EHS Practices – Week 8 – Day 5

THEME: A Living Rule

BREATH PRAYER: Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to Your heart.


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. Ezra‬ ‭3:11‬

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
REFLECTION

Find a quiet place to stop and prayerfully reflect over the last eight weeks of Practices in this series.

  1. Open your journal and look back over what you have written for the past eight weeks while examining Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. If you have time, read through all your journal entries. Otherwise, read your Day 5 summaries from each week.
  2. In today’s journal entry, write a few sentences about your experience of engaging in the Practices. How did you adjust your schedule to make time to do them each day? Where have you seen the Lord leading you through these studies? Has your understanding of God’s love changed in the past few weeks? In what ways did you sense the enemy putting up resistance to your Practices? Take note of what you learned, what surprised you, or where you experienced frustration.
  3. Throughout the series, the breath prayers were intended to keep our hearts fixed on Christ throughout our days and weeks. In what ways did the breath prayer help you maintain focus? Did it help you recognize God’s movement in your life? Did He grant you a moment of love or joy or understanding that you otherwise would’ve missed? These moments are answers to your prayer. Write them down, and thank God for giving You this grace.
  4. Take a moment to look at your Rule of Life from Day 1. Would you like to make any changes or adjustments to it based on what you practiced this week? If so, make those changes and give God thanks for guiding you gently into the first steps of a life-giving Rule.
  5. Offer your upcoming month to God, inviting Him to meet you regularly as you practice your Rule of Life. Think through any moments that you are looking forward to, and any future events that make you anxious or fearful. Give God thanks that you know He will walk with you through each of these moments, and pray for the grace to notice His presence throughout the coming month.
  6. As you close in prayer, thank God for walking with you throughout this journey and for bringing you into a deeper love for Him and others.

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EHS Practices – Week 8 – Day 4

THEME: A Living Rule

BREATH PRAYER: Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to Your heart.


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
PRAYER OF EXAMEN

Over the past few weeks, we have returned to the Prayer of Examen several times. It is an incredibly helpful tool, and is more valuable the more frequently we practice it. St. Ignatius of Loyola, who taught his followers the Examen, recommended praying it at least once per day.

The Prayer of Examen is extremely adaptable and can be prayed in many forms. One of which is through listening to a guided examen, an audio recording of someone leading you through the steps of an Examen prayer. For today’s practice, visit the “Pray As You Go” website and select one of the audio examens to listen to. Some are specifically designed for the end of the day, or the end of the week, and there are even audio examens for children and students. Choose one audio examen and let it guide you through the prayer. When you are finished, open your journal and write down any notes about what you noticed or remembered during your time of prayer.

If these audio Examens are helpful for you, consider bookmarking this page to come back to regularly.

Digging Deeper: If you would like to learn more about the Examen, consider reading through some of these articles and examples.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.

Closing: Thank God for helping you review your day through His eyes, and for the promise of His presence in the day ahead. Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to your heart.


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EHS Practices – Week 8 – Day 3

THEME: A Living Rule

BREATH PRAYER: Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to Your heart.


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

“Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways.” Psalm 139:37

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
BIBLE STUDY

Read Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 two times, pausing in between readings to let the words soak into your mind and heart.  When you have finished reading, take some time to answer the questions below in your journal.

  • The seed sown on the path was snatched away because of a lack of understanding by the listener.  What do you think Jesus meant by “understanding”? How might you distinguish someone who truly “understands” the message of the kingdom, versus someone who merely hears it?
  • Whether we are like the rocky ground or the good soil, our initial experience upon receiving the message of the Kingdom is the same: joy. What are some of the differences between those who are rocky soil and those who are good soil, and why is the initial “joy” of hearing the message insufficient?
  • What are some of the “worries of this life” and “deceitfulness of wealth” that you may face in your own life? How have you experienced these things “choking out” the good news of God’s kingdom?
  • Jesus said that, when the seed that is the message of the Kingdom falls on good soil, that it produces a crop many times larger than what was sown.  In your own words, what do you think Jesus meant by “produce a crop”?
  • How might a Rule of Life keep you planted in good soil, rather than the path, rocky ground, or among the thorns?

