Speaking of Faith this week with Krista Tippett is on Approaching Prayer in different traditions with Roberta Bondi (now emeritus professor of Emory University--when did that happen???), Stephen Mitchell (translator) and Anoushka Shankar (musician and singer of Sanskrit chants).
At the outset, Anoushka Shankar links prayer and music and gives useful tips on the OMMMMMMMMMM chant and cleansing vibrations. Sanskrit prayers often end with OM and Shanti (peace).
Stephen Mitchell speaks of non-religious prayer (prayer as concentration and intense activity) and Roberta Bondi talks of praying with the desert fathers and mothers. She points out that there is no right way to pray: you have to find your own way. She tells a wonderful story about studying the Ammas and Abbas as an academic BEFORE praying with them at a point when she was worrying about her husband.
Prayer is our end of a relationship with God so showing up for prayer is important. In another story she relates how she came home from teaching at the end of the day to be met by crises of the family: this is showing up every day, not turning away.
The focus of the program is individual prayer. One commentator pointed out that the program doesn't mention corporate prayer in any religious tradition. The music is however chant.