A Really Old-Fashioned Prayer Meeting: Intro & Examen

photo credit: http://www.reformation.org/saint-martin-luther.htmlWelcome to Leap Lent. Lent is the season of preparation for Jesus’ death and resurrection. It started a week ago on Ash Wednesday and will continue through Easter. In between, a bunch of us will practice the disciplines of Lent: giving, fasting, and prayer (Matt 6:1–6, 16–18).

Here and in our Wednesday evening meetings at Colonial Church, we’ll focus on five methods of prayer. Our reasons are:

  1. to get right with God
  2. to learn “new” ways to pray, and
  3. to encourage each other in both.

It’s called “really old” because the methods of prayer we’ll explore have come down to us through centuries of church history. It’s a prayer meeting instead of a class because we want to learn primarily by doing prayer together, rather than by lecture.

Nevertheless, here are a few notes from the lecture to get you started.

Notes

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. What brought you here to this blog? What do you hope to gain, to do, to read?
  2. Who do you think is “good at praying” and what makes you think that?
  3. When was a really good prayer season or highlight in your life and why?

Here are the promises that will guide and support our endeavors to pray during Lent:

  1. God is present with us and he does change us (Eph 1:13–14). His non-refundable down-payment on our eventual perfection is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit begins our transformation now by heaping our inheritance on us even before we reach heaven (1:3–12). This is what we receive:

    • every spiritual blessing
    • holiness
    • blamelessness
    • adoption as God’s children
    • graciousness
    • redemption
    • forgiveness
    • knowledge of what he wants
    • hope
    • life for his praise
  2. We can hear his voice (John 10:27–30).
  3. We can know the truth and it will make us free (John 8:31–36).

Practicing the Examen involves three basic questions and three basic actions:

Three Questions

  1. Where did I see God today?
  2. How did I move away from him in that situation?
  3. How did I move toward him in that situation?

Three Actions

  1. Ask forgiveness, renouncing your instance of walking away from God.
  2. Thank God for obedience, recommitting to move toward him.
  3. Let both go, trusting that you have received his smile and his mercy.

 These can be practiced in several ways, for example:

  • With Scripture prompts, as Martin Luther did using the Ten Commandments.
  • Around a particular theme (like patience or trust) that you and God decide together.

Homework

  • Practice the examen each day in the simple form above, using Scripture, or around a theme.
  • Encourage others who are trying this by interacting here. Scroll down to the comments section and write about your experience as you try the examen. Perhaps you will think through one or more of these questions:
  1. Focusing on fears or habits of sin can be a little dangerous. On the other hand, ignoring these things can be dangerous, too. How might the prayer of examen provide a path between these dangers?
  2. As you work through the examen and see God or opportunities from God, how do you feel? Encouraged? Bored? Burdened? Something else? Has the sensation changed as you continue? How?
  3. Did you decide upon a theme or Scripture framework on which to build your practice of examen throughout Lent? Can you share how it’s working out? What aspect of the examen as prayer has been hard to practice? What has come easily?

Remember

“None of us have reached our goal, but we press on to make it our own because Christ has made us his own” (Phil 3:12).

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5 responses to “A Really Old-Fashioned Prayer Meeting: Intro & Examen

  1. Pingback: AROFPM: Listening and Body Prayer | Ten Ways to Pray

  2. Pingback: Prayer Light: 30 Days of Playing with Prayer | Ten Ways to Pray

  3. Pingback: Distractions and Imagination Prayer | Ten Ways to Pray

  4. Pingback: Music Prayer | Ten Ways to Pray

  5. Pingback: AROFPM: Lectio Divina | Ten Ways to Pray

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