No Time for God? Discerning How God Wants You to Spend Time Together
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Dear Friend, 

It's hard to believe we are already in week 3 of our series!  Were you able to find your time of prayer, place of prayer, and space of prayer?  Once you do find it, consider sharing a picture of your space of prayer with us via social media using the hashtag:  #TimePlaceSpace.  

Now that you know your time and place of prayer, let's turn to picking a prayer method or as I like to say, let's discern how God wants to spend time with you in this season of life.  

This week involves two main tasks: 
  1. Building a toolbox of prayer tools
  2. Deciding on ONE prayer method to commit to daily 
Many of you reached out to me with questions the past two weeks.  I love them, keep them coming!  Due to the number of questions, I am offering a Live Facebook Chat this week on my Facebook page.   If you have a question, join me at one of these two times, and I will do my best to answer it!  
  • Monday, October 12th from 8pm-9pm CST
  • Tuesday, October 13th from 12:30pm-1:30pm CST  
Know that I am praying for you on this journey!


P.S.  If you missed the last two weeks content, here are the links:

Week 1:  Making Space for Prayer in a Busy Calendar
Week 2:  Begin with These 3 Steps

Week 3 of 4:  Discerning How God Wants You to Spend Time Together

As we set out to make intentional time for God in our lives, it is important to consider not only our time, place, and space to be with God, but also to discern how God is inviting us to spend time together.  Like any relationship, what we do together and how we spend time together changes over time based on what is happening in life. 

Looking at my friendships in my own life, I can name many that started out as social friends I met at gatherings or parties in my early twenties.  As life evolved and we got married and had children, how we spent time together changed. 
Our life circumstances did not alter our desire to spend time together, but it did require us to be more intentional about how and when we spend our time together.  
The same is true with God. Our relationship with God needs this same type of freedom and organic growth to allow for the ongoing shifts and changes of life.  At the same time, our relationship with God requires intentional commitment to decide not only when we will be together, but also how we will spend our time together.  

As I look at my own history of prayer, I see a wide array of prayer methods that supported me in certain seasons of life to grow in God.  Each were gift.  One not better than the other, and the variety of ways to be with God add to the beautiful repertoire of prayer methods available to us. With every season of life, I am invited to consider how God wants to spend time with me and how I can realistically give time to God.  

Having an arsenal of prayer methods helps this process!  

Build an Arsenal of Prayer Tools
As a spiritual director, I listen and notice what prayer method is working and supporting the person in growing in their relationship with God.  At times, I am offering new prayer methods to consider, and other times I am inviting them back to a tried and true practice of prayer.  For the long-haul, it is helpful to have an arsenal of prayer tools  that will support you over time and through the many seasons of life and many seasons of our faith lives. 

What Can We Include in Our Prayer Toolbox?  
  • Worship:  Weekly and regular attendance at mass or our weekly church service
  • Traditional Prayers:  This includes the traditional prayers we were perhaps taught as a child, as well as other ways that might nurture us along in our faith journeys such as, Novenas, Devotions, Adoration, the Rosary, Litanies, and other memorized prayers.  
  • Bible Studies & Prayer Groups: Praying with others, sharing faith and life moments, allows us to know Christ in community, and in the lived experienced of laying down your life for another.
Each of these types of prayer have their place and gift in our faith journey.  There are many options for prayer, and I am a firm believer in being open to the many ways to be with God.   What might some of your prayer tools already be?  

Committing to One Prayer Method:

To make space for prayer in a busy calendar, though, I suggest you pick ONE prayer method for you to use in your daily time, place, and space of prayer.  

As mentioned last week, St. Igantius’ wisdom is to stick with our place, posture and method of prayer until it no longer works for us.  Stay with your prayer method until it exhausts itself and you feel God inviting you to another way of being together. 
That is not to say that on any given day you might engage in multiple prayer methods, but like an exercise routine, it helps to have consistency and repetitiveness so that you get acclimated to your prayer routine. 

