Monday, September 19, 2016

Sacred Pathways: How to Observe Your Quiet Times

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you" Matt. 6:6

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

In my early faith and my idealistic church, emphasis was placed on prayer and worship. However, because the leadership prayed one way, we were encouraged to find God in the same manner.

Regular readers of this blog understand my reaction to this: 
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Thumbs down icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just as God has given us different personalities, there are different ways we, "go into (our) room to pray."

In his book Sacred PathwaysAuthor Gary Thomas contends we each find God best according to the unique personality God gave us.

Photo of an Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae...
Fritillary Butterfly
For me, God manifests Himself while I'm walking, I'll note a goldfinch or the light hitting a cumulus cloud or a fritillary butterfly--found only in a few states around Tennessee. Upon seeing this, my soul soars, and I know God has shined His love on me.

How do you find God?

Here are the nine common pathways Thomas points out:

  1.  Naturalists: We find God best while interacting with His creation.
  2. Sensates: We need to use all our senses--sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing
  3. Traditionalist: (Here my idealistic church would groan) We find God in liturgy and tradition.
  4. Ascetics: Solitude and a simple life makes God's touch palpable. Think of John Michael Talbot  who became a Catholic monk and recorded beautiful music in the 80s.
  5. Activists: God is found in fighting for justice--just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had.
  6. Caregivers: Like Mother Teresa, we find God in meeting other's needs.
  7. Enthusiasts: My idealistic church loved this. God had  to be celebrated in dance and shouts of victory or abundant weeping at the altar.
  8. Contemplatives: These are those who go into their closet and pray. It's that quiet, silent, traditional prayer.
  9. Intellectuals: These people find God in the sermons and Bible studies and actively pursuing him rationally. I see C.S. Lewis in this category

What Is Your Sacred Pathway?

Don't let anyone cow you into one mold. Each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made. Being unique, we each display a facet of God others cannot see.

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