Monday, July 29, 2013

Prayer and Psalm 23 - An Invitation (Prayer Summer)

This week I'm teaching my Spiritual Formation class at Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio.

Here is the Ps. 23 handout I'll be using, as a prayer exercise, with my students.

One Hour with Psalm 23 and God

Take ten minutes to go alone to a quiet place to meet with God. When I dismiss you go quietly -- don't talk with anyone.

Don't take anything with you except for this piece of paper. Do not go to your room or car or office. Do not make a phone call or do any shopping. Do not do any "church work."

When you find your quiet place stay there for 60 minutes. Your purpose: To meet with God. The idea is: You need God in your life. You need God to speak to you, to minister to you, to direct you, to counsel you, to confront you, to empower you.

During this hour keep a spiritual journal. A spiritual journal is a record of God's voice and activity in your life. During this time when God speaks to you or reveals Himself to you, write it down.

Use Psalm 23 for your meditation. Biblically, to meditate is to ponder something. Meditation is repetitive. Like a cow chewing its cud, the food God gives us is more easily assimilated to our heart. Your purpose in this is not to get "sermon material." Your purpose is not to exegete Psalm 23. Instead, be exegeted yourself by the Holy Spirit.

If your mind wanders, write down where it wanders to. Your mind will not wander arbitrarily, but will always go to something like a burden, a hope, or a fear. I feel that one's wandering mind is a barometer of one's true spiritual condition.

After the hour return to our meeting place.

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For you are with me;
Your rod and your staff,
They comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.