Last year, I attended my first silent retreat. My spiritual director was a wonderful Christian sister named Bonnie Chase (from Slidell, Louisiana.) She taught me was the following ...
The 5 - P's of Prayer and Journaling
1. Passage of Scripture
Go to a particular scripture ... about 5 to 10 verses in length. Read over the passage before your prayer time; choose a favorite (or prescribed) passage or a Psalm, one that fits your mood or present situation.
2. Place ...
Go to a private place or spot where you can be alone with God. A place where you will be undisturbed and uninhibited.
3. Posture ...
Body posture is very important. At the beginning take time to settle yourself. Peacefully take the position that helps you feel most responsive to God's presence (i.e., sit, kneel, experiment with lying face down on the ground, etc.)
4. Presence of God ...
Respond to God's presence, peacefully reminding yourself how present He is with you during your time. Pray something like, "You love feeling into me;" "You love sight into me;" "You love life into me;" "You, God, indwell me;" and/or "Thank you for living in me, for loving goodness and faith INTO me."
This takes time. Never rush it, even if it takes the whole period.
5. Passage from Scripture ...
There may be no time left to read the Scripture passage. That is OK. However, there may be enough time left to read the passage. For instance, if after a brief response to God's presence, you feel finished or even empty, God may be inviting you to listen to Him as He speaks to you through the Scriptures. Turn to the passage you selected and very slowly read the passage out loud.
A. If it is an action story, watch the activity. Allow yourself to join in the activity, to listen to the words, to catch the expressions on the faces of the people involved and the feelings they feel. Allow yourself to ask the characters in the passage some questions. Also, you can ask your own questions and you can speak out about the passage from your heart.
B. If it is a teaching passage, listen to the words spoken as though they were spoken direction to you. In a very real sense, they were spoken to you.
Avoid: Don't spend time searching for profound meanings or novel resolutions. This is not the time for that. Just simply spend time watching and speaking to the LORD and to the other characters included in the passage.
When your time is up, thank God for speaking to you. Carry your visit with the LORD into the rest of the day.
Writing down your experience can help you to discern the movement of the LORD's Spirit in your life. The time you spend in prayer and journaling will vary, depending on your choice of passage and your ability to take it all in.
Consider doing this exercise for any where from fifteen minutes to an hour a day (if possible.) It can revolutionize your intimacy with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Murphy Geer Toerner
- Murphy's Devotions
- Austin TX and Baton Rouge, LA, United States
- I enjoy helping people. I am an encourager and I can see the good in others. I want people to understand what it means to be an authentic Christian and not just a religious "nut." I believe if Christians lived and loved others as Jesus lived and loved others, we would experience more of heaven on earth than hell on earth. These thoughts and writings are intended to encourage you to be who God originally designed you to be. They are also intended to challenge you and make you think. Also, I want you to know that I'm praying for you every day. Blessings, Murphy Blessings to you, Murphy