Thursday, March 19, 2009

On Prayer: New Ways

The prayer techniques that I have written about so far this week have been ones used for centuries. Yet, with the continuing advancement of technology, specifically the internet and personal music players, new ways of prayer are opening up before us.  

One of the ways that has been promoted are guided meditations through podcasts. The British Jesuits, for example, run an excellent website that you may have heard of, Especially for younger people in which we have pretty much grown up being technologically savvy, I think it is important to explore these new ways. I use this podcast quite frequently, as it offers a guided reflection on one of the readings of the day. It is probably one of the best online resources I know. You can easily subscribe to the podcast through applications like iTunes.  

The Irish Jesuits also run a good website called Sacred Space.  Some may be turned off by praying in front of your computer, but it may be helpful to you.  If you are to pray with your computer, I think this is as good as any.  There's even a new website that helps you to pray your examen online if that suits your style (which just came online the same day I posted about the examen). 

Of course, there are the iPods that are becoming increasingly prolific. Pretty much everyday now, I see someone with the market iPod headphones on (see picture). 

Now, you probably have your own opinion about them, but I personally have used my iPod quite a bit not only for my own personal prayer but also for communal prayer. Of course, in order to pray with your iPod, you should actually have songs on it that are conducive to your prayer. I have my own prayer playlists that I use.  

I'm sure there is plenty more out there. The web is full of good (and not-so-good) material out there. If your lives are as deeply entrenched in technology as my life is, then I think it's good to have technological outlets for prayer as well.  

This is the age we are entering. Clearly, I do not think the "old ways" of praying are obsolete.  If anything, I find them more relevant than ever. Yet, new ways are emerging that I think can only enrich us. Let us be open to these new movements.  

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