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Lent Encounter 2018

February 26, 2018

Welcome to the Lent Encounter 2018 which will run alongside our Sunday gatherings and midweek cell groups.  You'll find 3 opportunities every week for engaging God more deeply that you can engage with (scroll down to access previous weeks) :

 

WEEK 4

 

Brett shared with us on Sunday on how prayer can operate as a mirror to who we are and who God is.  You can listen here.

 

This week there is just one exercise - Prayer|Reflect which can use at the end of the day or the following morning as a mirror into your day with God.  You can print it out as a bookmark if that helps!

 

 

 

WEEK 3

 

Melissa Powell shared with us on Sunday on discovering moments in prayer.  You can listen here.

 

"Practice(s) Make Perfect

 

A spiritual practice offering the opportunity to create new habits and processes.  This week our practice is The Liturgy of the Hours (otherwise known as The Divine Office).  The early Christians continued the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night. In the Psalms are found expressions like "in the morning I offer you my prayer"; "At midnight I will rise and thank you"; "Evening, morning and at noon I will cry and lament"; "Seven times a day I praise you". The Apostles observed the Jewish custom of praying at the third, sixth and ninth hour and at midnight (Acts 10:3, 9; 16:25). The Christian prayer of that time consisted of almost the same elements as the Jewish: recital or chanting of psalms, reading of the Old Testament, to which were soon added readings of the Gospels, Acts, and epistles. Other elements were added later in the course of the centuries.  You can use it in a number of different ways:

 

Use the Traditional Pattern and Prayers

 

You can use the traditional pattern and prayers - there are lots of online resources and even apps you can use.  Search the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office to find something that works for you.  

 

Create Your Own Pattern

 

 

Take the principle of praying at set times and add it to your day in a rhythm that fits your existing commitments/patterns.  Set your phone alarm or calendar to call you to prayer.

 

 

Coming Clean

 

A confession opportunity which will often be based on the Sunday message.  This week's confession focus is "On the Run".  Capturing moments of grace on the run rather than "storing up badness"!  As you catch yourself in moments of sinful thought or action, immediately offer it to God in confession and seek his grace and help.  Experience God's forgiveness in the moment.

 

Wonder Moments

 

Wonders moments are opportunities to be surprised, intrigued and grateful at what God has done and who he is.  Sunsets, children, insights, laughter, beauty, sadness...these are all possibilities for wonder.  This week's focus is on "Making the Ordinary Sacred".  Take time to make ordinary moments sacred - here are some examples:

 

1.  Praying upon waking - it can be as simple as thanking God for a new day

2.  Grace at meals - whether together or alone - offering praise to the Provider

3.  Praying before or while you drive - just remember not to close your eyes

4.  In queues - take the opportunity to pray when you are forced to stop

5.  When you check on your sleeping kids

6.  Before sleeping

 

Get creative!

 

WEEK 2

 

Brett spoke on what the Lord's Prayer teaches us about prayer.  You can listen here.

 

"Practice(s) Make Perfect

 

A spiritual practice offering the opportunity to create new habits and processes.  This week our practice is The Lord's Prayer.  You can use it in a number of different ways:

 

Pray it as a prayer. 

 

Try this every day whatever else you might do this week.

 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,

your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Pray it as a focus for prayer.

 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,

your will be done, on earth as in heaven.

 

Take time to thank and praise God - who is our Father (close to us), whose name is sacred (so much more than us) and who has an amazing plan for all of Creation (has so much more for us)

 

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

 

Speak with God about the things you need, the moments you have hurt God, others and yourself and ask him for strength where you are weak.

 

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

 

Ask God for the awareness, wisdom and strength to participate fully in the life he has made for you.

 

Coming Clean

 

A confession opportunity which will often be based on the Sunday message.  This week's confession focus is around those parts of our lives that struggle with the idea of prayer becoming a regular and natural part of our living.  You may have written one or more of these in your Lent journal as part of our Sunday reflection opportunities.  It could be:

 

Time - which is nearly always about priorities and will call us to examine our overall Sacred Rhythm

Distractions - the absence of distraction is at the heart of worship - it takes time to practice paying attention - the key for the moment is not to allow distraction to tell us that we're not able to pray.  Refocus and keep going.   Remember that sometimes our distractions are telling us that something else is bugging us - maybe your distraction is a call to prayer for that area of life?

Confidence - many worry about whether they are praying "right".  Sunday's message suggested that what is more important than praying the right words or praying the right way is that we learn to trust God as Father.  Our posture (trust) is more important than our programming (right words) or our principles (right methods)

Unworthiness - deep down we're not convinced about God's love for us as a Father.  The Lords Prayer is in one sense summarised by the opening 2 words "Our Father".  If this is hard for you to accept, take some time to reflect or journal about why and ask God to show up as Father for you.

 

 This week's "Coming Clean" might involve you using the shiny new Lent journal you received on Sunday(!) to chat with God about what this means for your life.

 

Wonder Moments

 

Wonders moments are opportunities to be surprised, intrigued and grateful at what God has done and who he is.  Sunsets, children, insights, laughter, beauty, sadness...these are all possibilities for wonder.  This week focus on catching moments of see God the Father at work in you, around you, through you, in others etc.  The other exercises will help you with this.

 

WEEK 1

 

"Practice(s) Make Perfect

 

A spiritual practice offering the opportunity to create new habits and processes.  This week our practice is "Hey God moments".  Hey God moments are simple conversational prayer engagements which start with the words "Hey God..."  It's a simple acknowledgement that God is present and you fill in the gaps of whatever else you may want to say (if anything).  When you first wake in the morning: "hey God".  When you are driving to work or school "hey God".  When you are walking somewhere or standing in line "hey God".  Try it now.  Simple but effective.

 

Coming Clean

 

A confession opportunity which will often be based on the Sunday message.  This week's confession focus is around those parts of our lives that are focused on "comfort and/or survival" that lead us all to quickly to cycles of "fear and denial".  In other words, where our expectations or circumstances cause us to live lives that deny who Jesus says we are.  This week's "Coming Clean" might involve you using the shiny new Lent journal you received on Sunday(!) to chat with God about what this means for your life.

 

Wonder Moments

 

Wonders moments are opportunities to be surprised, intrigued and grateful at what God has done and who he is.  Sunsets, children, insights, laughter, beauty, sadness...these are all possibilities for wonder.  This week focus on capturing wonder moments in the physical world around you - natural beauty, the intricacy of creation and the 5 senses you engage the physical world with.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  What do you smell?  What do you taste?  What are you touching?  Hey God prayers and wonder moments work well together!

 

 

 

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