Archive for Saturday, August 8, 2009

Faith forum: Does it matter in what tone we speak to God?

August 8, 2009


Communication takes many forms

The Rev. Jill Jarvis, pastor, Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence, 1263 N. 1100 Road:

What might it mean to “talk to God”, absent a belief in a personified supernatural being who hears our words? There are people of faith, including most Unitarian Universalists, whose religious worldviews don’t include the concept of a personal god. Yet many speak of “God” to symbolize that which is most powerful, profound and precious throughout human history: a spirit of life and love that brings inner peace, a sense of connectedness to all, and moves us toward feelings of compassion and acts of justice.

To communicate with God, then — whether or not we find the word itself meaningful — is to focus our attention in ways that heighten awareness of our full humanity and of our place in the interconnected web of all existence. In so doing we experience a deep sense of gratitude, awe and obligation that inspires us to action.

This is our communication with the holy, or that which leads us toward wholeness. It takes many forms and happens in many times and places throughout our lives. Alone, in silent meditation as we clear our minds of everyday clutter, we may reach a profound sense of connection with our innermost selves.

Guided by another’s wisdom — a spiritual director, a therapist, a trusted friend — reflecting on our life’s experience may produce insights leading to greater understanding and healing of old wounds.

Yet introspection, contemplation and self-reflection are not enough to sustain our connection to the holy. We need other people to be part of that ongoing process. Within a trusted community of seekers and friends we “talk to God” together in many ways. In worship services we celebrate in words, song, ritual and music the common values and aspirations that we find most worthy. We touch the holy by sharing each other’s joys and sorrows, and caring for each other in times of need. We share insights about our human condition, and together, we bear witness to the cry for solidarity among all people.

— Send e-mail to Jill Jarvis at

Multiple biblical verses offer guidance

Ric Mitchell, area coordinator, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Educational System:

We are all children of God. He loves us and hears our every plea. He is anxious to answer us and will just as soon as we are ready to listen.

During his mortal ministry, Jesus was approached by a disciple who said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In response, the Savior gave what has become commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer” (see Luke 11:1-13 and Matthew 6:1-15).

Additionally, the Bible records other prayers uttered by Christ. From the 26-verse petition known as the “Intercessory Prayer” (John 17) to the one-verse expression of gratitude in John 11:41, much can be gleaned from a study of how Christ prayed.

The following is a simple outline for prayer with biblical references to support each step.

1. Begin by addressing God. Jesus most often used the title “Father” (see Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:10-13; John 17:1).

2). Give thanks. (John 11:41; Luke 22:17,19; Matthew 15:36, 26:27; Mark 8:6, 14:23)

3. Ask for things you need. (Luke 11:9,11-13; Matthew 7:7, 9-11; Matthew 21:22)

4. Pray in Jesus’ name. (John 14:13-14, 16:23; Matthew 18:20)

5. Close with the word “Amen,” which means “truly,” “surely” or “so be it.” (Matthew 6:13)

Most importantly, keep in mind that God is your loving Father in Heaven. He wants to hear from you, and he wants to help you. You don’t have to be fancy or flowery; in fact, the Savior condemned that (Matthew 6:7). Simply be sincere and pray the best you know how, remembering that “the Lord looks upon the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Finally, don’t ever forget the Lord’s invitation to each of his children: “Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).

— Send e-mail to Ric Mitchell at


John Kyle 8 years, 9 months ago

Prayer is doing nothing and pretending that you did something.
If my house was on fire and one neighbor said 'I'll get a hose' and the other neighbor said 'I'll pray that he puts the fire out', I would not give neighbor two any credit for the fire being put out. Praying is only to make yoursellf feel pretend that you actually did something.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 9 months ago

The concept of a god and goodness is cool, and trying to live by the golden rule is certainly good advice. Organized religion can tend to get in the way of these principles. In preliterate times, 'god' may have been our right brain talking to our left brain. In modern times, it's hard to see why it persists.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 8 years, 9 months ago

Rumor has it that God is telepathic... er... omnipathic.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 8 years, 9 months ago

These frothy articles on imaginary concepts of a divine power intrigue me. It makes me wonder about the mind-set of persons who otherwise are reasonable and literate to imagine that some unknown awesome power of the Universe is going to cure their deathly sick child in a miracle or to smite down a neighbor who doesn't mow his grass. All religious doctrine is the creation of mankind, and anyone who states that he has spoken to a god is just posturing and posing for his human victims. No I am not anti religious, but I am flabbergasted by those who, as I previously stated, demonstrate knowledge and education, and yet cling to religious fantasy to solve their unsolvable or unknown dilemmas.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 9 months ago

All these articles are written by the Prots. I don't know what tone means. When I pray I am thinking so I don't have a tone. I pray for those in the hospital. I have total faith that whatever happens is supposed to happen. Which does not absolve me from sticking to my diet and exercise plan and getting a regular checkup. I know that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me. That is good enough for me.

Confrontation 8 years, 9 months ago

As long as you pay your 10%, you can pretty much do whatever you want.

beatrice 8 years, 9 months ago

"I have total faith that whatever happens is supposed to happen."

Yet you pray as if you might have a say in the outcome. If what will be will be and God knows what is supposed to happen already, why pray?

Prayer is voicing personal wishes, and if wishes were fishes we all would be casting nets.

"what does the tone matter when you are “speaking” to an entity that doesn't exist?"

Because if you are praying in a quiet tone rather than a boisterous tone, you aren't annoying me as much.

Silence is Golden Duct Tape is Silver

Tom McCune 8 years, 9 months ago

.....just slightly odd that the Mormon guy cited 19 verses from the Bible and zero from the "Book of Mormon" or "The Pearl of Great Price".....

WHY 8 years, 9 months ago

An experiment:

Dear God would you please, pretty please, respond to me? ......

God talk to me now. .......

God you are an idiot. ........

Nope absolutely no difference.

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