Posts tagged ‘prayer’

“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” – Romans 15:13

  1. How have I been attentive to God’s voice in my life?
  2. How can we liberate each other on our journey?
  3. How does receiving the Eucharist contribute liberating grace for my journey?
  4. Freedom is wide open friendship with God – what does this mean to me today?

“Sacred One, teach us love, compassion and honour that we may heal the earth and heal each other.” – Ojibwa Prayer

By 200 C.E., Jews had developed an extensive set of laws that dealt with everything from daily prayer to the judicial system to taxation. These laws were passed on orally, not in writing, because any written version was necessarily incomplete and thus subject to misinterpretation.

However, after the Jewish rebellion in 132 C.E., the Roman rulers prohibited Jews from living in Jerusalem. Jewish leaders realized that their expulsion from Jerusalem could leave them without teachers or temple to maintain this oral tradition. To keep the laws from being lost, they decided to write them down. In around 200 C.E., Rabbi Judah Ha-Nasi prepared the first written version, The Mishnah.

What are the advantages of having a teaching in written form? What are the disadvantages? What can teachers do that books cannot?

Here are some facts about Islam.

  • Has about 1.3 billion followers worldwide
  • Founded in about 610 C.E. by the prophet Muhammad
  • Five Pillars of Islam: declaration of faith, prayer, charity, fasting, pilgrimage to Mecca
  • Monotheistic (a belief in one God, Allah)
  • Holy city is Mecca, Saudia Arabia
  • Holy book is the Qur’an (Koran)
  • Followers worship in mosques; their spiritual leaders are called imams.

Write an informational paragraph about this widespread religion.

After eleven years outside Mecca, Muhammad, Islam’s founder, experienced an Ascension, in which he journeyed to heaven.

After praying, Muhammad was approached by the angel Gabriel. They mounted a winged steed called the buraq and traveled to Jerusalem, where the spirits of many prophets appeared. Muhammad led them in prayer. Then he remounted the buraq and ascended with Gabriel to heaven.

Muhammad said that heaven was difficult to describe. He said it was a combination of lights and sounds and flowing energy.

What does the word heaven mean to you? What do you imagine heaven looks like?

During Muhammad’s Night Journey to heaven, he was led into the presence of Allah. Allah said that Muslims were to pray fifty times each day.

On Muhammad’s way back to Earth, he met with Moses, who asked, “What has Allah told your followers to do?”

Muhammad answered that Allah wanted the faithful to pray fifty times a day. Moses urged Muhammad to return to Allah and ask Him to reduce the number of prayers, as Muhammad’s followers would not be able to pray that many times.

So Muhammad went back to Allah, and Allah reduced the number of prayers to forty each day. Moses insisted that this was still too much, and sent Muhammad back to Allah.

This happened several times; each time, Allah reduced the number of prayers, until the requirement stood at five prayers a day. Moses insisted that this was still too much, as he had tried to get people to pray in the past, and they could not accomplish this.

Muhammad replied, “I have already returned to my Lord till I am ashamed. I am satisfied, and I submit.”

What do these events tell you about the prophets and their followers?

We often think of Hinduism as having many gods. However, Hindu beliefs also include the concept of Brahman, the universal spirit. Brahman permeates everything, and everything is part of Brahman. Our souls are part of Brahman and seek to be reunited with him. Brahman is infinite and eternal – and impossible to describe.

Since people think in concrete terms, most find it hard to imagine divinity on this scale, with no form or face. For this reason, some Hindus believe that Brahman is manifested in many different forms, some of which are gods. Since Brahman is in everything, including us, then Brahman is also in the different gods of Hinduism. In the Bhagavad Gita, part of a great Hindu epic, the god Krishna says, “Whatever god a man worships, it is I who answer the prayer.” Thus the thousands of minor gods of Hinduism can be seen as the different faces of the universal spirit Brahman.

Which would you find easier to think about: Brahman as a formless universal spirit that is part of everything, or as a pantheon of different gods?

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