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Quaker Life: September/October 2012


I have found this prayer is in fact one of the best means to start a conversation with God, although without the grimace and crossed eyes.

“Now what?” is often my prayer when I wake. I ask, “Now what, God? What do you wish for me to do today? Where will you send me?” The prayer is simple and to the point: Now what? I expect each day that I will be heard and guided.

The issue of Quaker Life you are viewing is composed of articles from individuals who have asked, “Now what?” Each of them desired to hear; each wished to respond obediently. All joined a conversation with God.

In this issue you will read of experiences that may or may not speak to you. Each writer has re­lated his or her own experience. Yours may be different or very similar. Whatever the case, it is my hope that as you read you will be compelled to further explore how to converse with our guide and how to experience the power, grace and love that accompanies a conversa­tion with God.

I also pray you will partici­pate in the 40 Days of Prayer and join thousands who are listening, hearing and responding to the One who cares for and guides us all.

Let me know what blessed you or gave you concern in this issue. Let us be in conversation together as well.

Annie Glen – Editor, Quaker Life

40 Days of Prayer with Sylvia Graves, Kelly Kellum and Colin Saxton


In a conversation with Sylvia Graves, former General Secretary of Friends United Meeting, Colin Saxton, current General Secretary, and Kelly Kellum, clerk of the Restructuring Committee of FUM’s General Board, the three shared their insights of the program, 40 Days of Prayer for the Future of Friends, with the editor of Quaker Life.

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Come Pray by Mary Glenn Hadley

Built into the soul of every person is an awareness of God. Prayer, however, is a vital part of our walk with God. We can­not assume that everyone knows what prayer is and why we pray. Many times in small groups and worship services when the opportunity to pray together arises, few verbalize.

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The Practice of Prayer by Pat Beyers


“Spiritual formation” is a term given to those collective elements that help us to widen the bridge that exists between our hearts and the heart of God. Some of these elements include prayer, Bible study, silence, service, worship and giving. Anything that can be used to “practice” the experience of the presence of God can fall under this umbrella.

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Faithful Prayers by Pat Shrock

I realized as I sat and listened to all of these women, of the contradiction of the amount of reliance of trust and as­surance our cultures demonstrate. Those who have so little, realize they must rely on God and are truly grateful. While those of us who have so much, give little praise to the One who cares for us. Their grateful, dedicated trust highlighted my own shortcomings. Can I be as dedicated to prayer as these women?

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QuakerSpring: A Prayerful Community by Micah Bales


While many of us wish there were some sort of “technical” solution for the challenges facing the Religious Society of Friends today, I am convinced that there is no quick fix that will produce faithfulness and awareness of God’s presence and power. Rather than de­veloping a technique or a process, God is gathering a people.

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What is Prayer? by David Finke

So often we may think of prayer as “talk­ing to God,” even telling God what to do… as if we might know better! But Quakers, with worship based in silent waiting, have taught me that my part of the communication is best as I settle down to where I can hear and be guided. I may not be ready to accept the guidance that is given to me, but ultimately it is refreshing and life-giving.

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Finding the Words by Brian Young


When our own words fail or are false, we need not fret. The words of scripture can help us find the Word that speaks to our conditions, by the same Spirit that gave those words in the first place.

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Other Articles In This Issue:

Staff Columns

Meanderings and Musings – Annie Glen
Out of My Mind – Colin Saxton
Spreading the Word – Micah Bales

FUM News

FUM Field Staff Updates
FUM Africa Ministries – John Muhanji
FUM News in Brief
Friends Church Peace Teams: Transformative Mediation
Friends Church Peace Teams: Alternatives to Violence
Tired of the Same Old Thing? Why Not FUM Bible School? – Betty Heshelman
Hominy, Oklahoma: Friends Hold Vacation Bible School
40 Days of Prayer Introduction – Colin Saxton


Inspirations: Thoughts on Prayer – Karen Taffe
Scripture for Living: Prayer – Meshack Musindi
Perspectives: Why Silent Worship is Not Dying Soon – Samuel Wanjala

Other News

The 2012 QUIP Report: Reaching Out – Sherryll-Jeanne Harris
Quaker Heritage Center Hosts Refugee Justice Program Director – Ruth M. Brindle Dobyns
Lobby to Cut the Pentagon Budget – Tom Ewell
Christian Friends Conference – Western Region, Palo Alto, California – Bruce Folsom


Ending Cycles of Violence: Kenyan Quaker Peacemaking Response after the 2007 Election – Terri Johns
John Woolman’s Path to the Peaceable Kingdom: A Quaker in the British Empire – Norman MacGregor
The Intolerance of Tolerance – Jennilou Grotevant