Thursday, February 2, 2012

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Do you think that prayer in a Christian context can be taking a walk in nature?


Sisyphos said...

Well, may I refer back to the discusiion we had last week. I dont want to be notorious but when walking in nature one does not have necessarily propositional content, thus which God would one be referring to. The prayer you are talking about is already defined as Christian in your question. Makes me wonder though, how accesses the mind (?) of God.
But maybe I already know your question since you told me last week the basic components which define a Christian.
I guess you would say then that a necessary condition for a walk in nature to count as a prayer one must already have accessed the Deity before in a propositional way.
I will come back to this later when I have more time.

Greg said...

Thanks. Yes, the Christian God or the God of biblically informed theism. Not sure about access to the mind of God.

Greg said...

Sterling X Field from FB said...
Hmm. I think it is a way to get in touch with the Divine, in a Christian context. A way to better appreciate what Christian's believe the Divine created. Hmm. It's a way to be in communication with the Divine and walk clothed in harmony with the Divine. So, yes I suppose it could be prayer. Never thought of it that way. Love these questions.

Greg said...

Thanks. Excellent thoughts.
Another question: Is any kind of communication with the Divine prayer?

Joe Underwood said...

Well, from my understanding prayer verbal or non-verbal involves not only the mind, but the heart and motive of the of the individual praying.

I do not buy off on prayer being only authentic if verbal, nor do I believe that prayer must always be involve a request or petition. So a walk in nature can be prayer.

Greg said...

Thanks. Interesting insights. If heart, mind, and motive are involved in prayer, why do you think the verbal is not essential to authentic prayer?

Greg said...

Here's my thought. Prayer is a personal, intentional, not exhaustive, live, planned or unplanned, verbal communication with God. This means prayer is very specific and not a general matter. I think there can be many ways be in communion with God, but this would not mean that all these are prayer.

carter said...

Prayer is communication. Looking at your question, Psalm 19 first comes to mind. Many passages in Job as well reflect on the writer's (writers') perception of God via nature. So, yes, it may. That doesn't mean that it will. But consciously allowing God to speak to me, filtered (of course) through scriptural and spiritual experience and context is prayer. Prayer isn't just talking but is also listening.

If my entire conversational relationship with my wife was just to Acknowledge who she is, Confess my sins to her, Thank her for things, and then Supplication(ACTS), I would dry up. We do things together, enjoy each other, experience new things together, talk about stuff. I have made a conscious effort to bring such to my prayer life.

Joe Underwood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Underwood said...


#1 I am a little confused by your usage of communion? I understood communion to carry meaning of communication. So, I checked the etymology of the word. The best I can ascertain, it carries the meaning of communication and comes from either or Middle English or Late Latin. If that is true, then “to commune” is “to communicate.”

#2 I understand prayer to be much more than a simple petitions, i.e. gimmee, gimmee what I want/need. I understand prayer to be a two street. My understanding is that I am able to speak to God and God speaks to me. This is true whether God's speaking is through His Word, His guidance in my thought processes as I make decisions, or any other form of communication He chooses to use.

I can honestly say God has answered my prayers of petition for physical needs, for direction, to gain understanding, for help with both physical and emotional pain, and on and on...yet I have, to the best of my knowledge never a heard God’s speak in an audible spoken voice.

P.S…..and then there was that talking donkey...He is there and He is NOT silent.

Greg said...

Thanks. Really helpful perspectives.

I am wondering if a revelation of God via nature, as you so rightly point out as a biblical theme, is prayer.

"Prayer isn't just talking but is also listening." Excellent insight. I couldn't agree more, but isn't listening a word event - yes, and more, but maybe not less.

We pray to God, not God to us. Doing things together relationally is, as you suggest, crucial to not drying up. Though, I'm not sure that is prayer - it's doing things together and this has an impact on praying.

Greg said...

Thanks for more valuable thoughts.

1) To commune with God, I don't think is prayer. A walk on the beach or in nature or other sorts of activities don't necessarily discount commune/communication with God, but this is not, I suggest, prayer.

2) This is an excellent point. Prayer is about much more than ME and what ME wants. I take God's speaking or guiding in various ways as speaking and guiding, perhaps in response to prayer, or perhaps on his own initiative.

Yes, what a wonder that God sometimes answers prayers. I know he has done so in your life and I rejoice in that. If God is answering prayer, then that is not prayer, it's an answer.

While there may be two way communication in prayer, we pray to God and not he to us.