Church of Lawrence, 416 Lincoln, plans to explore a variety of forms of prayer during the summer through its "Prayer-Pourri" program, said the Rev. Sherry Shultz, the church's pastor.
"Prayer-Pourri is to provide different perspectives on different forms of prayer to see what might work for each individual person," Shultz said. "Our hope is we will help people walk away with tools that will work for them."
At 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday through Aug. 13, the church will hear about another type of prayer.
So far, the church has explored "Dances of Universal Peace" with Aloudin Ottinger, a Sufi teacher and musician.
And it heard Wednesday about Native American spirituality from Bennie Smith, director of counseling services at Haskell Indian Nations University.
"People talk about prayer and meditation and moving in a space of prayer and meditation," Shultz said. "But there's always a question that people are too embarrassed to ask, such as `What is meditation?'"
She said prayer is sometimes an active process, whereas meditation is a receptive process.
"Prayer is ... affirming something or asking for something," she said. "Meditation is more about opening your mind up to receive guidance and ideas."
She said many people try to meditate but their mind wanders to things they need to do. Eastern religions call this inner voice the "monkey mind," she said.
"As soon as you try to meditate, the monkey mind starts," she said. "What ends up happening is you may have outer silence, but you don't have inner silence.
"We're trying to get people to move toward a state of inner calm and inner peace so that they're refreshed when they complete their time of meditation."
The prayer series will touch on techniques used in Eastern, Western and Native American religions, she said.
"We're looking at the prayer and healing touch, the use of touch in prayer," she said.
They will also hear about using a journal as prayer practice and learn a "centering prayer" used for years by Roman Catholic clergy.
"We also have somebody who will talk to us about prayer with children," she said.