He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
Jesus' ministry of three years was rhythmed by periods of active work and silent moments of prayer.
'Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.' John 6:52-59
My real daily sustenance, that which sustains a meaningful life, is my morning and evening prayer practice where I consume the day's Gospel and consent to God's presence and action in me through sweet, silent prayer. What happens between these sacred daily book marks, the days of my life, wholly depends upon this feast at the banquet of love. The Church of Conscious Harmony
Everyday at 21.00/9.00 p.m. (in Finland) if it suits you, you have an opportunity to join a prayer in spirit, even just for five minutes: Then at least someone is always praying with you! Spirit knows no distance..."The wind blows wherever it pleases"...(John 3:8 - "wind" as spirit, pneuma in Greek) People "from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2) are reached and touched through the Spirit.
Webmaster Marko before his home altar.
The Second best thing is to have your personal Prayers at 9 p.m. your local time in order to tune with us (it's not always exact, more like ninish!). And the main thing of course is to pray daily anyway (be sure to hold us in your prayers as well)!
As internet unites us externally, we are weaving inner-net between one another in Spirit!
The Net has been cast.
David Hayward a.k.a. nakedpastor; permission to use for non-profit purposes.
Lord, you said that when two or three
would gather together in your name,
then you would be present with them.
I am praying by myself (or ‘on the Internet’)
but I am uniting myself
with many individuals
throughout the world
who, though separate,
are gathered together in another sense
to pray to you,
and I trust that you are with me now.
The Lord's Prayer is the Perfect Prayer: It includes ALL children of Our Father - whole praying Community of brothers and sisters in Christ - as One Truly Common factor of Christianity. It is a compact formula containing everything necessary - no more, no less: all current needs of humanity as well as our future hopes. Jesus Christ is praying for us, with us, within us, and He teaches us how to pray.
This is His Prayer He invited us to pray with Him. God is our Father because the Son baceme one of us. Christ is in every phrase of the Prayer. For more information, see CHAPEL: "The Lord's Prayer: Biblical References", and "Lord's Prayer Versions".
OR THE YOGA OF THE CHRISTOS
”Puja” is defined in dictionary: Sanskrit, ”adoration, homage”; in Hinduism or Buddhism, the ritual daily devotion involving offering of food and drink and prayers to a deity. ”Yeshu” is Hebrew and Araimaic name for Jesus. ”Yoga” is generic term for the physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Sanskrit word means ”yoke”, and thus "to join", "to unite", or "to attach" are additional meanings derived from it. It reminds us of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30:
”Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
We may also remember that word ”religion” comes from latin re+ligare, "to reconnect," that is, to reconnect man with his divine origin. So, yoga and religion in this sense are the same thing. Christos is Greek for Christ, but more accurately it may refer to mystical Christ within.
I admit I didn't come up with this name by myself, but it reflects very well my daily practice, and its content is my original creation, of course consisting of various existing materials, like Psalms. Even if it comes mostly from Christian context, it is very universal in nature, and recognizes the harmonious Spirit between East and West – as visibly present on my altar in the form of two decorative candles (merely symbolic, never to be burnt): lotus and rose.
I celebrate my puja every night at 9 p.m., and have done it for more than ten years now. Current version lasts nearly an hour. Henry Nouwen tells about his meeting with Mother Teresa - how he was explaining to her all his problems, and when he finally shut up, Mother Teresa was looking at him quietly and said, "if you spend an hour per day worshipping your Lord, and never do anything you know is wrong... then you have nothing to worry about!" This answer came to Henry from above, from God's direction, like a lightning in the dark!
I offer you this form not as final and complete order of service to follow, but as suggestion and model to create your own – if the idea speaks to you at all. The point is, this puja is meaningful to me as it reflects my spirituality, and it may be meaningful to you if you make it your own.
