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Thursday
Jan132011

Prayer, social action and change.

Some years ago I wrote an article entitled 'Prayer, compassion and social change: Towards an understanding of prayer and spiritual activity as a praxis transformative of the individual and society'.

It's a mouthful, I know, but then what would the academy be if it is was not at least a little verbose!  ha ha!  The point of the article was to show how prayer and spiritual discipline are critical elements for individual and social transformation.

The following little quote reminded me that article:

Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.  

- Mohandas Gandhi

Here's the abstract for the article:

This paper will argue that prayer and spiritual activity are not only effective means for transformation, but that they form a sound basis for all forms of personal and social transformation.

In order to develop this argument it is essential to start with a brief explanation of an emerging paradigm of reality.  In brief, this paradigm bridges the gap that has been created between creation and redemption.  The new paradigm no longer separates God’s ongoing work of creation from God’s activity of redemption.  Understanding this notion forms an essential basis for investigating how and why prayer, compassion and contemplative activity are effective in bringing about transformation, in both the individual and in society.

This paper will show, that prayer or contemplative activity is an extremely important starting point for embarking on any form of transformation or social change.  It will show that prayer puts one in touch with the source and goal of true transformation.  Along with this, it will be argued that true transformation takes place physically and spiritually (since the two can not be separated).  In the past great emphasis has been placed on mere physical action to bring about social change.  This paper attempts to show that true transformation or social change requires some measure of spiritual activity and awareness in order to bring about meaningful and holistic changes to individuals and societies.

It is in this sense that prayer and spiritual activity act as transformative praxis of self and society.

It was quite an interesting article since I attempted to bring together elements of traditional spirituality (with a focus upon the discipline of prayer and Christian meditation) and tie it in with elements of quantum theory, consciousness studies, some sociology and integrative theory.

I'd love to hear your thoughts (if you do read it!)  I have long since progressed to more subtle and intricate understandings of Wilber's thoughts on holarchy (of course Wilber has published a great deal in the past few years on this subject).

You can download the paper here.

Reader Comments (4)

Hi
I read your blog and found it very informative and helpful to me .Thanks for such an effort

January 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterernie

Hi Ernie,

Thanks for the kind affirmation, and for your comment. It is interaction that makes blogging worthwhile.

Please do check back from time to time.

Rich blessing,

Dion

January 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterDr Dion Forster

Good article,...just tell me who still uses words like "verbose" are you reading the Old King James Version again? ....I am doing some serious research on prayer myself, as a means of communion with God and not as a means in itself. I think to use it just as a means of spiritual activity rather defeats the point.

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSimon Thomas

Thanks Simon!

You know what, you're right! Prayer is first and foremost about communion with God. On Sunday evening the young guy leading worship in Church had a song - I think one line in the song was that we should seek 'God's face not only His hand'.

Rich blessing,

Dion

January 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDion Forster

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