Thursday, August 27, 2009

A contemplative intersession exercise...

I've been exploring contemplative prayer and I want to share a little exercise here. Different than the list/request style of prayer that I was raised with (and, of course, has it's place)..."God please do this and this and also this," contemplation teaches us to carry prayer with us in our heart in specified times of quiet and through the mundane movements of the day. It may sound a little more "spooky" than it really is.

And of course, intersession is a kind of prayer offered on behalf of others. So, set aside 15 minutes and do this with me if you can...

Psalm 17 is subtitled in my Bible "Prayer for the protection against oppressors" and I'll post it here below. Take a minute and think of a people or group that you know about facing oppression. If you need any help you can look here, here, here or here. Hold these people in your heart by picturing them in their plight. Slowly and quietly read this on their behalf. Take your time.

Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea;
listen to my cry.
Give ear to my prayer—
it does not rise from deceitful lips.

May my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right.

Though you probe my heart and examine me at night,
though you test me, you will find nothing;
I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.

As for the deeds of men—
by the word of your lips
I have kept myself
from the ways of the violent.

My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.

I call on you, O God, for you will answer me;
give ear to me and hear my prayer.

Show the wonder of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.

Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings

from the wicked who assail me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.

They close up their callous hearts,
and their mouths speak with arrogance.

They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.

They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a great lion crouching in cover.

Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down;
rescue me from the wicked by your sword.

O LORD, by your hand save me from such men,
from men of this world whose reward is in this life.
You still the hunger of those you cherish;
their sons have plenty,
and they store up wealth for their children.

And I—in righteousness I will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Did God speak to you through this? Write it down. How can you respond?

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