Communion is the latest part I've included. For long time I thought it occures in Spirit anyway; first completing in everyday life the weekly sacramental Communion I had at Church; then I didn't go to Church anymore and thought this Spiritual Communion is enough. I receive the supersubstantial Bread of Mystical Communion; I become the Chalice for the presence of Christ.
Yet I crossed the last psychological barrier and started to experiment with material elements of bread and wine. I'm sure it works just fine in Spirit too, but it's easier to accomplish same results with concrete elements, and I think effect is deeper, to the body and blood – literally; not in mind only. As to the Real Presence of Christ, I do believe in it, but details don't matter to me – it's pure speculation.
I have lost my faith in the Church as visible institution on earth. Community is more than just people belonging to same organization, or gathering in same building. We are the Church! ”Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Mt.18:20) This is what the plurality of the Lord's Prayer is for; there are two or three together – maybe not in the same place, though.
I don't need mediators between myself and God. I believe time demands that Priesthood is opening for ordinary people and working in their daily life; Communion is liberated from institutional forms and is no longer privilege of professionals of religion alone. Jesus did not found the Church, he gave the power back to people. Early Christians worshipped in private homes, like Jewish Sabbath and major festivals are still celebrated among the family.
I don't really believe in Apostolic Succession; I seriously doubt such a lineage could have remained intact to this day. It is not a magical guarantee for anything. True spiritual succession comes directly from Christ in eternal now: He is the only Initiator, our High Priest according to the Order of Melchizedek. We can not look back, the Spirit is moving forward, and eternity is always now. Also, the Sacrament itself is carrying the spiritual power its performer is utilizing and distributing.
I'm not saying Church is useless; it's not, as long as there are those who need it. Humanity as a whole is never at the same level of spiritual evolution. ”But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (Jh.4:29) Future is here: it's not for everyone at once, but it's unfolding gradually for individuals, one by one. This is the Second Coming of Christ.
Bible quotes are taken from New King James Version.
Usually alone, I speak aloud only a couple of parts in the beginning and in the end, and repeat other parts in my mind. It's important to say, to think, and to do everything mindfully, not just routinely.
I wash my hands and drink a glass of water. I take a tray with a cup of grape juice and a cracker on a plate on the altar, covered with white cloth. I put on my prayer shawl.
Here begins the Service:
I enter the altar space bowing my head, palms together, then dip my thumb in holy water, blessed by myself (element of water), making a sign of cross on my forehead, saying to myself,
”Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Ps.51:7)
I light the altar candles saying to myself,
”God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.” (Gen.1:3)
”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (Jh.1:1-5)
I reach out my arms and stand in a shape of cross, taking three deep breaths (element of air), thinking,
”Christ in me, the hope of glory.” (Col.1:27)
Now I kneel down and kiss a flat stone on my altar (element of earth), sitting on my meditation stool, I touch a candle flame (element of fire) with finger tips, making a sign of cross; I ring the bell three times and light a charcoal in a censer, saying to myself,
”Angel... came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints.” (Rev.8:3)
”Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
'Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.'” (Isaiah 6:6-7)
I cross my arms over my chest, saying to myself,
”Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” (Ps.19:14)
Next I raise my hands pleadingly:
”Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” (Ps.141:2)
I lay my hands on my lap, saying to myself,
”Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” (Ps.100)
”For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” (Ps.36:9)
Here I take a refuge in Buddhist manner but in adapted words – this time preferably loud:
”I take refuge in Christ, I take refuge in teachings of Christ, I take refuge in Community of Christ.”
This is my Creed.
A song may be sung; I prefer the Cloud Colored Christ by Paramhansa Yogananda – it's simple and easy to learn. You can chant the verses as many times as you wish.
Padre Pio's Prayer to the Guardian Angel:
Angel of God,
to whom the goodness
of the Heavenly Father entrusts me.
protect and guide me
now and for ever.
Now, prayer of the day and of season may be read; I use Meditative Prayers for Today by Adam Bittleston. After that, practice of Lectio Divina using the Scripture, or gnostic gospels, or sacred texts of other Faiths could take place.
