During the meal we had at Table Church I placed slips of paper and pencils around and visited with people to encourage them to use the papers as they wished to contemplate prayer concerns or blessings so that as we gathered in prayer together we could lift up all these things at the end of the day together. Some were quick to do so, others at some point in the meal, and others during our reflection time. A lovely space at the end of conversation where I encouraged people to listen to how God present here might be speaking now. No one seemed to mind the extended suspension of time. As I invited them back I reminded that if there was any thing they wished to lift in prayer we would take a moment for that as well as clearing the space quietly. A few feverish writers.
During the meal in my conversation with people, I discovered that some wrote a lot on one small paper and others a few words said it all. We talked about how all of this is prayer God invites and hears.
By initiating the process this way, I was hoping to promote inclusion of introverted folks. Before we entered into the prayer which incorporated Taize as the opening and at the end of each segment, I was delighted to share with them what was behind this way of developing our prayers. I briefly spoke of the use of daily review or Examen at the end of the day as a way of going back and looking for God. I shared a sentence or two about my own experience with this process not only as a way of ending a day but preparing the next with God.
Interestingly most of the prayer slips were thanksgivings. A few were honest concerns for self or others. But suspecting and knowing there may be other things, I also lifted up the fact God knows what else is on our hearts and minds and is hearing it now even when wordless.
We ended with the Lord's Prayer and a blessing we sang together.
And for that moment I could see there were many who had in fact entrusted things to God and found peace and who were hopefully carrying bread home with the leftovers.
I am grateful for God's inspiration to introduce and incorporate this element of Examen as a starting point that I pray will be nurtured quietly.
This week when we gather we will explore the ministry of listening as a part of being Christ centered community. I am eager to see how our gathering will unfold.