Locating God’s presence this past year.

reflection
image source: Biblicalleadership.com

Locating God’s presence this past year.
(The Grand Prayer of Examen)

  1. Look Back
    – Look over the past 6 – 12 months.
    – Where has the Lord been present and at work in my life?
    – What significant changes have come my way?
    – When have I been the most stressed? the most blessed, and full of joy?
    – What can I give thanks to God for?
    – Where have I been?
    – Where am I now?
  2. Look through
    – Identify any patterns, connections or themes that have characterized the past 6-12 months.
    – If you can, summarize the past year in a sentence or two.
    – Do you notice anything or patterns? specific thought patterns or emotions?
    – Ask the Lord about these patterns. How do they line up with the fruit of Holy Spirit?
  3. Look forward
    – Where do you sense God leading you forward?
    – What do you sense your spirit needs in this season?
    – What are your hopes and dreams for this coming year? Ask the Lord what His hopes and dream are for you!
    – Paint a picture of what you envision over the next six months.
    – What are you asking the Lord for in the new year? for your community, your family?
  4. Look around
    – What does your community need? How can you pray for them, help them?
    – Consider a prayer walk through your neighbourhood to help you see.
    – Who are the people you can intentionally walk with?
    – What community support do you need in this season of your life?
    – Who are the people you need to invite to walk alongside you?
    – Who are the people you can intentionally walk with?
    – How can others best support you?

Prayer prompts:

God, still my heart and mind. 

I am silent in your presence. 

You are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are fully here with me. 

Father, I look back on my year. 

Thank you for… (list off people, provision…)

God, help me to see where you were present and working in and around me… 

 …I bend my heart to you. Show me where I need to ask for your forgiveness and receive your grace. (If He brings things to mind, take time to do so.)

In humility, and renewed vision, faith and courage, I look toward the new year coming. I commit what I know and not know to you Lord. I ask for your discernment. Help me through your Holy Spirit to know you more deeply, to better love, serve, and lead others with your guidance and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

Scriptures for Reflection:

Psalm 103:2-5 (NLT)

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

Psalm 139:1-7 (NLT)

O Lord, you have examined my heart
    and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
    You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
    and when I rest at home.
    You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
    even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
    You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too great for me to understand!

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!

 

Psalm 51:10-12 (NLT)

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit[a] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.

 

I bless you with a new year of greater intimacy with your loving Heavenly Father, rich in Holy Spirit fruit, in the name of Christ Jesus! Amen!

Sources:

The Prayer Of Examen, Ignatian Spirituality

The Psalms, NLT

The Grand Examen – Locating God’s Presence in 2017 : New Life Fellowship Church – New York

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZAauF3laXQ

 

A New Year… To Refocus

A Blessed New Year. I pray you had a Merry Christmas reflecting on the love of God coming down for you.

This Christmas season was a deep one for me actually. Here’s a bit of honesty… Over the holidays, I met with many people who are experiencing deep loss. So, I found myself continually reflecting on the gift of Jesus in the midst of grief and sorrow. And I was in prayer for many of the families I minister to!

Too, I was sick for most of it so I spent most of my time in bed and drinking tea and reading books. I guess I needed that.

I’ve chosen to pray this New Year’s prayer as I seek God to renew my purpose and passion…

https://followingtrusting.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/a-new-years-prayer/

When I returned, I enjoyed a day of prayer to help me refocus on the year ahead. I asked God to bless families, to seek His wisdom, His strength, and to know His peace and faithful presence in the year ahead. I thanked God for the blessings of last year and for His direction on the year ahead… asking Him to help us refocus as families as we continue adventuring through God’s Story!

“Away From Me” or “Well Done”? (New Year Thoughts)

Wow. Reading Matthew 7 is a good way to end off a year and start a new one. Verses 21-23 is a good wake up call for all Christians.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

I pray we may test what we hear and ask the Spirit to search our hearts so that we may never be duped into thinking we truly know Jesus when we are actually far from him. Never do I want any of you nor myself to be told those horrific words.

2 Corinthians 13:5 says “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?”

I Thessalonians 5:21 also commands, “Test everything,” and I Corinthians 11:28 shows that “a man ought to examine himself before he eats the bread and drinks the cup.” I John 4:1 told early Christians to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

Examining ourselves and what we believe saves us from being shunned one day by God. It also helps us to daily live in relationship with Christ. There is nothing more fulfilling. The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe. The Light of the World. He wants to be in friendship with us. And because we are all sinners. He made a way… through the cross.

Do you love Him more than anything else in the world? Does He know you?

May you one day hear these words: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:23)

Before the New Year begins… test yourself.