Below are three Spiritual Practices to help us move in the direction of discipleship and transformation... ________________________________________________
Ignatian Prayer of Examen
The best guide I have found for this practice is from Mars Hill (Michigan.) It can be found HERE...
Go through this practice at least one time each day for the next two weeks. The first few days will feel awkward and a little disjointed. Over time, however, you will become comfortable with the questions you are asking of yourself.
The Practice of Solitude
Determine the time of your day or week when you feel the most lonely. Dedicate that moment to pulling away and tending to God. As with every spiritual practice, make sure you are free from distractions. Try the following things to focus your self away from anxiety and toward God...
-- The Jesus Prayer. Recite the following prayer-- "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Repeat the prayer until it becomes a part of you. The Jesus Prayer has helped Christians for centuries continually recognize God in their midst, and be continually aware of our constant need for his presence and grace.
-- Read the 23rd Psalm through a few times, then go for a quiet walk, focusing on resting in God.
-- Spend a full 30 minutes writing out a prayer to God. (If you type it on your computer, make sure to close your email and internet.)
The Practice of Reading Scripture for Transformation
Spend at least 30 minutes every day for the next two weeks reading Scripture for the purpose of transformation. (A guide is provided below.) Read each passage slowly, deliberately, and out loud, three times. After each reading, spend some time silently reflection on the following questions...
1. 1st Reading: Listen to the Holy Spirit minister God’s Word to you. What one word or phrase especially touches your heart?
2. 2nd Reading: Enter the passage. What emotions do you have? What personal struggle or longing in your life today is God speaking into? (Be specific.)
3. 3rd Reading: Receive what Christ has for you today. What is your personal invitation from the Lord? What do you sense God might be saying to you?
At the end of each time reading, reflect on previous readings and try to draw connections between what you read today and what you read yesterday.
Day 1: Exodus 3:1-7
Day 2: 1 Samuel 3:1-10
Day 3: 2 Kings 22:3-20
Day 4: Nehemiah 8:1-11
Day 5: Psalm 119:33-48
Day 6: Luke 4:16-22
Day 7: Revelation 10:1-11
Day 1: Mark 8:34-37
Day 2: Mark 9:33-37
Day 3: Mark 10:41-45
Day 4: Matthew 10:34-39
Day 5: Mathew 11:11-15
Day 6: Luke 17:5-6
Day 7: John 12:24-25
The Practice of Intentional Spiritual Friendship
Consider using the basic questions found in the Ignatian prayer of exam at the top of this page as a conversation starter when visiting with your close community of friends. The may require you to practice the awkwardness of bringing this up in conversation. Consider the following questions as you have lunch with friends...
-- When in the past week have you felt most alive? When have you felt most aware of God's work in your life?
-- What are you most grateful for?
Instead of praying over your food in public, consider just saying something like this before you eat: "Well, before we eat let me just say that I'm thankful to God for the food we are about to eat and for our time together."
Be mindful that everyone you encounter is a person, loved by God and on a journey to God. Be intentional about guding them along on this journey, as they guide you.