Prayers before meals

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by dlevine54, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. dlevine54

    dlevine54 Registered User

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    I'm the new Chaplain for my lodge and like other lodges we say a prayer before dinner but the prayers we've been using are basally Christian prayers with changes to make them acceptable to all faiths. Our new WM wants me to expand this and include prayers based on other religions, such as Hebrew and Islamic prayers, with the appropriate modifications of course. My first question is does anyone have any comment on this and second does anyone know of any such prayers that I can modify and use?
     
  2. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    I would think giving honor and thanks to the Supreme Architect would be sufficient but I'm not in the East ;)
     
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  3. vangoedenaam

    vangoedenaam Premium Member

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    Not all faiths have personified deity that will listen to prayer. I think prayer belongs inside religion and therefor is a private matter that might not be fit for lodge. In my country, prayer is not done in most lodges although there will often be a moment of silence before and after meals for those who want to pray themselves in silence.
     
  4. jwardl

    jwardl Registered User

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    True -- though I believe this would apply only to those lodges who admit atheists, as all others to my knowledge require that their members are men who believe in a supreme being -- and hold prayers at the beginning and ending of every meeting, as well as before meals.

    As Blake mentioned, I'd imagine that references to the GAOTU would be fine, as they're non-sectarian. I'd certainly have no problem with this if sitting in the east.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
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  5. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Brother Van, If found your post most intriguing. I was born into a situation where I too believed that prayer came from religion. However I no longer think that this is true. Yes, I know that today religion claims prayer for their own, but I do not think they are right about that. Quieting and focusing the mind is a powerful tool. I believe that this is the purpose and essence of prayer. I think that religion added God to this practice, but I do not believe that they can or should be allowed to claim ownership of the process.
     
  6. vangoedenaam

    vangoedenaam Premium Member

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    I am completely for quieting and focussing, or meditation. To me that isnt necessarily the same as prayer.

    And deity / gaotu doesnt have to be a 'person'. A higher power in non personal form qualifies, too. So who would i pray to? Im no atheist but i also dont see a personalized deity. Prayer as in stillness and focus on love and higher binding energies works for me. I dont need the words from a chaplan or reverend or pastor to aid me in that. In fact, its a distraction. So im all for meditative moments in lodge where people who want to can pray in silence while others do what fits them. In fact, there might not be much of a difference.
     
  7. jwardl

    jwardl Registered User

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    More thought-provoking, Van. I have had discussions with brothers before about what constitutes a supreme being. What about polytheist faiths where members believe in multiple deities or one with multiple but distinct personas? Of course, as with many things Masonic, definitions are open to individual interpretation. This is one of the fraternity's better qualities, imho. We encourage brothers to think, not tell them what to think.

    Forgive me if it sounded like I was making implications about your faith; no implications were intended.
     
  8. Trufflehound

    Trufflehound Registered User

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    I don't believe that the request is that you perform non-Christian prayers, really. I would have interpreted it more as "could you expose us to the ideologies behind prayers and proverbs we may not be familiar with?" An example that comes to mind in the form of a Jewish proverb -- "I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders." That proverb, in my opinion, is universal and is one of my favorites.

    I think we do ourselves a disservice when we don't attempt to take values from other religions or teachings. I'm 100% certain that the concepts overlap between the various religions, but the presentation may make all the world of difference to someone. Judaism may present some particular concepts for some people better than Christianity does. It's all a matter of perspective and what you find to be enlightening.
     
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  9. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    In lodge we have the standard prayer as well as a moment of silence, and our meal is formal, so the prayer is an integral part if the ritual.
     
  10. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    In public speaking we are taught to focus on one person in the audience and focus on them. Another approach is to focus on one person time focusing on them then moving your focus to the next person. Both are ways to tell the forest from the trees. Let's say I'm on my church group's annual interfaith trek to a local Hindu temple. We observe a member praying towards Ganesh. We fold our arms and bow in respect. We observe a member praying towards Vishnu. We pray our arms and bow in respect. We observe a member prostrate in front of a representation we don't recognize. We're too polite to interrupt him to ask him who it represents but boy howdy I sure want to. And in all cases none of the local members object to one of them focusing for the moment.

    If someone does not think of deity as personal, would there need to be objection to addresses to deity as if he were personal?

    I don't have difficulty dreaming up a prayer that does not involve deity but it's not one I would expect at lodge - Friend deer, thank you for giving your life for this venison. I pray that your passing was swift and with minimal pain. I pray that your spirit will pass into another deer that me may meet again this way next year. Bless the fields, the prey, the hunters, the food and our spiritual approach to the hunt. May it be the way all families pass down to future generations of hunters.
     
