Taking time to pray...

Recently, I attended Teddy Bear Camp at Judson Collins United Methodist Camp in Onsted (Lenawee County). Going to camp refreshes me and often gives me renewed perspective on faith and life. I love going to camp – especially church camp! Several years ago, I went with my family and other pastors to a clergy camp at Lake Michigan Camp and Retreat Center in Pentwater. We took time to dig into scripture, pray, and listen for how a particular scripture passage is touching our lives. I came away from this retreat feeling refreshed, yet challenged to find ways to pause for reflection each day.

It is all too easy to get caught up in our life rhythms and neglect to set aside intentional time for prayer and reflection. Being intentional about setting aside time is important and sometimes takes a bit of organizing just to make this time and space possible. Some days my quiet time with God comes when I am folding laundry early in the morning, watering flowers or tidying up different sections of our home. When we think that we can handle everything on our own and do not feel we have time to reflect, we must be reminded that Jesus took time away from his rhythms. Even Jesus, who is God in the flesh, needed to take time apart to pray and reflect. He needed a break from his work of teaching, preaching, healing, performing other miracles, and saving the world. He needed that time with God the creator to prepare himself for the next step in his ministry. In Matthew 14:23 and Luke 6:12, we read that Jesus went up a mountain to pray. In Luke 22:41-44, Jesus prayed at the Mount of Olives right before he was arrested.

we. One of my favorite ways to reflect and pray is through a spiritual discipline called Lectio Divina. This practice can take 15-30 minutes or even longer, depending on the length of the passage and how much time you set aside to read and reflect. Over the course of the time, you or another person read the passage four times. First you read/hear it with no agenda, just read/listen. The second time, you search for the word or phrase that leaps out at you. The third time, you reflect deeper on that word or phrase and pray that God would speak to you through this passage. Some even journal during this part. The fourth time, you read or listen to this passage with fresh ears. If you are participating in Lectio Divina for the first time, I would recommend reading/listening to a 3-4 verse passage of scripture. If you would like to learn more or try Lectio Divina, Diane Godfrey will be offering in the Fall a small group opportunity specifically for Lectio Divina. Stay tuned for further details. May God bless you in your time of reflection and praye

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