Merry Christmas, Friends!

You are receiving this email because you have made a commitment to spend fifteen minutes a day, five days a week, in solitude and silence, so as to draw near to God. A special thank you to Rev. Steffi Miller who is helping write these reflections!

We want to hear how this is going for you! Please respond to this email and tell us what you are learning, what God is saying, and how this commitment is going.

Also, who else do you know who might want to make this commitment? Forward this email to them. They can receive these emails by registering here.

We are praying with and for all of you!

Blessings as you spend time in solitude, study and prayer,
Cindy and Chuck

P.S. Have you picked up your Drawing Near Resource Guide and Prayer Journal? They are available for pickup in front of the church offices. These weekly emails will soon start referring to prayers and practices that are in the resource guide.
Drawing Near

*See below for General Instructions

4th Sunday of Advent
God Gives Healing, Restoration, New Life and Resurrection

In this epilogue to the story of Job’s suffering, God brings restoration to Job’s life. How do you wait during times of suffering, for healing, restoration and new life? What restoration in your life do you wait for now? In this country? In the world? Read the suggestions on page 35 of the Near Resource book, and then write a prayer to God asking for restoration of things for which you are concerned.

God’s purpose for David’s life was to protect the Israelites and although honorable, it was apparently not God’s purpose for David to build a temple in which to worship the Lord. What do you think God’s purposes are for your life?  Have you ever seemingly misunderstood God’s purposes for your life? What was God’s promise to David? How do you reflect on God’s promise to David and to you during this Advent season?  Pray both the Vocation Prayer and Prayer of Saint Francis on page 13 of the Near Resource booklet to help you reflect on God’s purposes for your life.

The Psalmist reminds us of the everlasting covenant God made with David and God’s people. The citation ends in verse 26, saying David shall cry out, “You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Savior.” How do you see God as your Rock and Savior in everyday events in the past and present? How do you look forward to God as your Rock and Savior in the days to come? Pray or sing the prayer “Breathe on Me Breath of God,” by Edwin Hatch on page 18 in the Near Resource booklet. 

This ancient benediction is often used at the end of worship services today. What does it say about God? What words particularly bless you as you read or hear them today? Pray or sing “Be Thou My Vision,” an Irish prayer found on page 22 of the Near Resource booklet. 

In this passage the birth of Jesus and the birth of John the Baptist are explained. This would be a great passage to try out the practice of Imaginative Prayer described on page 46 of the Near Resource booklet, picturing the scene and imagining what Mary might be feeling.  Mary responds by saying, “Nothing will be impossible with God,” and “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”  How do you understand the work of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s life? In yours? When has it be difficult in your life to respond as Mary did, “yes God, thy will be done”?  

Drawing Near
*General Instructions:

  1. Be patient and give yourself grace. This is new for many of us! 
  2. Decide which days and what time you will enter into solitude and silence. Consider putting these times on your calendar, and, if needed, share this commitment with those you are living with so that they can support you.
  3. Find a quiet place, free from distraction, where you can be comfortable.
  4. Consider lighting a candle so as to claim the space as “holy ground.”
  5. Begin each time by letting your spirit and mind settle, and asking God to guide your time with him.
  6. Consider keeping a journal so as to record how God is leading you.