Two New Tools: 

This week, I would like to offer you two prayer methods that help me commit to daily prayer within the busyness of life.  
  1. The Examen
  2. Lectio Divina 

Weekly Reflection #1: Examen

The Examen is one of my go-to prayer methods that is often credited to St. Igantius of Loyola, but most likely was around before him.  

The idea of the Examen is very simple-- you bring your last 24 hours before God and pray your life.  St. Ignatius saw such importance in this prayer, that he implored his brother Jesuits to never skip praying the daily Examen.  

The 5 Steps of the Examen:  

1.  Praying for Help:  Invite the Holy Spirit to see your day as God sees it.  

2.  Thanksgiving:  Look at your last 24 hours, and name to God all that you are thankful for.  It may be a beautiful scene you saw in nature or maybe a good meal or a chat with a friend.  It could be something you read or experienced or saw.  Offers thanks to God for all you are thankful for- big or small.  

3.  Presence:  Revisit the last 24 hours again, and name all the times you felt God's presence.  Did you have an encouraging chat with someone?  Did you have a breakthrough at work on a project?  Where did you feel an increase of faith, hope and love today?  What is God saying to you about this? 

4.  No Presence:  During the last 24 hours, where did you struggle to notice God at work?  Is there a relationship that is struggling?  Did you witness something that brought you sorrow?  Where did you feel a decrease of faith, hope and love?  Why?  Is it something you did or perhaps, did not do when you felt called to do so?  Talk to God about whatever arises in your heart and ask for forgiveness from God.   

5.  Future:  Look ahead to the next 24 hours.  Ask God for the grace you need to get through the next day.  Resolve to do better with God's help.  

Close with an Our Father

Resources on the Examen: 

If you'd like to learn more about the examen, you can find some additional resources on my website here!  

Weekly Reflection #2: Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is an ancient prayer form that helps us pray with scripture and bring scripture into our daily lives. All you need is your place of prayer, some quiet, and a scripture passage. I use this prayer method almost every day to pray with the daily readings.  Using Lectio Divina to pray with scripture grounds my day in God, and it helps me fine tune my ear for God.    

The 4 steps of Lectio Divina:

1.  READ:  Pick a passage from the bible.  
Slowly, thoughtfully, read the passage.  Linger whenever a word or phrase touches your heart.

2.  REFLECT:  What is God saying to you in this passage?
Offering you?  Asking you?

3.  RESPONDRespond to God from your heart.  Speak to God of your feelings and insights.  Offer these to God.

4.  REST:  Sit quietly in God’s presence.  Rest in God’s love. Listen to what God is offering you. 

Resources on Lectio Divina:  

If you'd like to learn more about the examen, you can find some additional resources on my website here

Strength from the Word of God

As you discern how to spend time with God in this season of your life, I invite you to use these scriptures from the Gospel of Luke as encouragement to know that God used many ways of praying, speaking and teaching with the disciples as their knowing of Christ deepened.
"After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions,"
Luke 2:46

"She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak."
Luke 10:39

"He said to them, 'When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test."
Luke 11: 2-4

"During the day, Jesus was listening in the temple area, but at night he would leave and stay at the place called the Mount of Olives. And all the people would get up early each morning to listen to him in the temple area."
Luke 21: 37-38

"When the hour came, he took his place at table with the apostles. He said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for, I tell you, I shall not eat it [again] until there is fulfillment in the kingdom of God.' Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, 'Take this and share it among yourselves; for I tell you [that] from this time on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.' Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.' And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you."
Luke 22: 14-20

Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, 'Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.' So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, 'Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?”
Luke 24: 27-32

"Then he led them [out] as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy,and they were continually in the temple praising God."
Luke 24: 50-53

This Week’s Invitations: 
What is the ONE way you most feel called to be with God in this season of life?  
Commit to using this prayer method daily in your time of prayer, place of prayer, and space of prayer.  
What other prayer tools do you want to have in your tool box?
Join the live Facebook Chat on Monday, October 12th at 8pm-9pmCT or Tuesday, October 13th at 12:30pm-1:30pmCT!  
Copyright © 2015 Becky Eldredge, All rights reserved.

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