Friday, February 26, 2010

On Practicing What We Preach

Part of my Lenten examination convicts me to do things I tend to put off for "better reasons."  Like blogging.  I originally started this exercise to be a witness of what God shares with me; however, I have become a bit...well...lazy, even though I hate to admit it.  It is easier to simply link to my podcast sermons each week rather than think of something to write.  And I really like writing, but I tend to put it off, even in my personal journaling.  So, I am planning to have at least one written post a week on my blog.  I am allowing my myself to be held accountable by my readers.  If I do not have at least one written post per week, you can absolutely call me on it.  Now, on to the actual blog...

My sermon series this Lent is on Prayer.  I think God picked this out especially for me.  Oh, I pray, absolutely I pray.  I pray all the time, but I don't necessarily always have what my daughter calls 'God Time.'  God Time is when you are in conversation.  You are in a kairos type of time and space, set apart to speak and listen to what God wants to chat with you about. I have tended to make a bigger deal about this in my personal devotional life than probably needs to be done.  It shouldn't be a formal meeting but a casual conversation.  My daughter gets this perfectly.  She sits down at her computer each night before she goes to bed and types a dialogue.  She types her prayers and she types God's  answers.  I have no idea how many pages this must be by now, but she is faithful to this practice.  We could all learn from her.

I have been seeking this in my own life, but my conversations with God do not really flow the same way hers do.  I would be distracted by spelling, punctuation or grammar; something she doesn't worry about in the slightest. We cannot all be the same.  If this practice works for you (give it a try for a week and see how it goes), you may have discovered something helpful to not only hear God speaking to you, but to record it for future reference.  If not, I have learned of something new, which I am trying out and it tends to go more with my need to be more passive, with as little of me as possible.  Now, that doesn't mean that I am only sitting there waiting for God to speak, but something that I can be still (really, no writing, no typing, etc.) and know that God is there.  This is more of a submissive passiveness than a lazy passiveness. 

After my post on "Lord Teach Us to Pray" a friend responded with her own struggles in having that meaningful quiet time.  She shared with me a podcast that has been helpful for her.  It is on the Jesuit web site Pray-as-you-go...daily prayer for your MP3 playerYou can download the podcasts on a MP3 player, or you can listen to them online.  They have podcasts for devotionals Monday thru Friday, with music, scripture, guided meditation, all the stuff that resonates with me.  They even have podcasts for breathing and body exercises to help you prepare to be in prayer. 

My friend combines these devotionals with an order for morning prayer from the Upper Room Worshipbook.  Beginning with the order for morning prayer, she inserts the pray-as-you-go devotional in place of the scripture reading and message or meditation.  She keeps a notebook nearby to write down anything she feels a need to, things God is speaking to her, things brought to mind, people to pray for, etc.  I thank her for sharing this with me.

I am still working on getting this more a part of my life.  The questions now are: is it better in the morning?  Or the evening?  How does this work with or incorporate with the daily devotional I read from Upper Room Ministries?  I haven't necessarily settled on any answers on these questions, but I am, as always, a work in progress.  I'll let you know how it is going next week.

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