Spiritual Practices

Prayer

ACTS

  • Adoration – We start by saying who God(“Our Father, who art in heaven”)
  • Confession – We face the hard truth of who we are and seek forgiveness.
  • Thanksgiving – We give thanks for everything God has done for us.
  • Supplication – We lift up the concerns of our lives and the world.

Five Finger Prayer

  • The Thumb – the finger closest to you represents the people closest to you
  • The Pointer Finger – pray for the people who point you to God: your pastor, your prayer partners, your mentors, etc.
  • The Middle Finger – The Longest finger represents leaders in the church, your place of employment, and government leaders around the world.
  • The Fourth Finger – the ring finger is the weakest and represents those who are weak and in need(the poor or marginalized, or in pain)
  • The Little Finger – the smallest finger represents you.  After you have prayed for the other groups spend time praying for your own needs

Contemplative Prayer

The two models above all involve speaking.  It is important to set time aside to sit and listen to God and what He might be saying to you.

Reading Scripture

Choosing a Translation

If you are looking for a bible, it can sometimes be confusing trying to figure out which translation to purchase and read.  There are some translations that try to stick closely to the original Greek and Hebrew and there are others that try to make sure the reader can understand it.  Most bible translations fit somewhere in the middle.  If you are just purchasing a bible I recommend one of the following three bibles:

  • NRSV – This translation attempts to stay close to the original languages but is still relatively easy to understand.
  • NIV – Our church’s pew bibles are the NIV translation. This translation aims for a mix between being true to the orignal but also remain understandable.
  • The Voice – The goal of this translation is to be sure you understand it.  If you look at this translation it sometimes read like a movie script with headings showing who is speaking.  It was written by partnering biblical scholars and artists together.

Any of these translations can be used in your daily bible study, but the best bible is one you will read. If you want more information about bible translation and their different goals, I encourage you to read “What Version of the Bible Do You Read?”

SOAPY – A Journaling Process

  • Scripture – read the passage and take note of anything God brings to your attention.  Write down the verse that you are studying for the day or the verse that stands out.
  • Observation – reflect on what stood out to you and write any observations on why that passage or verse stood out to you.  What is the lesson God wants you to learn in this passage?
  • Application – Write down how that lesson applies to your life.
  • Prayer – Write a prayer to God about this lesson and your life.
  • Yield – Write you must yield or change in your life for this lesson to take hold of your life and how you can live it out.

Record your entry in a journal with a date, the scripture reference, and a title.  Conclude this time with a time of prayer with God.

Lectio Divina – Praying the Scripture

  • Text: Choose the text you will read, you can choose a text at random or by following a reading guide like the Lectionary Reading on our calendar, the Book of Common Prayer, or Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.
  • Prepare: Do whatever you need to do to quiet yourself and prepare to experience God’s presence.  Music, candles, and images can help you quiet your mind to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  • Reading/Listening: When you feel your spirit is prepared, slowly read the passage you selected, paying attention to sentences or phrase that catches your attention.  It’s not about getting through a specific amount of scripture but sensing what God is saying to you and spending time reading through it slowly.
  • Meditation: Begin to meditate on the word, phrase, or sentence that has captured your attention.  Repeat that word or phrase over and over.  As you mediate on that word/phrase ask yourself: What comes to your mind as you meditate on those words? What are you reminded of in your life? What does it make you hope/long for?
  • Prayer: Begin to speak to God.  Tell God what word, phrase, or idea captured your attention and what came to mind during meditation.  How is God using that word/phrase/idea to bless or transform you? Tell God you hope this word/phrase/idea will change your heart and life.
  • Contemplation: Wrap up your time with God by focusing your attention on the fact that God is present with you.  Pay attention to your senses and feelings.  If you need to read the passage again, read it again.  If you need to continue meditating, keep meditating.  If you need to keep talking to God, keep talking to God.  Trust that the Spirit is guiding you.