Thursday, November 28, 2013

Amen to Prayer Month!

© 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved
Sending up our prayers

Thanksgiving Day: This post is a thank-you and early wrap-up of our prayer time together this month and a halleluiah to recognize how important prayer remains to most people on life’s journey.

November has been one of the highest trafficked months ever on The Radical Virgo. While this is partly because there have been more posts than usual, there has also been a marked increase in the times each post has been viewed. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see your positive response to sharing some of my favorite prayers. My conclusion in seeing this uptick: Readers still pray and we apparently still want to and need to.

In 2007 the Pew Institute did a survey on Major Religious Traditions in the USA. I suspect the trends reported, now based on people’s responses more than six years ago, are even more solid by now.

The US Religion Survey found, among other things, that the largest increase in religious identity was in the unaffiliated group. Spiritual freelancers are greatly increasing.

People moving to the category of no religion in particular outnumbered those moving from groups affiliated with a particular religion by a margin of three-to-one. There are many other facts in the survey that confirm what many of us probably have sensed but did not have the hard data to support until this study. Other facts: Catholicism is losing “market share” the most rapidly. (I suspect the positive influence of the more liberal Pope Francis may shift that trend, at least somewhat.) While still predominantly Christian, a major shift is definitely happening in American religion and spirituality. If you’re as fascinated with these changes as I am, I encourage you to click onto the survey summary above, a well-written synthesis of the results.

My husband and I attended a wonderful interactive play in Sacramento a few years ago called Late Nite Catechism. With a tagline like Time to laugh your sins off, what’s not to love? If you click on the link, you’ll learn more about this delightful show also described as “ … Loretta Young meets Carol Burnett … part catechism class, part stand-up routine. It’s an interactive comedy, one of the longest running shows in Chicago and U.S. theater history.”

During its Sacramento road trip, Late Nite’s “Mother Superior” quizzed the audience about our religion. One woman—she could have been me—said she practiced no set religion but was very spiritual. Of course, Sister had a few words to say about that! Still, this is apparently truer and truer of many people.

Many of us, though, have resisted throwing out the baby with the holy water when it comes to our spiritual practices. Prayer is apparently alive and well, even among those not affiliated with a religion. Mythical Chiron, the informal patron saint of this blog, teaches us about the best of both worlds found in composites. He was a centaur, a composite being. We are composite beings as spirits in bodies. I have apparently absorbed this lesson well, as I have been co-leading for two-and-a-half decades a women’s group, celebrating the solstices and equinoxes. We use prayer and practices from a potpourri of traditions. It’s amazing how this crazy quilt of mixed spirituality makes such a soul satisfying tapestry. The Solsisters are celebrating our 25th anniversary this Winter Solstice. I’ll be writing more about that next month, and how you, too, can create your own circle for celebrating eclectic spirituality.

This brings me to want to share a few final thoughts that are not only good conclusions to Prayer and Gratitude Month. They also feel like guiding lights to bring with us into the winter holiday season and whatever holidays you celebrate. Here’s the first:

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.

~ A Native American concept

What I love about this idea? It’s epitomizes belief in the flow of prosperity. We are not only loved by God/Goddess/All That Is—the Universe—however you see Him/Her/It. We are constantly, continuously blessed. As we see it and declare it, we make it so. When we feel out of the flow, it’s only because we have yet to see the bigger picture. Some of my greatest “losses” have been major blessings in disguise whose true nature had just not yet been revealed.

Lastly, and even though I have shared this quote many times before, it’s worth repeating as the simplest and most profound prayer we can utter:

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.

~ Meister Eckhart, German Philosopher

Blessings on the cusp of the Season of Love and Light. Thank you for coming together here. Every convergence of minds and hearts is a form of communion.


Photo Credit: Pink Party Poster© ThomasAmby

Author’s Note: Did you notice how close the photo for this post is to the background of my novel, The Crystal Ball? On the book background, there are people making peace signs, the International Sign Language gesture for “I love you,” and one obvious Trekkie prominent with the hand signal for “live long and prosper.” Each of these, in its own way, is also a prayer. It’s amazing what I discover my subconscious has delivered to me from odd places, even from my choice of graphics.

The Most Popular Prayers This Month So Far

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