At The Well in May
Experiential Prayer is a way of using your senses and guiding your prayers very specifically. You should find that more of you is involved in the prayer process and that the results are energizing. One that we use every week is when we light the candle at the beginning of our Sunday services to represent Christ with us. We may also have “Thin Places” that are special to us (the mountains, the beach, a church or place in the garden) where we can go and have a deeper time of communion with God. Taking time to create an experiential prayer is part of the process, and will be inspired by talents or gifts that you enjoy using as well as challenging you to try things that you may not have thought of doing in this context. More information about experiential prayer and some examples can be found at embody, a lovely website , full of resources for spiritual direction.
The prayers and meditations below were written at The Well in May 2009. Groups were given the inspiration of: a saying of Jesus, a sense and an element. (These are written in the brackets, next to the title of each prayer.) They then had to come up with a prayer exercise that involved their senses and the world around them. You are encouraged to use these exercises over the month ahead to develop a new area of your spiritual journey.
For more information about The Well meetings which take place monthly at our church go here.
THE GREAT COMMISSION (“Follow Me”, Fire, Smell)
An experience for a group to share as they commit themselves to sharing God’s love with others. This is done in the context of a meal. The shared food and shared experiences build up our faith and increase our ‘light’ in the world. It is a continuous cycle of being fed and going out.
- Gather together for the meal – food and drink prepared.
- Pray to God: “Strengthen us in outreach as we step out in faith to follow His calling in the Great Commission. Set us on fire as our witness saves others from the fires of hell. Bring us back to the table to feed our spirits, bodies and souls as we share in fellowship with family and friends.”
- Light a candle to remind us of God’s presence as the light of the world.
- Smell the aromas from the candle and the food as we share experiences of God’s work in our lives on an ongoing basis. (i.e. as often as we eat).
AN EXERCISE IN LOVING GOD’S WORLD (“I am hungry, give me food, I am naked clothe me, I am sick, visit me.” Water, Touch)
This exercise involves being out in the world – a mall, traffic, a busy street, work, school etc.
- Anywhere ‘out there’!
- Get in touch with your feelings.
- Thank God for His love for the world:
- Reach out with all your senses: make eye contact, smile.
“Thank you Jesus for the purity of your living water, touch me Lord with the purity of your loving heart; Lord without your loving touch I am naked; clothe me daily with your everlasting love; hug and console me with the touch of your word; Help me, Lord, to reach out and touch those in need of your love. AMEN”
FRIDGE FORGIVENESS (“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they do”; Taste, Air)
- Go to the fridge, open it and see the bounty of God’s provision.
- Acknowledge that you are blessed by God’s grace.
- We are forgiven, so we must forgive.
- Receive and enjoy the cleansing freedom.
CONNECTION (“I am the vine, you are the branches”; Water, Smell)
- Choose a pot plant or a plant in your garden that you can care for, feed, water and prune.
- Write the phrase:’ I am the vine, you are the branches’ and ‘You are the vine, we are the branches’ and stick it on the pot, or near the plant so that you see it every time you water the plant.
- As you nurture the plant and observe its changes and progress consider your connection to God and the community.
UNIQUE (“Even the hairs of your head are numbered”; Fire, Taste)
- Light a candle in a darkened room. Watch how the flame flickers.
- Ponder God’s intimate knowledge of each one of us – each of our hairs is numbered.We are purposeful creations, each one unique.
- Pray: Thank you Lord that just as every hair has a place in the world, so does every person in the world, no matter how ‘imperfect’ to human eyes.
- Look again at the flame and think of the tongues of fire at Pentecost on the heads of the disciples, for the first time tasting the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Consider the impact this has had on your life.
FORGIVEN, FORGIVING (“Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they do”; Touch, Water)
An experience for smoothing out rough edges. You should be near water, and have some pebbles you can hold in your hand.
- Find a spot in the garden where you can hear the sound of water – a water feature, or garden sprinkler.
- Close your eyes and sit with palms up. Feel God’s presence.
- If you have feelings of guilt, animosity, anger or bad thoughts ask God to forgive you, and then forgive others.
- Ask God’s Spirit to rush through you like the water you hear so that you can be cleansed.
- Feel God’s embrace and allow him to smooth your rough edges. Hold the pebbles in your hand – you cannot do this alone: a rough stone needs water and other stones to become smooth!
- Finish your time of meditation by thanking God for His forgiveness and make a note of what you have learnt during this time.
FRIEND OF SINNERS (“I call you my friend”; Fire, Smell)
A meditation on God’s friendship with us, His comforting presence.
- Find a place where you feel safe and comfortable and at peace.
- Take a deep breath and register the smells around you. Focus on your favourite aroma.
- Pray: “Through Your cleansing fire the warmth of Your love sets me ablaze with my burning passion for the Holy Spirit. I call You my friend. The welcome fragrance when I enter Your house holds the memories of Your sacrifice, Your natural beauty surrounds me with comfort and strength. I am part of Your family, I call You my friend. Being myself in the honesty of Your presence shows Your compassion, sympathy, empathy, loyalty and divine radiation. You are my life partner, always being there. You are as solid as a rock and I call You my friend. AMEN.”
INSPIRED TO SHARE (“Even the hairs of your head are numbered”; Taste, Fire)
- Light a candle.
- Pray: Lord, thank you for coming with a message in the burning bush, please fill us with your fire to enable us to burn for you. Sharing in your body and blood, we get a taste of Your love for us – such sweetness. Your patience fills our hearts with fire.
- As God has shared his body and blood with us we can take a meal to a needy person.
FOLLOW ME (“Follow me”; Hearing, Air)
A prayer when seeking direction.
- Sit comfortably and focus on your breathing for a minute or so.
- Listen: Become aware of the sounds around you. What stands out?
- Say out loud: “FOLLOW me,” (then breathe); “Follow ME,” (then breathe); FOLLOW ME!
- What does this mean for you today? Write down your next step.
- Say it out loud!
BECOMING GENEROUS (“Give and it will be given, Lk 6:38”; Smell, Air)
- Find a quiet place in a garden, nursery or nature spot. Take your bible.
- When you are ready, read Luke 6:38 several times.
- Focus on ‘Give’: what can you share with others? Time, money, care, material goods. Thank God for these gifts that you have to share.
- Ask God for guidance, and commit to one new generous act in the week ahead.
- Conclude your time of meditation by breathing in and inhaling God’s energy.
CURRENT AFFAIRS (“I am hungry, feed me; I am naked, clothe me, I am sick, visit me”; Water, Touch)
A way of praying for the NOW needs.
- Props that you can use: a newspaper headline that portrays an issue on your heart; a stone; some clay or play dough. Set these up where you will see them often.
- Pray: Dear Lord, thank you for your blessings. Forgive me when my heart is like a stone. Remold me, like this clay. Teach me to be your hands, reaching out to those in need. Forgive me for being afraid and not trusting you, especially when you call me to reach out to those I consider “untouchable”. May your living water fill me to overflowing, so that we can offer living water to those who thirst. AMEN
- Keep praying this prayer as often as you feel the need and are led to act on the issue, or move on to a different area of concern.
COMMUNION (“I am with you always”; Air, Taste)
A meditation as you prepare to take Communion
- Meditate on God’s promise to be with us forever.
- Breathe the air, thinking of God’s goodness and mercy that gives and sustains life.
- As you share in the elements (bread and wine/grape juice) think of God’s sacrifice and how He sustains you through all the seasons of life.