Day five 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 fifth day of engaging the Prayer of Examen.
Sunday, in our worship, we were asked if we would "help our church be a spirit-powered church instead of a self-powered church." It is clear from Ephesians 1:18-20 that the same power God used to raise Jesus from the dead is available for us. It is clear from Ephesians 3:14-21 that God is able to do much more than we can even imagine. It is clear from reading about Paul in the New Testament, there were times when he did the work of God in human power - and got some human-sized results. There were other moments when he learned to do the work of God through God's power - and got God-sized results. One key part of the latter is a willingness to give ourselves to prayer. Are you willing to do the work of prayer so that God is able to work through our church?
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, "Those who wait on God will rise up with wings of eagles."
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 see the power of God?
- In the last 24 hours, did you pray for God's power to be poured out in this world, in your town, in your family?
- In the last 24 hours, did you beg God to convict our church for settling for human-sized results when God-sized results are available?
- In the last 24 hours, did you plead with God to fill our church with the power of the Spirit of God?
STEP FOUR: RESPONSE
- Having spent some time remembering God's amazing power, you might want to thank God for the reality of that power as you have seen it in the last 24 hours.
- You might find it necessary to confess that you have become use to, and even satisfied, with human power, personality power, intellectual power, money power, etc.
- You might find it necessary to share a concern, or a confusion, about what a church might look like operating entirely on the basis of God-power.
- You might make a commitment to pray every day for the power of God to be unleashed in our church and through our church. You might decide to make a commitment to join prayer opportunities in the church as we meet to pray for God's empowerment.
- What practices and habits and ways are you now going to change? Which are you going to continue living tomorrow?