Remember that whatever happened for you this week, whether it was exciting or disappointing, a deeper awareness of God’s love, or a searching for his will, a struggle or a joy, or a mixture of any or none of these – it was real.
As you leave the week behind, and life’s journey carries on, things may seem to crowd out the experience, but something will have changed in your relationship with God.
We hope that the week has helped you become more aware of God’s presence in you, and in the people and events of your life. Each person’s experience is different so each of us needs to find the best way for nurturing and continuing our walk with God.
We’ve all had a particular experience over this week. Now where do we go?
There are at least AS MANY WAYS OF PRAYING AS THERE ARE PEOPLE! Prayer is about our relationship with God and how/where we find and respond to God in the events, feelings and circumstances of our lives. No two people have the same relationship. Each person has his or her unique way of praying – often changing as we change – calling forth different aspects of ourselves whilst staying rooted in the truth that God loves us unconditionally.
We have suggested praying for 30 minutes each day… You may want to continue that in some way… sometimes this is not possible… be realistic… better to spend 10 minutes “Reviewing the Day” than to give up completely! It may be that once a week/month you set aside a time for longer reflection and general review of your faith journey… time for yourself, to rest, come home to yourself and explore where the LIFE-GIVING touches are being felt in your experience.
Remember the helpfulness of these stages
If you want to use Scripture – then choose short passages. Remember the helpfulness of going back to the main feelings and insights during further prayer periods – don’t be in a hurry to move on…
It may be that using the readings through the church’s year (the Lectionary) would give a helpful focus for content on a regular basis.
Remember the possibility of using art, symbols, senses, poetry – stay open to the many ways God captures our attention in and through creation…
This is THE PRAYER OF DISCERNMENT – a way of regularly tuning into God who is always calling us to life – this is a prayer which engages all of us in a most natural way — letting the day ‘play back’, opening ourselves to be shown the life touches and the growing points which our moods and feelings may reveal. You can read more about it here (and download a leaflet).
Find someone to share with regularly. You cannot meet a ‘companion’ every day, but meeting another Christian (‘soul friend’, ‘spiritual director’) periodically to talk of your relationship with God can be a great help. Hereford Diocese provides a way of finding someone appropriate. Nick Helm ([email protected]) and Sue Foster ([email protected]) are happy to help you find someone who suits you.
Groups: You may be able to join or form a small group where you share your experiences and are listened to.
Books: Don’t depend on books! Relationships grow by being lived, not by being read about, but books can help if they are used as launch pads into prayer. There are many valuable books, but below are seven excellent ones. (with links to purchase them on Amazon)
‘Landmarks’ by Margaret Silf. (DLT) This is a wonderful book taking one on a journey of deepening faith and finding God in all our experiences.
‘God of Surprises’ by Gerard Hughes (DLT) Helps the search for the ‘treasure of God within’. There are valuable exercises at the end of each chapter.
‘Sleeping with Bread’ by Linn, Fabricant Linn & Linn (Paulist) A lovely book on using the ‘Review of the Day’ in ones life, on ones own, with family and with groups.
‘Sadhana’ by Anthony de Mello (Image). This book gives lots of ‘methods’ of relaxation, meditation etc. To be dipped into when needed. Also by de Mello Wellsprings and The Song of the Bird
‘Taste and See’ by Margaret Silf (DLT) This book, is about approaches and ways of praying – and was written after Landmarks, but Margaret reckons logically precedes it. It has much that is helpful and stimulating.
‘Creating a Life with God’ by Daniel Wolpert (BRF) Explores different types of prayer practices. Some of the prayer practices include creativity, journaling, the general practice of solitude and silence, and the Jesus prayer.
Quiet Days, Retreats and courses workshops
These offer further space and opportunities to explore and grow in your spiritual life. Some suggestions are:
Retreat Houses & Quiet Gardens offering retreats and days in the region