For those who could not join us at the park for worship, here is one of five spiritual exercises used this past Sunday to draw us close to God.
Instructions. After choosing a friend, take turns being a Sacred Companion for one another on your spiritual journey with God. Allow at least 15 minutes for each of you to practice being a Sacred Companion by offering the gifts of spiritual hospitality and prayer.
Active Listening. Invite your friend to share on his/her relationship with God by asking a specific question like, “When have you sensed God’s presence recently?” (Other alternatives include: “How are things going in your relationship with God?” What is on your heart that you want to share with the Lord today?” “What is God speaking to your heart?” “What has God been doing in your life?” “How have you been experiencing God lately?” “How is your prayer life going?” “What are you and God working on together?” “How has your life demonstrated your love for God recently?”)
If your friend is hurting or struggling then it’s important that initially you focus your listening on that, inviting him or her to share with you and the Lord by asking a question like “What do you need God’s help with today?” or simply, “How are you?” After some empathic exchanges you can ask the other, more explicit questions that directly promote intimacy with the Lord. Then as you listen help the Pilgrim to notice examples of God’s care and action in his or her life by asking inviting open questions, reflecting feelings, and summarizing spiritual experiences.
Brainstorm an Action Step. After you have a shared understanding transition your friend into considering an action step by asking an illuminating/guiding question like, “What do you think God is leading you to do?” (Alternatives: “What is God teaching you about improving your relationship with him?” “What has God said to you from his Word that you want to work on?” “What would you like to do to grow closer to God this week?”)
Persist with asking gentle, probing questions aimed at helping your friend think about what he or she needs to work on with God.
Close with Prayer. Help your friend pick up the “Keys to the Kingdom” by offering to pray for his or her relationship with God along the lines of what has been shared. If your friend’s prayer request is unclear then ask something like, “How can we pray for your relationship with God?” (Alternatives: “How can I pray for your spiritual growth?” “What would you like us to ask God to do in your life?”)
Pray in faith, calling upon God’s grace and power on behalf of your friend’s specific request(s).