Posts Tagged prayer

How Praying the Lord’s Prayer at St Paul’s Cathedral Changed My Life – Christian Today

Mitch Carnell 18 May 2016

It was the last day of our honeymoon and we were headed for St Paul’s Cathedral.

As Rev Tom Guerry said at our wedding, “Carol and Mitch have loved before.” Carol had survived a terrible divorce after 20 years of marriage and my Liz had died suddenly of a brain aneurism after 32 years of marriage. Neither of us had expected to find love again.

Although St Paul’s was crowded, we managed to get inside. What a breathtaking, soul-stretching, holy place! We were simply overwhelmed by its beauty.

Neither of us had ever experienced anything that came remotely close to this. Every nerve in my body tingled with the sheer grandeur of it all. All of the guidebooks put together could not prepare you for this. How could one possibly digest it all?

As magnificent as the cathedral is, and as elated as I was to be there, my real epiphany was yet to come.

At 11 am, the public address system came on. The priest introduced himself and then said, “At this time each day we pause and say together the ‘Our Father’ prayer.”

Then the most unbelievable thing happened. Voices belonging to people from around the world, of every language, of every colour and hue, every nationality, disabled and whole, male and female, child and adult, gay and straight, prayed aloud together, “Our Father”.

For the first time in my 65 years the full meaning of the opening words caressed my soul in a way I had never experienced before. Here in this ancient house of worship, in this ancient city with my new bride, the true meaning of “Our Father” coursed through my veins. I was awestruck. There was no turning back. It was the beginning of a new understanding of my journey of faith.

I could hardly contain the sensation of oneness in God that engulfed my entire being. I knew that my understanding of God had taken a quantum leap. “Our” took on a meaning far greater, far more profound than its three characters would signify. This must be what St Paul had felt on the road to Damascus.

As I struggled to comprehend this unexpected revelation and gain some perspective, my thoughts drifted back to my childhood. Incidents and experiences that had remained separate and unexplored for their meanings for all of these years began to come together and a pattern began to emerge.

Two years later I discovered a prayer by Pam Kidd in Daily Guideposts 2001 that expresses the same phenomenon: “Dear God, in my scariest moments, you point me to the place where, in your time, You fit the pieces of my life together into a perfect whole. Thank You.”

The pieces of my life were slowly coming together. I understood that my revelation at St Paul’s was not the result of an isolated incident but had been a lifetime in the making.

I have been in church all of my life and had become a Christian at 11 years old. I have prayed the Lord’s Prayer hundreds of times, but never had I been so captivated by that little word, “our”.

St Paul’s Cathedral is light years away from the small textile mill village church in South Carolina, USA, where I grew up during the days of racial segregation, but that church too played a major role in my understanding of who God is and who is in his family. Our Father: Discovering Family, is an unfolding of my spiritual journey. The process of reflection and writing it led me to a far richer discovery than I had imagined at the outset. 

Our Father: Discovering Family is available from the publisher www.wipfandstock.com, Barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com in either paperback or ebook

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Our Father: Discovering Family – Review by Pat Ezell

Our Father – Discovering Family, written by Dr. Mitch Carnell began with a moving experience in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. He and his wife, Carol, stood in that magnificent place one morning and prayed along with people, as he points out,  “from around the world; of every race, creed, religion, nationality, male, female, child, adult, gay and straight” the “Our Father” prayer, or as we may know it, “The Lord’s Prayer.”  In that place at that time Mitch gained a new and deeper understanding of what “Our” really means which he shares throughout his book.  Mitch’s experience in St. Paul’s Cathedral reminds one of the event involving a large group of first century Christians when the Holy Spirit came upon them. There were people from every nation and tribe in that part of the world; all speaking their native language, but all saying the same thing. (Acts 2:11-2)  

Our Father – Discovering Family  is the story of Mitch Carnell’ physical and spiritual journey in which he discovers family, God’s family. It is a journey that began in a small mill-town in up-state South Carolina and took him to a position as Director of the Speech and Hearing Center in Charleston, South Carolina.  Brought up in a Christian home with Christian parents he is open and honest as he discloses personal triumphs and heartaches and the lessons learned from them. His wit, sense of humor, intellect, and insight are revealed as he shares some of the challenges of having very poor eyesight and lighter than average skin color.  His faith and total trust and belief in The God of Creation is evident in the way he tackles reality following the deaths of his father, mother and first wife Liz, in a period of less than two and a half years. Through the mountains and valleys of his journey Mitch shares how God continues to reveal himself through day to day events.

