Thinking Out Loud

September 21, 2018

Prayer Requests in Writing

Prayer is a language unto itself, but it also uses language, and not unlike the emails and Facebook status you may have checked before reading this, it is language which, while it can be visibly seen, usually isn’t.

The reason is that most of our prayers are spoken, or perhaps cried out, or even breathed.

Still, some of you keep a journal where your prayers are written out. Seeing them often makes what is an invisible practice more tangible.

Others of you perhaps have been in a service where you wrote an immediate need or a long-term longing of your heart on a sticky note which you brought forward and placed on something at the front of a church sanctuary or perhaps on a piece of colored paper which you pinned to a wooden cross.

Seeing the above scene in Europe* reminded me of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Wikipedia reminds us that,

Today, more than a million prayer notes or wishes are placed in the Western Wall each year. Notes that are placed in the Wall are written in just about any language and format. Their lengths vary from a few words to very long requests. They include poems and Biblical verses. They are written on a wide variety of papers, including colored paper, notebook paper and even bubblegum wrappers, using a variety of inks.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Rabbi of the Western Wall, receives hundreds of letters yearly addressed to “God, Jerusalem“; he folds these letters and places them, too, in the Wall.

Online services offer petitioners the opportunity to send their notes to the Western Wall via e-mail, fax, text messaging and Internet; the note is then printed out and inserted in the Wall. The Israeli Telephone Company has established such a fax service, as have a number of charitable websites.

But the above replica (if that’s what was intended) is made of plaster covered over with chicken wire, in a place available to all people all the time.

It’s a more tangible expression of what we might normally just say, and then the element of walking away, and leaving our request with God is also significant.

Some churches have a prayer request book in the lobby. Others have an email to which you can send requests. Still others will share requests in the main weekend service, although that practice is widely disappearing.

Does your congregation have a vehicle whereby you put either a physical or a community presence to your petitions to God?


*Picture above, taken by Ruth, is of the Heiliggeistkirche Lutheran Church in Heidelberg, Germany

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October 6, 2010

Wednesday Link List

Here are some highlights from my blog travels in the past week:

  • While you’re link hopping  here, you can stream audio from CCM Gold Radio – Christian music from the ’60s thru the ’80s; though it’s a bit like tightrope walking without a net, because they don’t tell you what you’re hearing, and there are many obscure songs.   Great for Christian music trivia, however; I’m just not sure how many songs actually support the claim to include the ’60s.   I have a 3,000-plus library of Christian music on vinyl, and only a small handful are pre 1970.
  • Then again, you’re going to have to switch media for this one:   Many of you know Pete Wilson from his blog and his new book, Plan B.   But how many of you have been to Cross Point to check out a Pete Wilson sermon?   I thoroughly enjoyed this experience on the weekend.  Go to the page for Pete’s new Empty Promises series, and click on week one, the introductory message.   I promise you 30 solid minutes of distraction-free preaching.
  • Tullian Tchividjian has been busy on Twitter compiling short statements expressing various aspects of the gospel.  Blogger Barry Simmons assembles a couple of lists at his blog The Journeyman’s Files both here and here.   Sample sentence: “When we transfer trust from ourselves to Christ, we experience the abundant freedoms that come from not having to measure up.”
  • Trevin Wax plays transcription stenographer to a recent address by Al Mohler as to how he came to his present position on women in pastoral ministry.   Check out some highlights.
  • What life goals are you working on?  Things you’re trying to cultivate in your life?   Ever feel lost or orphaned?   Kathy Escobar has three words for you.
  • Here’s another take on the new CEB (Common English Bible) translation, which the writer calls a “Good News Glut.”   We learn now that five publishers are involved, and many are motivated by providing an alternative for the NRSV crowd.
  • Just When You Thought You’d Heard Everything Department:  Don’t know if this conversion would actually ‘stick,’ but Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell says she became a Christian because of her love of Italian food, primarily meatballs.
  • This one’s been in my files for awhile… Author Max Lucado considers things spiritual and things sci-fi and everything in between in a consideration of what the next life might be like.
  • Bene Diction posted this link a few days back to an article by Regent College professor John Stackhouse on the appropriateness of criticizing other Christians in a public forum.   Should we shoot our own?
  • Related?   Here’s a comment from a reader at CT’s article on Rick Warren’s video appearance at the Desiring God conference, and John Piper’s negative attitude toward Warren in particular:  “All of us, including the most intellectual, will be taking a Theology 101 course in heaven…”
  • Author Wayne Jacobsen got an insider’s look at the making of the now-released movie adaptation of Karen Kingsbury’s book Like Dandelion Dust.
  • New music artist of the week is two-time ASCAP award winner John DeGrazio.  Check out his 2010 album Stronghold at his webpage.
  • Michael Belote at Reboot Christianity has a great word picture of a typical gathering in the first century church, but to get there, link here first for a quick eight-question quiz.
  • No actual link on this one, but I’m currently reading Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis … out loud! Working away one chapter a night, and with my youngest (who’s now 16) listening, I figure many of the chapters started out as radio broadcasts anyway, so why not cover the book in its original form.   It also slows me down to catch all the nuances of Lewis’ masterful apologetics.
  • At least one Target store would rather slash women’s clothing to pieces than donate it to an orphanage in southeast Asia.   Why?   They’re afraid someone else might get the product and try to return it for refund.
  • It remains one of my all time favorite cartoons; so I’m thankful to a reader who sent a much better rendering of it than the one I posted… I think you already know the cartoonist’s name, right?

  • And here’s an edgy one appearing September 14th from Tom Pappalardo at The Optimist written in response to the migration of Roman Catholics out of New England, which leaves the northeast with a reputation once exclusively belonging to the northwest:

September 30, 2009

What Really Matters to You Right Now?

Filed under: blogging, theology — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:20 pm

question-markSo I’m blog-hopping looking for something creative to post today and suddenly realizing how easy it is to be caught up in someone else’s issues.   There are discussions and debates going on about a wide range of topics that, if I am reading these blogs correctly, are so critical that the fate of civilization as we know it is hanging in the balance.

Sometimes a topic intersects an area of personal interest.   Other times, I think of something clever — okay, at least I think it’s clever — to add as a short comment.   But the next day that blog will be off on a different subject which really isn’t something I see as critical to my own personal walk with Jesus.

Many Christian blogs are caught up in discussions that make your head spin.   I love surveying the issues and seeing what matters to some people.   (A blog like Internet Monk — see the blogroll — will do that for you and give you a crash course in theological hot topics.)   But often I feel like this is someone else’s discussion. Maybe I just haven’t reached a level of spiritual maturity to burden myself with certain topics.   Or maybe — and this is a BIG maybe — they haven’t written their argument in such a way as to evoke from me a response out of the depth of my understanding and connection to that particular concern.

So…what really matters to you right now?   What topic would you like to find on a Christian blog that would hit you right where you’re living at this moment?

Break up into groups of 3-4 and discuss; OR leave a comment!   (Or both!)

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