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Prayer Practice #5: Handwriting Scripture/Prayers

During this fortnight, Matt will be posting about some different prayer practices to help us continue our exploration of prayer and fasting. The posts will be short and, for the most part, practically-focused.


Handwriting Scripture/Prayers

Just as we tend to absorb more from lectures or sermons when we take notes, so too do we absorb more of the Scriptures and of God’s word to us in prayer when we handwrite them.

The process is simple, even obvious: Read more

Prayer Practice #4: The Active Prayer Practice

During this fortnight, Matt will be posting about some different prayer practices to help us continue our exploration of prayer and fasting. The posts will be short and, for the most part, practically-focused.


The Active Prayer Practice

The active prayer involves a phrase drawn from Scripture, comprised of five to twelve syllables. The pray-er says this phrase aloud or silently in sync with their heartbeat. Examples include “O Lord, come to my assistance,” “Abide in my love,” “I belong to you, O Lord,” and “Jesus, my light and my love.”[1] Read more

Prayer Practices #3: Centring Prayer

During this fortnight, Matt will be posting about some different prayer practices to help us continue our exploration of prayer and fasting. The posts will be short and, for the most part, practically-focused.


Centring Prayer

Credit: http://centeringprayer.tumblr.com/

Centring Prayer was simplified into a method in the 1970s by three Trappist monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Massachusetts, but it is based on more ancient practices, including Lectio Divina.

The source of Centering Prayer … is the indwelling Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The focus of Centering Prayer is the deepening of our relationship with the living Christ.[1]

Like Lectio Divina, the root of Centring Prayer is listening to the Word of God in Scripture. Centring Prayer is a way of going beyond conversation with Christ to communion with Christ. The guidelines for Centring Prayer are:[2] Read more

Prayer Practices #2: Lectio Divina

During this fortnight, Matt will be posting about some different prayer practices to help us continue our exploration of prayer and fasting. The posts will be short and, for the most part, practically-focused.


Lectio Divina

This ancient practice has enjoyed a resurgence in recent times, including amongst Protestants. Lectio Divina literally means “divine reading,” and is the practice of praying the Scriptures. It is a helpful practice that centres on listening to a small portion of text with the “ears of our heart.” It can be done individually or in a group.

There are four steps in Lectio Divina, although they are not rules so much as guidelines: Read more

Prayer Practices #1: The Examen

Over the next fortnight, Matt will be posting about some different prayer practices to help us continue our exploration of prayer and fasting. The posts will be short and, for the most part, practically-focused.


The Examen

The Examen, based on the writings of Ignatius of Loyola, is a practice of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to discern God’s presence and God’s direction for us. The aim of Examen is not to label actions as good or bad, but to discern the impulses that underlie our actions throughout the day.

There are a number of methods for the Examen, but here is a simple one: Read more

Prayer and Fasting

It has been a fruitful period of learning for us as a church to consider holiness. Not as a special virtue for us to aspire to; but as a fundamental calling and marker of all who would follow Christ. And therein lies the major clue – it is primarily not connected to our existing virtue or skill. Holiness is, in contrast, a recognition of our lives being transformed by Jesus of Nazareth. “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

More like Jesus, less like the world.
More deeply into life, less focused on ourselves

That’s what holiness points towards.

Jesus.

More recently, we’ve begun to study the sermon on the mount from Matthew chapters 5-7 as a framework for our continued reflection on holiness. The passage for this Pentecost week is from Matthew 6 and deals with prayer and fasting. There is much to be pondered and lived out in this passage. One of the things that strikes me anew is that Jesus doesn’t ask if you fast, but instead says “when you fast”… Fasting has long been considered a core practice of the Church, but one that for a variety of reasons has become less and less familiar to us.

Today, we’ve put before our congregation that challenge of taking up a small weekly commitment to prayer and fasting. Each person and each family will choose to tackle this in their own fashion, wrapped into their own rhythms of life. However the challenge remains for all of us to find a way into this discipline.

As a way to assist you in approaching the discipling of fasting, we’ve attached a couple of resources to spark your thinking.

First up, this is a great summary of a wonderful book, “Fasting: the Ancient Practices” by Scot McKnight. Both the book and the summary are great at kicking off thoughts and possibilities around this spiritual practice.

Secondly, here is an important, if basic Patheos article on simply tips in starting fasting.

Next is an article by Richard Foster that got my thinking and praying going on this sometime ago.

And last, but most exciting, is this resource created by our great friend James Aaron. Spiritual Disciplines week 3

I pray that these are helpful starters for you as we explore together what it means to listen more intently to what God has to say to us.

Peace,
Andrew