Day four of our one-week commitment
to the ancient Prayer of Examen.
Recall that the Prayer of Examen is an ancient Christian spiritual practice to help you remember that in the past 24 hours God has been active and present in your life. On Monday, November 9, we provided a brief and basic introduction to the prayer's background and four steps. You might find it useful to review that introduction on your fourth day of engaging the Prayer of Examen.
Sunday, in our worship, we were asked if we would "get outside the walls of our church" and make our mission the people and neighborhoods beyond our church. Autopsies of churches that have died all show that the church made a fateful decision to devote its money to the machinery of the church and make its mission keeping its members happy. Will you help our church make its mission the 90% of our Foothills region that are outside of Christian faith and/or community? Are you willing to give up making church about what you want in order to help us reach out to those who do not yet know how much they are loved by Living God and somehow draw them into the presence of God who alone can transform them? Are you willing to be generous with your time and money so that we can reach beyond ourselves? Are you willing to become courageous and get outside of your comfort zone and take the love of God out into the world?
STEP ONE: PRESENCE
- The best you can, turn down the distracting noise around you so you can turn up the power of reflection.
- Find a comfortable location. Settle into it.
- Be there in that relatively quiet and comfortable place and moment. Do not rush past this.
- Perhaps say a brief phrase from scripture to help center your attention on the presence of God. For example, "What would I do without you, O God?"
STEP TWO: GRATITUDE
- As your distractions subside and your focus increases, pray this prayer: "Present God, in these moments, please remind me of all the goodness I have received because of your presence."
- Now that you are centered and focused, in what small and big ways was God active in your life in the past 24 hours?
- What were the circumstances and situations surrounding God's activity? What was happening in your life? What was going on in you and around you?
- Take a moment to write at least one of these moments in your journal.
- Take another moment to express your gratitude to God.
STEP THREE: REVIEW
- In the last 24 hours, where did you get a chance to see God's mission in this world at work?
- In the last 24 hours, in what ways did you get beyond your own real concerns and issues and become involved in making God's love real in our community?
- In the last 24 hours, how were you generous with your time and money for the sake of God's mission in our world?
STEP FOUR: RESPONSE
- Having spent some time remembering God's mission in the world, you might want to thank God that you have been given a chance to participate.
- You might find it necessary to confess that you have made your life about you, the church about you, and even God about you and what you want.
- You might find it necessary to share a concern, or a confusion, about how to get out of your comfort zone for the sake of the gospel.
- What practices and habits and ways are you now going to change? Which are you going to continue living tomorrow?