A Renewed SpiritualityNurturing 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 GrowthDeath 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: apples and wings

Lynne Baab • Friday July 12 2019

Creative prayer: apples and wings

“Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 17:8)

I’ve been praying those words often since I heard a recording of the Australian band Sons of Korah singing Psalm 17. That was a few years ago, so I’ve had a lot of time to ponder the various ways a person could interpret those words.

First, some information about the meaning. “Apple of your eye” is a very old term in English, slang for something or someone who is cherished above all else. In old England, the pupil of the eye was viewed as round and...

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Creative prayer: Learning from mindfulness meditation

Lynne Baab • Wednesday July 3 2019

Creative prayer: Learning from mindfulness meditation

For the past five to ten years, I’ve been reading about mindfulness meditation, analyzing it from a Christian view point and pondering the connections between Christian prayer and mindfulness. I want to make four suggestions about how mindfulness can help us pray more creatively.

1. Thankfulness. My first thought, at least five years ago, relates to the connections between mindfulness and thankfulness. How can we be thankful for God’s gifts in our lives if we aren’t paying attention to our lives? In mindfulness meditation, we are encouraged to experience this moment, and this moment often contains so many gifts from God that we...

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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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