Staying in place gives an opportunity to try some new “spiritual rhythms,” new ways (or at least new to us) of drawing into a deeper relationship with Jesus and allow him to continue doing his “good work” in us (Philippians 1:6).
Last week we offered you the opportunity to do what is called Lectio Divina, a way of prayerfully reading scripture. Many people have tried it since last week and have expressed how blessed they were by it. If you have not tried it, here is the link.
The practice for this week is called Praying Backwards. Saints from long ago called it the Prayer of Examen. This is a practice where you will prayerfully review your last 24 hours, listening for God to reveal to you ways in which you encountered Him, maybe without recognizing it at the time. It is a very rich, beneficial practice that has helped people draw into a more immediate experience of the presence of God, especially if they practice it often. Below are the directions.
Blessings, Pastor Phil
To begin, find a quiet place and time. This may take 10-15 minutes
Pray for God’s sight in your mind
Since this is not simply daydreaming or reminiscing, but rather seeking God’s Spirit, it is right to pray for illumination and graced understanding.
Look back with thanksgiving
Gratitude is the foundation of our relationship with God. Each of us has received gifts from God – gifts of existence, work, relationships, and place. There have also been gifts of challenge, growth and conflict. Walk through your last 24 hours, from place to place, task to task, person to person, thanking God for every gift you encountered.
Remember specific moments
What particular moments do you “see” in my mind’s eye as I replay this time? And what feelings – positive and negative, painful and pleasing – did these experiences evoke in you? Listen to these feelings without judgment or even interpretation. If you feel bewilderment or are puzzled, ask yourself if there might be something new unfolding in your experience and pray once more for illumination, clarity and trust in God to reveal this to you.
Choose a moment or a time for prayer
Often some particular time, moment, person, or relationship will come to the surface and be remembered. Try to let yourself pray out of that remembering, especially attending to your feelings as you remember the place, person, relationship, or image. This might be a prayer of praise or conviction, a cry for help, or a lament about a grief experienced or a difficulty that lingers. Try to be as honest as you are able, not censoring your prayer from strong feelings or reaction or protecting God (as if that were possible or needed anyway).
Close with the Lord’s Prayer
This brings the prayer home and grounds it in the community of God’s people.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the power, the glory, and the kingdom forever. Amen.