|Cloud, in Monroe, Michigan|
On Sunday evening, Jan. 29, I'll begin a 6-weeks-of-prayer experiment with my own church family.
At the heart of how God has directed me to teach spiritual formation is the practice of praying, and praying in a certain way (e.g., no multitasking allowed) and in a certain place (get alone with God, apart from home and work place). Note: by "praying" I mean actually praying, as opposed to talking about praying, reading books on praying, affirming the importance of praying, desiring to pray (but not actually praying - this is prayer as illusion), and telling others they need to pray.
Henri Nouwen is one of my spiritual coaches. One of my Christmas gifts was Nouwen's Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit. I've begun to read it, and read it slowly. Nouwen is a slow-cooker, not a microwave, as all authentic Jesus-spirituality is. Nouwen affirms my focus on the centrality of prayer. He writes:
"Prayer is standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart—that is, in the point of our being where there are no divisions or distinctions and where we are totally one within ourselves, with God, and with others and the whole of creation. In the heart of God the Spirit dwells, and there the great encounter takes place. There, heart speaks to heart as we stand before the face of the Lord, ever present, all seeing, within us. And there, in the place of the heart, spiritual formation takes place." (K 158)
If you're interested in joining me for six weeks of prayer that can last a lifetime, here's the information.