May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Medieval Prayer, Reading, and Modern Times

We’re focused on ourselves and have been since the dawn of people. This is both a political and religious observation. The religious part of this is shown by an analysis of medieval books. Most books then were religious, and a device called a densitometer measures dirt density on pages; more dirt, more usage. The process was designed and developed by Scotland’s School of Art History at St Andrews, Professor Dr Kathryn Rudy.

The process shows people were terrified of illness, and prayers for protection and healing were used a lot. Prayers for salvation for others were used much less than prayers for self. Full article here.

I wonder if the same is happening now. Have we improved on that? I look at all the work Christians do helping others. The hundreds of $millions tithed and charities contributed to every year; shelters, food banks, missionary outreach that takes care of material as well as spiritual needs of people. Our prayers, though, still focus primarily on our own needs. Usually when we pray, it’s to meet our own needs. We need to train ourselves to pray to include others. Jesus knew this, which is why he gave us His prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, to guide us. This leads to the ACTS prayer formula - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Adoration, we praise God. Confession, we acknowledge our sins. Thanksgiving, we show gratitude. Supplication, we ask for ourselves. I had to train and discipline myself to go beyond even that, because there’s so much more to prayer.  

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.  [Adoration]
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. [Confession]
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. [Supplication]
For thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. [Thanksgiving]

A brief note on the political and self. No matter how many rules, regulations and laws governments pass, people look to their own needs first. Democracy and capitalism allows for this idea, knowing that by taking care of self, family, friends, and community, the greater good for all people are served. Marxism, socialism, communism, fascism, Nazism, all demand, upon penalty of death and imprisonment, that the government is first, beyond self, and it will decide what needs are to be met, and in what quantity. All must be done for the State. Of course the people at the top of government and those that choose to be subservient to them make sure their selfish needs are met first before addressing the needs of the citizens.

They deny citizens the ability of acting for Self, so they can meet their own needs. This runs against human nature, natural law, and is why centralized governments always fail, and have to murder and imprison people to survive and stay in power.

We pray for less selfish prayer, less selfish, self serving government, politicians that believe in the Scripturally based Constitution. We pray that we look to ourselves to determine how we, regular people, can serve each other, and not a centralized government. By serving each other we serve God, and that is what our government needs to be about.  

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