Putting incense on charcoal, I silently say a prayer of John Tauler:
”May Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, help us to make the right use of all the myrrh that God sends us, and to offer up to Him the true incense of devout hearts.”
With two fingers I draw a triangle cross in the air, in rising smoke.
Now it's time for intercession for global issues – unity, peace, justice, equality, tolerance, ecological conversion of mankind, Mother Earth, suffering animals, oppressed and persecuted LGBT-people – as well as for the loved ones and for those who have requested prayers (I'm a member of The Distant Healing Network); finally cocluding with myself, what I am sorry for, what I am thankful for, what I am dealing with right now and hoping for the future. It is important to pray for our ”enemies” too, as our Lord told us to do, for love will overcome hate, and love is what love does; Prayer is an act of Love. You won't change anyone else, but you will change – your attitude changes.
Prayer of Swami Akhilananda (Bangladesh, 1894-1962):
"May He Who is the Father in Heaven of the Christians, Holy One of the Jews, Allah of the Muslims, Buddha of the Buddhists, Tao of the Chinese, Ahura Mazda of the Zoroastrians and Brahman of the Hindus lead us from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to light, from disease and death to immortality. May the All-Loving Being manifest Himself unto us, and grant us abiding understanding and all-consuming divine love. Peace, Peace. Peace be unto all."
(Note: I use this prayer in this original form, but enlightened reader may notice it contains two discrepancies. However, I did change ”Muhammadans” - which is plainly disrespectful and out of date – to ”Muslims”.)
I take off the white cloth covering the tray. I move the tray in the shape of cross three times in the air, up and down, left to right, as incense smoke is rising, each time ringing the bell with another hand.
Hail Mary (modified):
"Hail Mary, full of grace.
Our Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us, your children,
now and at the hour of our victory."
Prayer of Erasmus of Rotterdam:
"Jesus, the source of all Good, who by suggestion of your Mother, the Virgin, delighted guests by turning water into wine, let us, your servants, get drunk healthily with the new wine of your Spirit, you who live and reign for ever."
Prayer of St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus:
"Jesus, you say to me like you said to the Samaritan woman: ”Give me to drink!” And as I quench your thirst, I feel my own thirst for you growing, and I rejoice: your cup is overflowing! Be praised for your holy wounds and your blessed side wound!"
I raise the plate with a cracker, along with a rising incense, saying silently,
”Blessed are you, the Seed of all creation; for your goodness we have this bread that earth has given and human hands have made, as a symbol of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead.”
Then I raise the cup, saying silently,
”Blessed are you, the Womb of all creation; for your goodness we have this wine, fruit of the Vine and work of human hands, as a symbol of our Lord, Jesus Christ, first fruit of our Salvation, from whom we are the branches.”
I raise both of my hands in blessing gesture, praying this orthodox prayer:
"O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who are everywhere and fill all things; Treasury of Blessings, and Giver of Life - come and abide in us!"
Again hands on my lap, I silently say The Prayer of the Chalise by Frances Nuttall, my favorite. (I use the phrase "Mother-Father God"...)
I take the tray with left hand and hold right hand over the plate, saying silently:
"I AM the Bread of LIFE coming down from heaven.
Take and eat. This is My Body --
the Mystical Body of LIFE -- given for you.
Whoever eats of this Bread has LIFE Eternal.
Do this in remembrance of Me."
Now holding my right hand over the cup, I say silently:
"I AM the Vine and You are the Branches – remain in Me, as I in you.
Take and drink. This Is My Blood --
a sign of My everlasting Promise:
I AM with you always.
LOVE one another, as I LOVE you."
I make a sign of cross over both bread and wine -
"In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."
- and put the tray down.
I put my hands together in prayer, reciting The Lord's Prayer – always in loud voice. I end the prayer chanting, ”AUM – AMEN!”
The Acts of Thomas:
"My Lord and my God and my hope and my confidence and my teacher and my comforter, you taught us to pray thus. See, your prayer I am praying and your will I am accomplishing. Be you with me until the end."