 Our Father – Discovering Family is a book that challenges our sometimes narrow view of how God works in our lives and how potential stumbling blocks can become stepping stones.  The book is a reminder that we pray “Our Father,” not  “My Father,” and that “Our Father” is Father to everyone he created no matter what the differences. 

In his book Dr. Mitch Carnell provides a stimulus to continue to seek God’s plan for our lives regardless of the season. To see God in the ordinary and not so ordinary events of our lives is a challenge presented to readers of this book.

 

            A Review by Patricia B. Ezell

            Associate Dean (retired)

            College of Graduate and Professional Studies

            The Citadel  

 

 

           

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Created To Give – FBC: Regeneration Prayer Devotional Guide

If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving. If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching. Romans 12:7 Common English Bible (CEB)

Abraham Lincoln said, “If there is anything a man can do well, then I say let him do it.” I am awed by the gifts of the members of this congregation: singing, teaching, business, gardening, inspiring, leading, cooking, mentoring, comforting, welcoming, counseling, planning, networking, giving and numerous others.

I am equally inspired by the willingness of the members to share their God endowed gifts for the advancement of God’s work on earth. It is only when Christians are engaged that the church moves forward. Whatever gifts God invested in each of us are intended to be used for the betterment of all.

Dear Creator God, help me to understand that you created each of us as important instruments for good in your plan. Amen.  Mitch Carnell

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Prayers for President Jimmy Carter by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush – Day 1

August 14, 2015

Jimmy Carter is no stranger to cancer. In his remarkable book A Full Life: Reflections at 90 he writes of how he lost his father and two siblings to pancreatic cancer, all before they reached 60.

Now the 39th president of the United States has revealed that he too has cancer and will undergo treatment in Atlanta. Many of us who have long admired Jimmy Carter have responded with appropriate worry and call for prayer.

Given his faith, I am sure these prayers are appreciated and that the president hopes and even expects to make a full recovery. I had the privilege of interviewing the president just two weeks ago and he hardly sounded like someone who was weary of this life — if only because he told me that each day he grows more in love with Roselyn, his wife of 69 years.

However, perhaps because he has lived such a remarkable life, the president did also not appear to fear death. When I asked him about his own understanding of what happens to us when we die and what constitutes a good death he responded:

Well, I’m a Christian and I share the same faith that we all have that through our faith in Jesus Christ we are given permanent life after we are dead in some form that we don’t comprehend. I think the most simple explanation of it is Paul’s use of the seed that is like an acorn that is planted and it becomes a tree so you don’t even know what the future will be in your heavenly life. So I don’t try to assess exactly what it will be but I feel completely confident about it.

But also the basic principle in Christianity is that we don’t start living our future life after we are dead, but we start living our better future life now. And start to let our religious faith and our moral values and ambitions be shaped to do what we think is ultimately better for other people, not in some future day but in the life that we lead today.

One of the best examples of that was given to me by a Cuban-American pastor with whom I did one of my mission trips and his advice to me was that we must love God and love the person in front of us at any particular time, that’s a very profound theological statement I think and
pretty much encapsulates my religious beliefs.

While I join people around the world in wishing President Carter a full recovery and pray for his health, I am also inspired by his faith in the face of death, and his reminder to recognize that every day in this life is an opportunity to love God and love our neighbor, and to plant a seed that grows a beautiful tree in this life and in the life to come.

Jimmy Carter has spent his life planting such seeds with his presidency, his peace activism, his health work and his deep love for his friends and family. We all pray that he will have many years in front of him to plant many more seeds of peace and love in this world before he passes onto the next.

Paul Raushenbush wrote the Foreword to my book, Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, published by SmythandHelwys.

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