Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:20-21
This week, we tried an experiential sermon time at DPUMC. There was only small amounts of exposition; most of our time was spent in practicing two kinds of prayer. Below are instructions for our in service activities and how to follow up at home. Special thanks to our pastoral intern, Annie Meek, for the Sharing section.
- Take three deep breaths, feeling the air fully inflate your lungs and fully exit your lungs.
- Focus your attention only on what comes from your senses. Be aware of what you’re touching, hearing, smelling, and sensing. Know that you are safe and comfortable.
- Take a word, preferably single syllable, that represents God’s love and care for you. Hold in your mind only this word.
- As thoughts, questions or distractions arise, repeat your word until they subside. Then allow the word itself to fade.
- Allow yourself to simply be in the presence of God without goal or agenda. Take up your word when you need, then let it fade.
At home, try repeating the practice for 20 min in the morning or evening (or both). Give yourself plenty of time to experience just being with God, but don’t worry if its hard to do for long at first. As you finish your prayer, use your sense to draw you back out of the silence and into the world. Repeat the focusing of attention on touch, sound, smell, and sense. Remind yourself you are loved.
- 1) Ask your neighbor if they would share a prayer request with you.
- 2) Listen mindfully and calmly, not trying to fix whatever comes up or go on tangents.
- 3) Allow for a moment of calm silence and focus on your breath, remembering God is ever present, tending, and loving.
- 4) Pray for each other aloud or silently as you feel led.
At home, continue to practice sharing with these prayer practices alone or together with friends or family:
- 1) “Give thanks and pray for the world, the Church, and the concerns of the heart, followed by the Lord’s Prayer.” (The Book of Offices and Services of the Order of St. Luke, a United Methodist ecumenical religious order)
- 2) Share gratitude with someone. Ask “what are three things you’re grateful for today?” And share the same for yourself.
- 3) Share time in silence or stillness. Practice contemplative prayer or meditation with a friend for 2, 5, 7, 10 15, or 20 minutes a day. Talk about it!