Digging Deeper: As you develop your Rule of Life, consider integrating some form of engaging with the Bible regularly.  There are many ways to do this, and some may be more helpful for you than others in your current stage of life.  In addition to traditional question-and-answer Bible study, you may also want to explore Lectio Divina, narrative entry, meditation, or other forms as well.  If one of these forms is to become part of your Rule of Life, decide when and how often you will engage in this practice.  Over time, feel free to hone your Rule of Life by changing up the way you study God’s Word.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.

Closing: Thank God, the generous farmer, for bringing the message of the Kingdom to you and for living out the good news of the Kingdom for you.  Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to your heart.


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EHS Practices – Week 8 – Day 2

THEME: A Living Rule

BREATH PRAYER: Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to Your heart.


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.” 1 Corinthians 15:49

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
DAILY OFFICE

The Daily Office, also called Fixed-Hour Prayer, has been a practice of believers for thousands of years. The Bible tell us Daniel and David, as well as the disciples in the first church, prayed and worshipped multiple times each day. The practice of the Daily Office encourages us to turn our focus toward the Lord at regular intervals throughout the day, whether we feel close to Him or not, whether we feel like praying or not. Anglicans around the world regularly practice the Daily Office through praying two or three times each day (Morning, Mid-Day, and/or Evening prayer).

If you’re reading this, you have probably already set aside a regular time of prayer to “practice” each day. Today, in addition to your current time, choose another segment of time during your day when you can spend 10 minutes or so focusing your attention toward the Lord. Ideally, one time would be in the morning and another at night, but adjust as necessary for your schedule. Set an alarm or add it to your calendar so you don’t miss it!

When you arrive at your designated prayer time, pull up the appropriate prayer guide below, spend a few minutes in silence to remember the Lord is with you, and begin. The following prayer guides are based on the Daily Office published by Mission St. Clare, but feel free to adapt them for yourself. Read through the words slowly and prayerfully, speaking out loud if you desire.

MORNING PRAYER

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Prayer of Confession

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor. [Pause for a moment and consider what the Lord would have you confess]

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

Psalm 26

Give judgment for me, O LORD,

for I have lived with integrity;

I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.

Test me, O LORD, and try me;

examine my heart and my mind.

For your love is before my eyes;

I have walked faithfully with you.

I have not sat with the worthless,

nor do I consort with the deceitful.

I have hated the company of evildoers;

I will not sit down with the wicked.

I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD,

that I may go in procession round your altar,

Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving

and recounting all your wonderful deeds.

LORD, I love the house in which you dwell

and the place where your glory abides.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever.

Amen.

 

A  Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

EVENING PRAYER

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Prayer of Confession

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

 

Invitatory Psalm (Phos Hilaron)

O gracious light,

pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,

O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,

and our eyes behold the vesper light,

we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,

O Son of God, O Giver of Life,

and to be glorified through all the worlds.

 

New Testament Reading

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:25-30

 

Collect for Quiet Confidence

O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we will be saved, in quietness and confidence will be our strength: By the might of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Closing Prayer

Let us bless the Lord.

  Thanks be to God.

The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us.

  Amen.

Digging Deeper: As you develop your Rule of Life, consider using the Daily Office as a regular practice.  The Daily Office can be found in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer as well as  Mission St. Clare.  There is even a mobile app for Mission St Clare so that you can have the Daily Office with you wherever you go.  If you decide to make the Daily Office Part of your Rule of Life, consider what time or times of day you will engage in this practice.  How many times a week will you do it?  Put it on your calendar so that you can schedule your day around it.  You may find that scheduling your day around the Daily Office is as impactful as the practice itself.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.

Closing: Thank God for the many who have come before you and, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, have shaped foundational practices such as the Daily Office.  Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to your heart.


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EHS Practices – Week 8 – Day 1

THEME: A Living Rule

BREATH PRAYER: Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to Your heart.


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:22-24‬

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
REFLECTION

As we discussed on Sunday, a Rule of Life is a guide and a structure that encourages our growth toward God. It’s a deliberate plan to keep God at the center of everything we do. For the past seven weeks, we’ve examined the aspects of emotionally healthy spirituality by engaging in a variety of practices. For our reflection today, we’ll look back through our journals from the past seven weeks of practices and reflect on what the Lord may want us to pursue further.

