LEARNING EXPERIENCE: PRAYER
The purpose of the Prayer Experience is:
to give you space to try the different kinds of prayer you will learn about;
to be able to process your experience together with your group.
At first, the idea of praying for a whole morning — or anything longer than a few minutes — may seem daunting or difficult. My hope is that as you experiment with different ways of communicating and communing with God, you will begin to see how simple it is to “pray without ceasing” (2 Thessalonians 5:17). Remember:
prayer is a discipline that we grow in — it takes work, intentionality, and sacrifice to hone your awareness of and interaction with God;
sometimes it takes a while for our hearts and minds to calm down from the constant buzz of connectivity — this is why we set aside a whole morning.
Your small group leader(s) will structure the time and let you know the schedule for the Prayer Experience. As part of the experience, you should have two sessions for prayer over the course of the time.
My recommendation is that for the first session, you pray in the manner most appealing to or resonant with you — praying others’ words, praying your own words, listening, using the prayer of examination; writing, drawing, singing, listening to music, being silent, or speaking out loud. You can also ask:
What am I thankful for?
Where have I experienced God’s grace?
Where do I need God’s grace?
Or you can choose to pray by intentionally not doing anything but enjoying the space to be present with God.
For the second session, choose to pray in a manner you might be less inclined to choose, whether because of your personality, because you’ve never done it before, or you don’t think you’d enjoy it. Give it a go!
Let me suggest that, for at least half an hour of your time, you practice silence before God, resisting the temptation to make noise or fill the space with sound. It’ll be good practice for when you’re back amidst the distractions of everyday life!
After each session in prayer, your group leader(s) will bring you back together to share feedback on your experience.
Some practical guidance:
Bring a Bible, journal, and pen. You can always access the Bible on your phone, but the likelihood of getting distracted by your phone is also fairly high! Do whatever you can to eliminate distractions.
If you find yourself getting sidetracked by remembering things to do, write a list in your journal so you can come back to it later.
If you have any questions, contact your small group leader(s).
Prayer is a discipline
that we grow in — it takes work, intentionality, and sacrifice.