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Extending Prayers

Extending prayers to Kami is called “Gokinen.”  Please find a seat in the room at a place you feel most comfortable.  As you sit down on the chair, face the altar in sincerity and then bow your head in a posture of showing your reverence to Kami.  Raise your head and clap your hands four times in a sincere attitude as if you are going to meet Kami face to face.  You don’t have to make loud sounds, just try to clap your hands in such a manner that the right hand may represents Kami’s heart and the left hand may represent your own heart, and two minds meets together through the act of clapping four times.  The number “four” represents “Shiju-Shiawase” or always happy and “Yokare” or good in Japanese phonetics.  Now you assume that you face Kami and relate your messages directly.  You may begin to relate your message of thanks for the blessings you have received in this manner.  “Ikigami Konko Daijin-Sama, Tenchi Kane no Kami-Sama, thank you for allowing me to be able to attend church today through the blessings of Your guidance and arrangement.  I also extend my thanks for the blessings I have enjoyed and also the blessings my family members and ancestors have enjoyed thus far.”  You may extend whatever messages of thanks you can recognize through your spiritual eye.  It all depends upon your own heart.  You may also extend your apologies for the irreverence and offenses you might have committed knowingly and unknowingly.  “Please forgive any irreverent thoughts and deeds we might have committed unknowingly through my ancestors and myself.”  Apologies can be related to any matter; when we speak ill of others or harm others in one way or another.  But the greatest offense we might be committing is the negligent and ignorance of the blessings we have been receiving from Kami.  Wasting food, wasting time, killing others and harming others in heart can also be the subjects of apologies.  The point of apologies is to acknowledge our own mistakes and offensive thoughts and deeds we might commit and attempt to truly reform our hearts in line with the heart of Kami.  Apologies without the attempt to reform our hearts will end up becoming another irreverence. 

You may extend your “onegai” or requests to Kami in supplication.  Prayers for Kami in formality may have little meanings.  Your prayers in requests would become more valid when you present your requests in a concrete manner in reflection of your own daily concerns for yourself or others.  The Founder showed the nature of our prayer in this manner, “Pray for physical safety, diligence in your work, and abundant grain of harvests; and pray even for your horses and cows.  Pray with sincerity for everything” (Konko Daijin Oboegaki 15-8-2).  If you present your messages to Kami in a thorough, sincere, detailed and convincing manner, you shall enjoy the blessings for your requests.  In concluding your prayer, recite “Ikigami Konko Daijin-Sama, Tenchi Kane no Kami-Sama, please heed my prayers and actualize blessings for my request as promptly as possible.”  Raise your head and clap your hands four times in closing and bow your head in respect of Kami.  This concludes your prayer for Kami. 

The procedures of praying mentioned above are the basic manners in accordance with the Konko tradition.  Our prayers shall be personal and can be extended in any way we feel comfortable.  Let it suit your own personality as has been taught by the Founder, “No matter how diligently you may recite the words of prayers, it is equal to telling lies to Kami unless you do it with genuine sincerity.  When you worship, you need not clap your hands loudly.  Kami can hear even a small sound.  When you pray, you do not have to do it loudly or in a peculiar intonation.  Pray as you would talk to others” (III Konko Kyoso Gorikai 68, 2). 

After completing your prayer to Kami, turn your posture toward the Mitama altar and extend your prayer to Mitama spirits.  The same attitude may also apply when you extend your prayers before the Mitama altar.  “The Mitama spirits of the founding minister of this church and  deceased loved ones, thank you for making it possible for me to come to church in blessedness.  I have just extended my prayers to Tenchi Kane no Kami-Sama.  Please help and guide me in dealing with the issues of concern.”  Then you may extend your prayer by relating, “The Mitama spirits of my ancestors, please heed my prayers.  Thanks to your contribution, your descendants, including me, have been enjoying blessed lives.  I pray that you will continue to protect and guide us to be able to live in a happy and productive manner as we have enjoyed thus far.” 

Even if your family and ancestors were not worshipped at the Mitama altar, you may be able to relate your messages to your deceased family members and ancestors through the Mitama altar in the same manner as other church members do.  It is like a universal outlet to the spiritual world. 

If you think you did not have ample time to extend your prayers in a formal sense, you may just recite the name of Kami-Sama and relate your messages. 

In place of relating your own personalized prayers, you may refer to the prayers in the Prayer Book. 

“Otodoke” Seeking Toritsugi-Mediation 

After extending your prayers for both Kami-Sama and Mitama-Sama, you may proceed to the Toritsugi-Mediation Desk and relate your messages to your minister.  Even if you may not have any particular issues to relate, it is recommendable to greet the minister and extend your thanks for your visitation to church, since it was a summon from Kami-Sama for one to come to church.  There shall always be a message of thanks to Kami-Sama for the blessings you may have received in one way or another.  Have a seat at the chair at the Toritsugi-Mediation Desk, and relate your messages to the Toritsugi-Mediator.  The message you relate to your minister is kept confidential and never related to anyone else.  The messages of your concern you forwarded to Kami-Sama can be related directly to your minister.  Your minister may respond to any of your messages in consideration of the situation you are in.  Your minister records your forwarded message in the record book and extends his/her prayers for you.  Once your minister received your message, he/she extends his/her prayers for you till you experience results.  So it is equally important that you inform your minister whatever develops for the matter you mentioned since your minister may perpetually keep praying for you.  Follow up is necessary in any situation.  The action of relating matters to your minister are referred to as “Otodoke” or seeking Toritsugi-Mediation. 

It is assumed that whoever serves at the Toritsugi-Mediation Desk represents the Supreme Toritsugi-Mediator who serves at the Headquarters Church at Konko Town.  True believers of Konko faith are to accept the messages given at the particular place of Toritsugi-Mediation as messages of the Spiritual Head in acceptance of the Konko faith. 

Your attendance to church and seeking Toritsugi-Mediation should not be regarded as a transaction between Kami-Sama and you.  Therefore making an offering to Kami-Sama is not necessarily in correspondence to the actualization of blessings.  The Konko faith teachings dictate about the matters regarding the offering to Kami that may differ from the conventional Japanese religious traditions. 

 

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