AMY>>> The second step of prayerful reading is reflecting. It’s like an animal chewing the cud - we turn over a word or phrase that we feel God has highlighted to us from the Scripture text. We let God’s word interact with our thoughts, hopes, and dreams.
AMY>>> After reading and reflecting, we read the text again and this time we respond - we give to God any prayers of petition, intercession, thanksgiving, praise or lament. We trust that God welcomes our prayers of response.
AMY>> The fourth step might be the hardest for modern people! We rest as we read the text prayerfully for a fourth time. We don’t have to do anything, but just enjoy God’s presence.
3. How is encountering God facilitated in a group setting? What are the differences? Benefits to our personal praying? Potential detours?
AMY>>> God delights to meet us whether on our own or in a group setting. When we meet with God in a group setting, we might feel a bit hindered from, say, letting out all of our emotions. And we might want more silence or less silence than we’re given. But the potential benefits of praying with others definitely outweigh the challenges. There’s something special about the way God reveals himself when we’re praying with others. We might experience breakthroughs that we wouldn’t have encountered on our own. And we can reach a new level of intimacy with those in our group too.
4. How do these concepts help us reimagine prayer?
AMY>>> Hearing God in prayer makes it a delightful adventure! Of course we need to learn discernment - I didn’t get it right when I thought God was telling me to marry a certain man - but when we open ourselves up to listen to God we find him leading us in exciting and transformative ways. A great place to start if this practice is new to you is praying with the Bible, asking God to speak to you through his words revealed there.
AMY>>> God doesn’t want us to bury our pain; rather he welcomes us to express it to him in prayers of lament. That might sound old-fashioned, but it’s simply crying out to God, releasing to him our sadness and disappointment. Nearly half of the Psalms are prayers of lament, so we have wonderful examples of how to do so. Check out Psalm 22, for example, with its four-step lament. David starts off with addressing God, then he voices his complaint, then he asks God for help, then he comes to an expression of trust in God.
AMY>>> Placing ourselves into a gospel story with our imaginations can be a transformative experience! The first time I tried out this practice, I was surprised at what came up (something rather embarrassing, which I share in the chapter on gospel imaginative prayer). As we enter the story, God seems to delight in engaging our whole selves, meeting us in ways beyond just a rational engagement.
AMY>>> Remembering in prayer, whether looking back over a day or a longer period of time, can help us to see where we’re moving towards God or away from him. If it’s the latter, we can then make an adjustment and seek to restore our relationship with him.
5. Amy, please write a prayer for those of us who are limited in our praying to telling-asking-listing-informing God.
AMY>>> Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveal yourself to us in ways that speak to our hearts and minds. Thank you that when we turn to you, even just a little bit, you run towards us with open arms. Help me to receive your love today. Amen.