  11. vangoedenaam

    vangoedenaam Premium Member

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    I think it might have something to do with my not believing in magic. Prayers like your example resemble magical spells. I donot necessarily think that i can influence some higher power with words. I think actions speak louder than words and spells are best used on one-selves, rather than other entities, whatever they are.

    Then, i wasnt raised with prayer so i guess i just dont get it.
     
  12. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    So many interesting thoughts in your post. I was not raised with magic and I have struggled to understand the concept. What I have come to accept is that all belief systems (Masonry included) have an inner and an outer teaching. There are many good and practical reasons for this. Those in the inner circle understand that gaining access to higher levels of development requires one to understand and work the process. Those in the outer circle do not understand what is required and therefore cannot do the work. To those in the outer circle attaining the higher levels of development will always look like magic. If you are saying that the description those in the outer circle have of magic seems inaccurate, I agree with you it is. But the ability to do things that other people find impossible (and therefore believe are magic) is mostly a matter of having knowledge that they do not have.

    Prayers do resemble magical spells, I agree. Where we may disagree is that I believe that both create an actual effect in the real world. (I am using the term "real world" here in a fairly liberal sense) While they may not effect the objective world, I would argue that both have an effect on the subjective world. And since thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are all subjective, effecting my subjective world has a huge effect on my behavior. And my behavior has a huge effect on my objective world.

    I get it that my description of magic does not match how most people describe and think of magic. Let me just say that learning to discard the definitions that I was taught as a child and ask myself what spiritual terms actually mean to me has been a big part of my spiritual growth. "When I was a child I spoke as a child, when I became a man I put away childish things"
     
  13. MarkR

    MarkR Premium Member

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  14. Glen Cook

    Glen Cook G A Cook Site Benefactor

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    Hmm. I have spent 32 years as an attorney and judge either trying to influence a higher power with my words or being the higher power who was listening to the (sometimes) influencing words. I view my relationship with Deity in -somewhat- the same manner. To me, it is not magic, it is logic.
     
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  15. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    You wrote "magic" when the word in question is "psychology". It would appear that as a result you missed the meaning. Nothing wrong with doing it that way. While actions speak louder than words, words are not devoid of effect or affirmations would not be helpful. Affirmations like the one I wrote are by no means they only type of psychology possible.
     
  16. cemab4y

    cemab4y Premium Member

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    This is an interesting topic. I have attended lodge with Muslim brothers. I once held the Holy Qu'Ran, while the brother took his FC oath. I consider this to be one of the high points of my masonic career. I have spent over 11 (eleven) years working in Islamic countries, and working closely with Muslims. Jesus of Nazareth is a prophet of Islam. Muslims do not worship Jesus of course, but I have never heard any objections to prayers offered in His name (in lodge or elsewhere).

    I ran across some Surahs (verses) from the Holy Qu"Ran, which the Grand Lodge of Indiana recommends for reading during the degree work.

    I cherish the non-denominational and inter-faith character of our Gentle Craft. With all the violence and terrorism perpetrated by the tiny minority of fanatics, I am glad that I can call Muslims "brothers".

    SO MOTE IT BE!
     
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  17. Vikti

    Vikti Registered User

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    There are quite a few religions that don't have a personified diety. Druidism, some forms of Paganism and non-Christian gnostics, Konkokyo Shintoism (which worships the entire universe as a diety), and the list I can give can go on.

    I personally don't have any problems someone wants to pray to their own diety, whether it's a god, goddess or other. But why would a lodge have an atheist?

    Sent from my K010 using My Freemasonry HD mobile app
     
  18. vangoedenaam

    vangoedenaam Premium Member

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    When i wrote the word magic i hesitated, i tried magick, but again deleted the k. Its such an ambiguous and multi-interpretational word (not sure if im writing that correctly, not a native speaker...).

    Its very interesting to read the responses. Im happy to see respectful and educational replies. I feared i might have inadvertently started a flamewar. Didn't happen. Thank you, brothers!
     
  19. dlevine54

    dlevine54 Registered User

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    I didn't think my question would cause so much discussion, not that that's bad but surprising. Trufflehound's replay is the actual purpose of my original question. One of the brothers said the prayer before dinner in Hebrew, which was well received so the WM wants to expand on that.
     
  20. MasterBulldawg

    MasterBulldawg Registered User

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    I was told we say "SO MOTE IT BE" instead of Amen because we don't know which Deity the brother is praying to.
     

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