  • Review your journal from the last seven weeks by reading the summaries you wrote at the end of each day’s practice. Do you notice any broad themes or patterns in what you wrote? If so, write those down in your journal for today.
  • Which days stand out as moments when you learned something new about God or yourself? What did you learn that was especially meaningful to you? Make notes in your journal about these times.
  • Which of the Practices did you most enjoy or find helpful? Which ones seemed to fit your personality best? List a few of them in your journal. Ask God to highlight one of these Practices as something you could incorporate into your life over the coming month.
  • Next, review the “Settling in” parts of your journal entries. What time of day did you most often engage in the Practices? Which location allowed you the best environment for listening to the Lord? Make notes about these conditions. Based on what you see, what seems like the best time and place for you to incorporate that Practice into your rhythm of life?

RULE OF LIFE

When you have finished this reflection, write down in your journal the answer to these prompts, as a “next step” in developing your Rule of Life for the next month:

  • What one area of my emotional/spiritual health is the Lord calling me to explore more fully?
  • What one practice would I like to engage in on a regular basis over the next month?
  • What time and place will I set aside to engage in that practice, and how frequently?
  • What might I need to say “no” to in order to make room for this practice?

That’s it! The answers you just wrote down are a first draft of your Rule of Life for the coming month. Consider writing this rule down in a place where you will see it regularly and be reminded of your chosen practice.

Remember, a Rule of Life is not a rigid document. On the contrary, it will change often–probably as often as your life and schedule changes! After you’ve practiced your Rule for a few weeks, re-examine it. If you’re maintaining it and finding increased joy, peace and freedom, thank God for His guidance and care. Ask Him to lead you even closer to His heart through this practice. If you haven’t continued in your Rule, or if you’re finding discouragement, guilt or condemnation, ask Him to show you what might need to change so you can walk with Him more closely. Throughout the next month, let this Rule be something that can adapt and grow as you intentionally make time to practice your faith.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.

Closing: Ask God to help you maintain your Rule of Life in the midst of busy days. Father, set me on a path that leads me closer to Your heart.


Questions? Please email us at info@parishanglican.org

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EHS Practices – Week 7 – Day 5

THEME: Growing Up

BREATH PRAYER: Jesus, grant me a deeper love for You and for others


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.”
Luke 12:6

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
reflection

Find a quiet place to stop and prayerfully reflect over your previous week.

  1. Open your journal and look back over what you have written for the past four days.
  2. In today’s journal entry, write a brief summary of what you have experienced this week in your spiritual practices. Take note of what surprised you, what you learned, or where you experienced resistance or frustration.
  3. This week, our prayer was that Jesus would give us a deeper love for Him and for others. As you reflect over the past five days, do you see any instances of Him doing this for you? Did you sense God directing your thoughts toward someone specific, giving you a softened heart for a person or group? Did He grant you a moment of love or joy or understanding that you otherwise would’ve missed? No matter how small or insignificant they might seem, these moments are answers to your prayer. Write them down, and thank God for giving You this grace.
  4. Take a moment to look at your calendar the upcoming week. As you do so, notice what you are excited about in the coming week, as well as anything that makes you anxious.
  5. Offer your upcoming week to God, inviting Him to be with you in each event. Give Him thanks for the times you look forward to, and ask Him to provide you peace in the fearful events.
  6. As you close in prayer, thank God for walking with you this week and for bringing you into a deeper love for Him and others.

 

 


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EHS Practices – Week 7 – Day 4

THEME: Growing Up

BREATH PRAYER: Jesus, grant me a deeper love for You and for others


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.”
‭‭Psalm ‭5:11‬

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
hospitality

Lord, may our hearts and our house be a home where You are daily welcomed. Bless all who visit and live here with the gifts of Your life and Your love.
–Prayer of Blessing for a Home

When we welcome friends, family, and even strangers into our homes, we have the opportunity to practice hospitality in a way that goes beyond putting out some snacks or extra seating. In the spiritual practice of hospitality, we extend the gift of Christ to others as we welcome them to experience His presence in our lives.

