In Tibetan Buddhist tradition, one practice in some monasteries is to turn massive beautifully crafted prayer wheels. Each rotation of the wheel will have much the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers. In my Christian interpretation, it is another way of fulfilling Paul’s invitation to “pray without ceasing.”
Whenever I hear the “prayers of the people” at worship, I think of a prayer wheel. When people ask me to pray for them, I often respond “I will put it in the prayer wheel.” In my imagination it is an active ongoing place in my heart where I tuck away the needs of humanity and let the wheel spin forward into the heart of God.
At Sojourners, Julie Polter has for years produced our little internal community newsletter — one manifestation of our communal spinning of the prayer wheel. I’m so grateful for it. I think some version of this “newsletter of need, thanksgiving, and praise” has been in the church since the early days. Here’s a recent example of ours:
Friday, July 26, 2013. Prayers, concerns, & joys:
Blessings and congratulations to: Sojo staffer Sondra Shepley and former staffer and intern Parker Haaga, who are getting married this Saturday, July 27! Sojo staffer Beau Underwood and Casey Osterkamp, who are also getting married this Saturday, July 27!
Sojo staffer Rose Marie Berger and 53 others were arrested today in an act of civil disobedience organized by 350.org at the headquarters of the Environmental Resources Management (ERM)company in downtown D.C. today. Most likely they were going to be allowed to post bond and go home, but I’ve not heard an update. Please remember them in your prayers (in case they’re still waiting for release—arrestees included one person using a walker), and continue to pray for efforts to counter the creeping catastrophe of climate change. ERM is the “independent contractor” hired by the State Department (and regularly used by TransCanada) that assessed the Keystone XL pipeline to be “climate neutral.” Poke around the 350.org twitter feed and you can find links to photos of the action. https://twitter.com/350