6 questions you can use in 60 minutes sometime over the next few days to think about this year and next (this is what I am using myself).
I wrote about using the Ignatian Examen on my facebook page yesterday. Click on the image below to download the PDF
I find that most people know they need to spend a little more time reflecting on their life, God, circumstances, the state of their heart, etc. In fact, many people WANT to do this. But commitments, busyness, crises – life – gets in the way! It is really hard to make the time. Here is handout I give to people pretty much every time I lead or plan a retreat (link to download pdf below). Use whichever question(s) you find helpful. Maybe try thinking through just one per day… Feel free to share this with family, friends, or anyone who would like some questions to help with their self-reflection. SpiritualSelfReflection
Here’s a simple prayer exercise you may find helpful. I think people of all ages or personalities can make use of it – alone or with others. Not only does it provide a creative and meaningful way to pray, but it also connects you more deeply with scripture. win. win. win.
Last week, I was reading in Isaiah and I came to this passage:
The Lord will be our Mighty One.
He will be like a wide river of protection
that no enemy can cross,
that no enemy ship can sail upon.
It would be easy enough to conceptualise this – ah, the Lord will protect me. And pray as such – Lord, protect me from… We do this all the time.
I feel there is a power in the picture. This is an absolutely beautiful and rich picture, isn’t it (go ahead, re-read it)? So why not pray the picture itself, not just the principle?
Here’s what I did:
I got a piece of paper and wrote the scripture on the top.
I drew a river and wrote the word “God” on it
I drew myself on one side of the river (stick figures are acceptable!)
I drew my enemies on the other side – naming actual things that are bothering me, attacking me, or that I feel could distract or hinder my relationship with God and the things God is wanting to do in/with me. At the time, I had three specific things in mind.
Looking at the pic, I re-read the scripture, declaring truth, God’s position, and protection from enemies: “God is a wide river. He protects me from jealousy and jealousy can not touch or affect me.”
Like I said, simple!
One could take this further, of course, by reading/praying the same thing at an actual river. Write out your enemies on papers or rocks and put (or throw!) them on the side of the river opposite you. Speak/sing/shout this scripture. In other words, make everything all the more concrete than the drawing versions.
I’ve been using this verse from Isaiah as my example, but I hope you can see how you could use other scriptures in a similar way. The Bible is FULL of pictures. Perhaps what you are reading right now could lend itself to praying this way. Give it a try.