By Shirley Sewell and Linda DeBurger
Approximately twelve members of The Rondeau Bay Transfiguration Partnership get together online every Monday night to discuss, well, everything: The Way of Love, Listening to Indigenous Voices, Braiding Sweetgrass, Wade in the Water, even Death of a Christian.
In Epiphany, the group decided to learn how to pray, using the Revive small-group discipleship program. (All these study topics were under the direction of Dr. Rev. Lisa Wang.)
Facilitators were coaches Shirley Sewell of St. Matthew’s, Florence, and Linda DeBurger of Christ Church, Dresden.
We recorded (with everyone’s permission!) the wrap-up. We decided to share it with you.
(The prayer formats listed below in this reflection are all explained in detail in written form in section one “Communicating with God’ in the Revive Program.)
“So, what did we like?”
“We liked the shorter prayers better than the longer, I think, and we decided we liked the STAF Prayer (Salutation, Thanksgiving, Ask, Finish ) and the Body Prayer best.”
“I think another thing, too, was that we need the prompts. You almost need an audio form of all the prayers as well as the written forms because then you don't have to stop and look to see what's the next part.”
“Another thing, I think it was very helpful for people who do the prayers of the people at our services every Sunday.”
“I feel so much more confident in doing a prayer. I'm not anywhere near the stage where I can say a prayer without probably a week of preparation. But I’m on my way!”
“I know another thing I found is that if there is something coming up where you want to say a prayer, the STAF format comes to mind right away and you just automatically put the prayer into that format.”
“I think with the different kinds of prayer we talked about, some of them are simple and some of them are long, it gives us the ability to choose, ‘Oh, I think I could do that now. I think I could say that prayer.’ I know when our regular intercessor was away a couple weeks and I did the prayers of the people, I did them differently than I did before because I used the STAF format and I integrated parts. I think it is ‘more tools in our toolbox’.”
“That’s a good way to put it.”
“Also, when else have you ever talked about praying?”
“For six weeks!”
“It’s very interesting. Dresden is doing The Way of Love, and finding the way it integrates what we have learned about prayer. Lectio Divina is one of the prayer forms this week.”
“I put a couple of those prayer apps on my phone that they suggested, and one is d365.org. The pause and go statements will stay the same throughout the week to center your mind. The middle three steps (listen, think, pray) are new text every day. I found that some of those apps are really useful.”
“In Pray-As-You-Go, if you open the app, you can do the prayer for the day, but then there's a little icon that says ‘journey’ at the bottom and it's got every kind of prayer that we talked about in a format that you can listen to and do the prayer. I thought that was interesting. It was right there.”
“Social media has a lot of things available if you just know where they are. You don’t have to say, “I don't know what to do.” All you have to do is push the button.”
“The right one!”
“Now the Pray-As-You-Go app, do you have to pay for that?”
“All good Christians want things free!”
“I think there is so much we learned in that first seven weeks, so many apps and links and now we have to sit and say, ‘Okay, what can I do, because I can’t do it all.’ I have to choose to pray in a way that is meaningful to me. I like all the prayer formats we were introduced to. I want to pray but I don’t have time to pray all day!”
“I find I do the music prayer at the end of yoga every session because we often stop with some type of a song, and I find that my mind goes right to the music prayer. Although my bones do crack, you can’t hear them over the music!”
Laughing and talking about prayer…. what a novel idea!
Shirley Sewell and Linda DeBurger are members of the Diocesan Coaching Team.
(Illustration: Seth Doyle/Unsplash)