Nurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationSabbath Keeping FastingPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthA Renewed SpiritualityDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelPersonality Type in CongregationsBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Creative prayer: Returning prayer

Lynne Baab • Thursday June 27 2019

Creative prayer: Returning prayer

“Returning prayer is a way of coming back home to God and to ourselves. We leave the ‘far country’ and our false self efforts and return to who God made us to be.” [1]

I found this language of “returning prayer” in a new book on the Enneagram that I really like. The words reminded me of a statement I love from the Church of Ireland Prayer Book: “When we were far off, you met us in your son and brought us home.”

In one sense, any prayer is a returning prayer, because we draw near to God through Jesus Christ, who met...

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Creative Prayer: Relinquishing and welcoming

Lynne Baab • Friday June 21 2019

Creative Prayer: Relinquishing and welcoming

My favorite of the young adult novels by Madeleine L’Engle is A Ring of Endless Light. The main character, Vicky Austin, makes friends with a dolphin (always a dream of mine!) and has a sweet romance with an admirable teenage boy. In addition, she wrestles with what it means to be so full of self that there’s no room for God.

The vehicle for her wrestling is a poem by Sir Thomas Browne (1605 – 1685). The poem uses the metaphor of a shell, either empty enough that God can fill it, or so full of self that God cannot enter in:

If...

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Creative prayer: Prayer cards

Lynne Baab • Thursday June 13 2019

Creative prayer: Prayer cards

Back on February 20, when I started this series of blog posts on creative prayer, I mentioned that when I was a young adult, I was taught that prayer consists of adoration (or praise), confession, thankfulness, and supplication (or intercession). We used the acronym ACTS to be sure we hadn’t forgotten an aspect of prayer. Prayer, we were taught, was to done after studying the Bible in the morning at a desk. In addition, we were encouraged to pray ACTS prayers with others in prayer partnerships, Bible study groups, and worship services.

To my surprise, a few years later, I found I...

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Creative prayer: Pressing pause

Lynne Baab • Friday June 7 2019

Creative prayer: Pressing pause

In an online discussion about the spiritual practice of simplicity, one of my students used the words “press pause” to describe what simplicity helps us do. I began thinking about other spiritual practices that help us press pause. Fasting and Sabbath are good examples.

Then my thoughts expanded to include prayer. When we stop to pray, we are pressing pause on the activity we were doing and the thoughts that were filling our mind.

A friend of mine loved a visit to a monastery, with consistent times of prayer day after day. When he got home, he set his phone to ping at...

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Featured books

Featured articles

NEW - Local Ministry: A Cord of Three Strands

Lynne Baab • Thursday May 30 2019

By Lynne M. Baab

AWARD WINNER - To be a Neighbour Must Include Listening

Lynne Baab • Friday February 5 2016

This article won a 2017 award from the Australian Religious Press Association for the best social justice article. Social justice didn't cross my mind as I wrote the article. I was just thi...