As we come to the close of 2005 and look ahead to 2006, we must come to a place of understanding who we are and whose we are.
As an Associate of a Religious community, one of the things that has helped to stay grounded in things of God has been the requirement to do self-examination at least once a week. As you grow spiritually though, you will find that self-examination becomes as natural as breathing.
I have modified a format that will enable you to begin this practice as an act of worship, study, meditation and prayer.
Quietly Settle Into Prayer With An Attitude Of Thanksgiving
Begin by placing yourself in the presence of God, who is both father and mother to us, and so much more than we can ever imagine. Be aware of God watching you... then thank HIM for accompanying you on your journey whether you felt and identified HIS presence with you or not.
Request What You Seek And Desire
Ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help you get in touch with what has been happening to and around you throughout the day. Ask for the ability to know how the Holy Spirit is leading you through these happenings.
Reflect On The Experiences Of The Day
1. – Try to remember various moments of the day. On which event or experience do you want to focus? For example, enjoyment, repulsion, attraction of a person, event or thing.
2. a) What did you feel when the incident happened? There may have been a mixture of feelings or a noticeable lack of feelings. Were you aware of those feelings or did you become aware of them later?
-- b) How did you respond? Suppress them? Laugh? Cry? Take them out on others? Etc.
-- c) What aspects of the event helped you understand what went on inwardly and externally?
3. How was the Spirit of God present for you at that moment? Were there any signs of the Holy Spirit that you recognised in the experience? Were there any indications that some parts of the experience were not in harmony with God's Spirit? What does this indicate? For example, your own needs? the needs of others? questions? awareness of fears? awareness of gifts? Etc.
Respond To God
As an act of worship, give thanks to God who is continually with you and speak to him about how He is calling you now. [You may end with a simple prayer that revolves around the experience or if in a group, with an evening service of thanksgiving/Evensong]
This format can be used as often as you feel the need. All that will happen is that you spend more and more time with the Lord. For more helpful prayer exercises you may visit this site: http://spiritualorientations.com/prayer.html
R. Cecilia Askew
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