Friday, November 29, 2013

A Deeply Conscious Prayer Life That Is Not Passive (PrayerLife)

Spiritual Formation class - Payne Theological Seminary (July 2010)
I'm reading Forged In the Fiery Furnace: African American Spirituality, by Georgetown University professor Diana Hayes. I am privileged to teach Spiritual Formation at Payne Theological Seminary, and part of my personal project is to continue to grow in understanding the African American spiritual context. (My next M.Div. class on Spiritual Formation is Jan. 7-9. 2014. See the seminary website if you're interested.)

Hayes writes about the multivariegated fabric of African American spirituality. This includes a deep-river heritage of prayer and praying. She states:

[African American spirituality] "is a contemplative, holistic, joyful, and communitarian spirituality. This means that it is expressed in prayer through a deeply conscious prayer life that is not passive. Unlike in the Western tradition, there is no separation between the sacred and secular worlds; instead, they are interwoven and lived as one holistic way of being in the world." 
- Diana L. Hayes, Forged in the Fiery Furnace:  African American Spirituality, Kindle Locations 175-178

I love that phrase - "a deeply conscious prayer life that is not passive." A prayer life that is preconscious, prethematic, intuitive and intentional and active.

How does this get into a person? The only answer is: by actually praying.