Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pavlov And Prayer

I have routines in all of my classes with which the kids are comfortable. We always pray but not always in the same time frame each hour. In my third period Gospels' class this past Monday, we were half way through the period when I asked the students, "Have we prayed yet?" Immediately, everyone of the kids bowed their heads. All I did was ask the question and they took the traditional posture when talking to the Father. I giggled a bit and told them to look up. We talked about their conditioning to the word prayer and their automatic lowering of the eyes and head. I mentioned Pavlov's experiment with dogs; those of them who have taken psychology knew the illustration. We then proceeded to pray and hopefully, it was more meaningful to them than on other days.

You might ask why I wasn't sure if we had prayed. We pray in all five of my academic classes as well as our daily basketball practice so to me, at least, it's understandable. There are words I never use with the kids before we bow. I never use the phrase, let's have a quick prayer because I think it conveys the idea to students unintentionally that we want to get it over as fast as we can and move to something else. I also never use the wording say a prayer as I'm afraid for some that would be akin to saying the alphabet. Many of these kids are from other countries and have little experience in matters of faith. The same can be said of some of our American youngsters. We talk quite a bit about prayer as shown in the Gospels but not about the posture of praying. Here are some Biblical examples of different manners of body language during our communication with the Father:
I don't think it's worth the time for me with these kids right now to do an in-depth look of the various postures. I am pleased they get the show of reverence, at least outwardly. Hopefully, they will see the value we put on speaking to the Lord along with the references to prayer we find in Matthew-Mark-Luke-John. It won't come overnight but then, it didn't with me, either, even though I was blessed with praying parents. I pray it becomes more to them than just a bodily reflex to a word. Jesus taught His disciples to always pray and not give up. I need to do the same.

Applicable quote of the day:

"Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" 
Corrie ten Boom

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God bless,
Luke 18:1
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