Prayer: what is the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps a familiar phrase from an ancient prayer or a line from a Psalm. Perhaps you recall gathering with others for morning worship or evening prayers, or you remember those quiet minutes at the beginning of the day when you pause to read and pray for your family and friends. For most of us, prayer is an essential part of our life, or it is a dimension we would like to live more fully.
Very often, the hyperactivity of our days and our minds creates obstacles that keep us from praying well. We may find ourselves saying the words, but we notice that we are not really present; our lips move, but our minds wander. Something within us yearns to simply rest in the presence of God. Silence may not feel like prayer at first, because we are so used to saying words, but silence allows our hurried souls to arrive in the present moment. Silence can help us become more attentive to the still, small voice of God.
For six weeks in January and February, we will offer an opportunity to explore silent prayer in a group. At each gathering, we will begin with a brief teaching, no more than 5-7 minutes, and then we will simply sit for 20 minutes, quietly following our breath as it leads us from busyness to stillness.
Does that sound like something you would like to do? It gets even better. This group is not only an exploration of silent prayer, but also an effort to discover new possibilities for interfaith spirituality, and so it will include Jews and Christians. Rabbi Kliel Rose from the West End Synagogue and Rev. Thomas Kleinert from Vine Street Christian Church developed the format together, and the group meetings will alternate between the synagogue and the church.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rabbi Rose or Rev. Kleinert. The first meeting of the group will be on Wednesday, January 19, at 6:30pm at the West End Synagogue, and meetings will continue for five more weeks (until February 23) on Wednesdays at 6:30pm. The group is free, and there will be no homework. We will sit in chairs, and people of all ages are encouraged to participate.