I take the bread and eat it. I take the cup and drink it. I do this as consciously as possible, thinking about Jesus Christ. It is followed by Zazen for 30 minutes.
I prostrate myself three times, forehead touching the floor, in Buddhist manner, saying to myself each time:
”Om Shri Yeshu bhagawate namah!” (”I bow to you, Lord Jesus!”)
After candles are extinquished, I kiss a picture of Christ above my altar.
The End of Service.
Just like my altar represents my own spirituality and may always be changed, so may this ritual be changed any time, especially prayers. As I change, evolve and grow, so does my altar and my puja ritual. Since pictures bellow were taken, some changes have occured - items added and items removed.
My altar has three layers: Highest – the picture of Christ – represents the realm of the Spirit; shelf in the middle represents the Soul; and the low table represents the Body. Also it's possible to consider the prayers in this puja to concern the Father, Communion obviously concerning the Son, and meditation concerning the Holy Spirit.
Silence is the language of the Spirit. In silence everythig that was said and done, becomes reality. The words of the Lord's Prayer are realised (or embodied) in the silence of meditation. The Holy Communion is thoroughly digested. The Book of Revelation pictures the heavenly cult with altar, candles, incense – earthly cult being its image – but later, as events develop further and the seventh seal is broken, it is said, ”there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” (Rev.8:1)
In prayer, we expand outwards, to the space of infinity, and meet the One greater than self and completely the other, being one with all. In meditation, one dives into the abyss of oneself; what riches we may find, it is not bottomless. But, ”The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (Jh.4:14) Both approaches are necessary for balance. It is what Jesus told us to do: ”Watch with me – watch and pray!”
Modern Gnostic Teacher, Samael Aun Weor, whose teachings I do not follow nor recommend - in fact, I disagree with them in many ways, for instance, he spoke against homosexuality - has nevertheless said about the Lord's Prayer and the Eucharist things I can relate to:
Each person can, while alone, pray and persevere in the partaking of the bread and wine.
The most powerful prayer is the Our Father.
The bread and wine should always be placed on a clean and perfumed cloth. The bread and wine can only be brought to the mouth after praying.
Through the bread and wine, billions of Christic atoms, which come to awaken all our Occult Powers, enter our human organism.
You may know this saying: We speak to God in Prayer, God speaks to us in meditation. And as it is sometimes said, we have two ears and one mouth for reason: this is the right proportion for listening and speaking. The presence of Christ is the immediate response to our prayers, and we may perceive Him only in stillness. For Lord is not in the wind, or earthquake, or fire, but He is a still small voice (See 1 Kings 19:11-12).
Sometimes in busy life, I have had a need to shorten this ritual to simpliest form: Zazen, The Lord's Prayer, and Communion.
Zen translation of the Lord's Prayer (by me):
Our Buddha Nature, Christ in us, in our highest consciousness and loving heart.
God's Name can not be spoken; We hallow it in silence, which is the breath of God: I AM one with the ocean of Holiness, vibrating pulse of the Universe.
His Kingdom is the latent spiritual Center which will unfold in us, as we make space for it.
I am one with the Will of God, when I take life as it is; from spirit to matter, from idea to experience.
We receive the Daily Bread – Divine Life - as we are present in this moment, here and now, to the body and blood.
Let the life flow and carry you on, and through you to others.
There is no duality,
Evil is an illusion. We only need to be saved from ourselves.
Triangle cross picture and idea is from The Gnostic Order of Christ; (Read what they say about solitary communion at home!)
Inspiration for Yeshu Puja and the name itself I found here;
The Yoga of the Christos - the name, and few lines are burrowed from this site;
This Puja and Prayer guidebook (in pdf file) first made me see that my daily practice indeed IS Puja!
For more resources and ideas, see also category CHAPEL/Eucharist or the Holy Communion, and Home altar and Incense.