Prayer course syllabus


Below appears the syllabus for the course on prayer that I’m teaching at my church.  Today we completed Week 2.

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Effective Prayer

DESCRIPTION

Many people long to love and serve God — whatever that means — in ways more meaningful than mere ritual practices. This course will teach ways to focus one’s altruism so as to attain greater harmony within oneself and in one’s relationships. Anticipated outcomes:

– improved self-acceptance
– improved functionality
– improved employability
– improved ability to set goals
– improved ability to work toward goals
– enhanced sense of personal efficacy
– intrapersonal coherence (integrity, “faith”)
– enhanced affect management
– greater harmony in relationships
– It just plain feels good.

The course will treat all religions as equally valid.  Students are likely to hear prayers to “Allah,” “Jesus,” “Vishnu,” etc.  There will be no effort to promote any one belief system over any other.  It is suggested that students take the meditation course, “Mindfulness for Healing,” first.

BIO

William Tell, “The Homeless Blogger,” lives in Baltimore.

COURSE OUTLINE

Week 1

– Topic:  Tolerance and intolerance:  Students will discuss their willingness to engage in interfaith prayer.
– Text:  “Prayer Primer,” by William Tell
How do people become “lights” to this world?
– Text:  “Your Heart’s Desire,,” by Emmett Fox
What’s at stake in choosing one’s affects (feelings, emotions) intentionally?
– Homework:  Watch for moments when you can choose your feelings.

Week 2

– Text: “The Way of Peace,” by William Tell
Introduction to meditation, the principal tool for learning to choose one’s affects.
– Text: “Essay on Prayer,” by Ambrose Worrall
“Every thought is a prayer.”  What does this mean?
– Homework:  Establish a regular daily time for study and prayer.

Week 3

– Text: “Meditation and Contemplation,” by Ambrose Worrall
What are meditation and contemplation?  How are they different?
– Text: “Silentium Altum (Deep Silence),” by Ambrose Worrall
What is the use of “deep silence” (contemplation)?  What can one expect from that state?
– Discussion:  Pros and cons of organized religion
– Homework:  Seek to love people you don’t like.

Week 4

– Text: “Un[b]locking the Spirit,” by William Tell
Why should one pray for oneself first, before praying for others?
– Text: “When prayer backfires,” by William Tell
What are some common mistakes and misconceptions about prayer?
– Homework:  Practice bathing people in light.

Week 5

– Text: “From my diary: Learning to pray,” by William Tell
What is “doubt?” How can one overcome it?
– Homework:  Seek to become “heart and soul” as to your heart’s desire.

Week 6

– First session: Topics: Housekeeping; Trash day; Prayer in spirit
Exercises for “cleaning up” one’s emotional context, and praying for another person in   words.
– Second session: Topics: Prayer for enemies; Dealing with haters; Following guidance
Exercises in prayer for enemies, prayer about saboteurs, and obtaining guidance in intercession.
– Homework:  Practice following guidance in prayer.

Week 7

– Text: “Philosophy and Methodology of Spiritual Healing,” by Ambrose Worrall
An in-depth examination of the methods and processes of practical prayer, from the perspective of the 20th century’s foremost American expert in the field
Homework:  TBD

Week 8

– Topic: Prayer with the laying on of hands
Students who are interested in, and willing to participate in, the laying on of hands, will learn and practice it.
– Homework:  Let your light shine!

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