During the COVID-19 lockdown we saw an opportunity to develop a rhythm of prayer that will sustain us during our isolation, but also into the future. But for many of us, prayer is complicated and it can be difficult to know where to start
This mid-week series is designed to give you short practical advice about different ways to pray. Each week we will look at a different kind of prayer and give you a chance to practice it right there an then. We'd encourage you to try each practice it daily for a week to see if it works for you.
Hopefully by the end of this series, not only will you have an idea of what kind of prayer suits your journey, but you will also have spent a lot more time actually praying.
Week 1 - Examen
This week we dive into an ancient practise developed by the founder of the Jesuit order, St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Jesuits were an incredibly missional movement that sent monks all over the world to care for the poor, provide education, and minister the Gospel. Ignatius was keen to make sure that his followers developed a keen eye for what God was doing in their local context so he developed this mode of Prayer.
Examen is a discipline that has you reflect on your day/week/month and look for the moments where God was most present and most absent. As you reflect you offer it all up to God in worship and allow the Spirit to bring light and life into every moment. Click the link above for a PDF explaining more.
Week 2 - Lectio Divina
This week we look at a mode of prayer that is almost as old as the Christian faith. It's called Lectio Divina which means Holy Reading. It was first developed by the early church father, Origen. He believed that scripture shouldn't just be something we use to learn about God, but something we use to experience him. Benedict, the famous founder of the Benedictine order of monks and the father of the monastic movement, popularized Lectio Divina by including it in his monastic way of life as a way to ensure that his followers stayed grounded in both the spirit and the word.
Lectio Divina is a slow worshipful way of reading the Bible. It encourages you to place yourself within the text, experience the love and grace of God in those words, and then use it to fuel your prayer life. Click the link above for a PDF explaining more.
Week 3 - Intercession
This week we look at praying for other people. It's something that we say we are going to do all the time but can be really difficult to know where to start. Traditionally this kind of prayer has been known as intercession, which means praying on behalf of someone else. The foundation for this kind of prayer is recognizing that God is not sitting on His hands way off in the sky waiting for us to move. Instead, we are joining in with Jesus, who is already interceding for all of us.
As we pray, we join in with what Jesus is already doing and partner with Him to see our world transformed by His love. Click the PDF above for more resources.