Heart of Berlin

Inspirations from Kerstin Hack

Kategorie: Church

How I pray – my pattern for prayer

A dear friend recently told me, that she finds ist hard to sit and pray. And asked me: „How do you pray?“

I told her that I usually do not sit when I pray. I generally do not like to sit – I built myself a standing desk and a walking desk (a treadmill with a laptop stand) because sitting for a long time is not good for your body. The body is not made for sitting long term – not even in prayer.

Prayer postures

Most religious traditions honor that. So body posture for prayer includes

  • lying (I like that)
  • kneeling
  • standing – often with hands lifted up
  • dancing
  • walking

I like talking to God when I walk – it comes very natural to me.

Labyrinths as Prayer tools

As I do not have the time to go to a park every morning two artistic friends, Elizabeth and Scott, created a labyrinth on the roof of my ship for me. Especially in the middle ages Labyrinths were popular as a framework to hold your steps and your mind while you prayed. Some of them – for example the one in the Chartres Cathedral are really big – and it takes about one hour to reach the center.  I have a pinterest collection of Labyrinths.

My labyrinth is a bit smaller – but what I love about it is that it holds me and my steps, leads me to the center – marked by a heart and then from there back „to the world“. I can do a quick run through the labyrinth in a few minutes or take my time and very slowly walk and pray.

What I love about it is that et every turn the scenery changes. I see water on one side, factories on the other,. In some positions the sun shines in my face, in others she warms my back (providing she is there -after all i live in Germany). This change of scenery often inspires my prayers. So one time as I was praying about a woman who intensely requested something from me I did not want to give, I saw a buoy – it reminded me of my right and obligation to set healthy boundaries.

So – how do I pray

As mentioned I love to chat. But at times I do enjoy a more structured approach. This is how I pray then.

  • Connection:  Our father in Heaven

All prayer is a means for connection. So I remind myself that I am a daughter of a good heavenly father. IF the sun is out I give myself some moments or minutes to simply feel the sunshine on my face as a touch of his love. I also take time to think about his attributes and reflect and comment on them and express how they affect and touch me.

  • Thankfulness: Hallowed be your name

I take time to express my thankfulness. When my brain is still tired in the morning often the same things come to mind: Security (no war), Health, provision. To be a bit more diverse  it helps me to think about thankfulness in different categories: What am I thankful for in my Job, in my friendships, in my last experiences?

  • Learning to forgive Forgiveness:  Forgive our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us.

Forgiveness has so many shades and aspects that I wrote a whole training manual about it: Learning to forgive. n(also available as ebook) In my mornings I often ask the Lord to show me if there is someone I need to forgive. Sometimes it is someone else, but very often that someone is myself. To make forgiveness more tangible I imagine myself standing in front of the person  looking that person (or myself) in the eye and say: „I forgive you!“ As usually there is some accusation and anger involved (who is without sin) I also imagine asking for forgiveness from them and father God. And  also receiving His forgiveness as a gift. I love it that the word give is included in the word forgiveness.

  • Long-Term  Perspective: Your kingdom come!

This part can include prayers for the world, political and social situation, but very often I focus on how I would like to be available for God to be used to bring his kingdom. I think and communicate about the person he would like me to become in the long run to advance his blessing on the earth.  Here I also find it helpful not to take the whole package, but think about different aspects each day: My character. my relationships, my business.  I try to catch a glimpse of the picture of what he wants me to become in these areas and pray into it.

  • Short-term  Perspective: Your kingdom come…today!

Here I break the big picture into what it means for today. I run through the schedule of my day and think of the best, most god-honoring and life-filled way to go through this particular day. In my mind I imagine myself working with focus, envision myself meeting people in real life or on the phone with attention etc.

  • Asking for help and reminding myself of his strength:  Give us this day our daily bread … lead us not into temptation… deliver us… yours is the kingdom and the Glory…

Feeling and expressing my need for help and company. He is so good. And he is with my.

As you have probably noted much of my prayer practice follows the Lord prayer.

I personally like to put in then thankfulness right at the beginning and the forgiveness earlier in the prayer – then the „ugly stuff“ is dealt with. But following it in the way Jesus taught it of course is the original.

God and us – Ave Maria, Ave Kerstin, Ave Michael….

In the last days two friends shared thoughts that moved me. Matthias shared a quote from Richard Rohr:

Reflection from Richard Rohr:

When God gives of God’s self, one of two things happens: either flesh is inspirited or spirit is enfleshed. It is really very clear. I am somewhat amazed that more have not recognized this simple pattern: God’s will is incarnation. And against all of our godly expectations, it appears that for God, matter really matters. God, who is Spirit, chose to materialize! We call it the Christ Mystery.

This Creator of ours is patiently determined to put matter and spirit together, almost as if the one were not complete without the other. This Lord of life seems to desire a perfect, but free, unification between body and soul. So much so, in fact, that God appears to be willing to wait for the creatures to will and choose this unity for themselves—or it does not fully happen. Our yes really matters, just like Mary’s did.

Adapted from Near Occasions of Grace, p. 5

Another friend of mine recently attended a protestant church service where an „Ave Maria“ was sung. At first she thought „That is strange – we are no catholics“…Then she realized…God is praising the YES of a human being, Maria. The the YES to partner with HIS will, the Yes to HIM manifesting His will and plans in their lives. Without her he could not have made his plan manifest in this time and place. God and (wo)man working together.
This made me wonder if God and the angels sometimes – when I make the right choices and say YES to his will in my life also sing an „Ave Kerstin for me: “ „Well done, Kerstin – as you say YES I can fulfill my will through you.“ I guess they do.

The Gallup study

Church placed 4th in Gallup studyThe Gallup organisation conducted a study of which institutions are most trusted in 47 nations, interviewing 36,000 people on all continents. The study was paid for by the World Economic Forum, which traditionally meets in Davos, Switzerland, in January. The report reveals that Germans trust the Police and Army most, and that the Church is in a crisis, landing last among the 17 major institutions.
On Monday, the Berlin daily newspaper 'Die Welt' reported that 86% of Germans trust the Police, 70% the Army, and only 39% the Church. Globally, the Church ranks fourth, with 57%. The figures for the respective national educational system vary greatly; in Germany, it ranks fifth from last with 50% following the recent PISA study, which revealed major defecits, but internationally, it ranks first with 62%.

The Zeit newspaper commented o

n the economy that seems to be stuck in Germany: „´The area of reform in Germany is like a field of mushrooms – as soon as you pop up your head it gets chopped off!“

It is one of my biggest desires to see people who know God and trust him get active in the area of social, ecconomic and spiritual transformation of our land.

One guy who did it is Joerg Knoblauch – Dawn Friday Fax reports on him:
„Germany: Christian businessman receives award
One of the most prestigious German business awards was awarded to extraordinary Evangelical businessman Professor Joerg Knoblauch in Frankfurt's St. Paul's
Church on November 11th 2002. The Ludwig Erhard Prize is awarded by the German Society for Quality for 'Excellence in Competition'. Knoblauch owns the
companies Tempus (time planning systems), drilbox (cases) and DISG (personality profiling).

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A tragic situation

The Lutheran church in Berlin and the surrounding area Brandenburg has more full time staff (pastors, administrators, counselling people etc.) than people who attend their Sunday services. They of course have a n

umber of passive members who always pay, but never come. But nevertheless this is a tragic situation. Guess Berlin needs a lot of new, vibrant places of worship, but also a renewal and revive of the existing ones.

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