Whether you share your home with guests regularly or a few times a year, engage in this practice with the aim of being a safe, open, warm person who loves and welcomes others. Hospitality happens anywhere we interact with people–our homes, workplaces, gyms, and elsewhere.

  • Begin by reflecting on a place outside your home where you have felt welcomed and lovingly received. What was it about that location that helped you feel so comfortable? Are there people who stand out in your mind as being especially hospitable? What characteristics do they embody?
  • Today we’re going to prayerfully walk through our homes and ask Jesus to cultivate His spirit of hospitality there. Beginning with your front door or entryway, walk through your house and pray for future guests to know they are welcome. Invite the presence of God to inhabit every part your home. If you aren’t at home, or can’t physically walk through the space, try to visualize each place in your mind as you pray.
  • Continuing through your house, pray over the rooms your guests most often occupy. In the kitchen, pray they will be fed well, both physically and spiritually. Pray over your living room to be a place where conversation is encouraging, edifying, loving, and truth-filled. If you have a guest bedroom, pray that those who sleep here would be deeply refreshed and comfortable.
  • As you walk, consider a few ways you could place visible reminders of God’s presence in these rooms. They might be overt reminders like a printed verse or prayer, or more subtle reminders like flowers or art or natural elements. When preparing to host friends, let these become cues to pray for the people coming into your home.

If you don’t often host people in your home, consider why that might be. Would you prefer to host one or two people rather than a crowd? Do you struggle with feeling that things have to be perfect? Take this to the Lord, asking Him to help you show hospitality in a way that reflects His love.

Digging Deeper: Remember that practicing hospitality is more about loving people than entertaining them. Invite someone to share coffee or a meal in your home this week. Order takeout or make up an extra burger–something easy that allows you to spend more time with the person than the preparations. Pray for your guest before he or she arrives. Ask the Lord to show you how you can love this person well as you enjoy time together.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of reflecting on the purpose of hospitality and praying through your home.

Closing: Thank God for always welcoming you into His presence. Jesus, grant me a deeper love for You and for others.


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EHS Practices – Week 7 – Day 3

THEME: Growing Up

BREATH PRAYER: Jesus, grant me a deeper love for You and for others


SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):

“Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instructions.”
‭Psalm 119:18‬

Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.

PRACTICE:
meditation

When we meditate on Scripture, we take a short passage and examine it closely, letting it sink into our hearts and minds and experiences. We pay attention to its subtleties. As you begin this practice, make yourself comfortable. If you’re a sensory person, use blankets or candles or other means to awaken your senses. If you’re a nature-lover, sit outside and soak in the birds’ songs and sunshine and breezes. You might play some music before you begin or in the background as you read.

Today we’ll examine Jesus’s words in John 13:34-35.

Read these two verses slowly and prayerfully, asking Jesus to guide you in your meditation. Ask Him to speak these words directly to you. If you get stuck on a word or phrase, stay there. Don’t feel pressure to finish the full passage. Look to the Lord to show you why He stopped you there and what He would like to say about it. Then sit in silence for a few moments before continuing.

Now read the verses again in smaller sections. Repeat each part several times in your mind or aloud. After each one, pause. As questions or thoughts or emotions arise, write them in your journal.

  • So now I am giving you a new commandment …
  • Love each other.
  • Just as I have loved you …
  • You should love each other.
  • Your love for one another will prove to the world …
  • That you are My disciples.

If your mind wanders, repeat the part you’re focused on. Ask Jesus if there’s something about what your mind wanders to that He might address with these words. Ask Him to help you listen and pay attention.

Again, there is no pressure to meditate on the full passage. Do not rush through simply to feel like you’ve “finished” the practice. It is far more important to hear what the Lord would say to you than to accomplish this as a task.

Digging Deeper: Jesus says He is giving His disciples a new commandment. Turn back to Exodus 20:1-17 and read the Ten Commandments God gave the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Consider how His new commandment aligns with these ten. How does it differ from them? What might the disciples have thought and felt as Jesus calls this a new commandment?

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your meditation.

Closing: Thank God for His extravagant love for us. Jesus, grant me a deeper love for You and for others.


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