Prayer Guide







Starting Point: Fountain of Solitude

Destination: Community Park

Directions: Step out of the closet and go in to the world. Leave the solitude and get involved in the community.

We should not try to seclude ourselves from this world. Let's look at Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.1

Paul does not tell us to not be of the world, He says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” This means we are to be in the world but not allowing the world to determine who we are. We should always be listening and following the Will of God. This is the idea behind this next style of prayer.

Benedictine prayer is the original form of Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina dates back to ancient times when illiterate monks and nuns would listen to their literate brothers and sisters read scripture. Again the purpose of Lectio Divina has never been Bible study but to be moved by the very words of God. Thomas Keating said “think the text (but not) about the text.” Or in the words of St. Benedict, “listen with the ear of the heart.
Benedictine prayer is not designed to take people out of the world to find God. Benedictine prayer is designed to enable people to realize that God is in the world around them.

Prayer is meant to call us back to a consciousness of God here and now, not to make God some kind of private getaway from life. On the contrary. Prayer in the Benedictine tradition is a community act and an act of community awareness…

...Benedict called for prayer at regular intervals of each day, right in the middle of apparently urgent and important work. The message is unequivocal. Let no one forget what they are really about. Let no one forget why they have really come to this life. Let no one forget the purpose of life. Let no one forget to remember, ever. Benedictine spirituality is not a spirituality of escape; Benedictine spirituality is a spirituality that fills time with an awareness of the presence of God…
…Benedictine prayer is communal. Benedictine prayer is prayer with a community and for a community and as a community. It is commitment to a pilgrim people whose insights grow with time and whose needs are common to us all. Community prayer in the Benedictine tradition is a constant reminder that we do not go to church for ourselves alone. It is a chosen people, a human race, a body of faithful who stand in witness, first to one another, that God is God. And yet it is not that there is no room for the self here. It is just that the self grows best when self is not its end. To say, "I have a good prayer life, I don't need to go to church" or "I don't get anything out of prayer" is to admit our paucity, either on the communal or the personal level.2
In Benedictine prayer the emphasis is on regular prayer and community. In practice we would gather at the church one to three times daily for group prayer. I know in this fast pace world in which we travel long distances to work this is basically impossible. I propose this to be done with your family in the morning before school and work and or in the work place during break time with fellow Christians. Another option would be weekly or monthly with a prayer group.
Prayer Time:
  1. This is similar to the pointers before on Lectio Divina except this time it is done as a group.
  2. The best size of the group is between 4 and 8 people and there should be a group leader who coordinates the process and facilitates sharing.
  3. This works well before larger meetings.
  4. It works best if done on a regular schedule, daily, weekly, monthly.
  1. The leader will need to choose a text to read before hand
  2. Begin with prayer asking for the Holy Spirit to guide the group in Hearing God’s words to them
  3. Start with allowing the members to quiet themselves
  4. One person then reads aloud the passage of scripture, as others listen for especially one part that is meaningful to them. Immediately repeat this reading.
  5. After the second reading sit in silence for 1 to 2 minutes. Each person hears and silently repeats a word or phrase that was meaningful to them.
  6. Each person then speaks out loud the word or phrase that stuck out to them. There is no elaboration at this time.
  7. Another person now reads the same passage out loud.
  8. After third reading there is silence for 2 to 3 minutes. During this time each person reflects on “where does the content of this reading touch my life today?”
  9. At the end of the silence each person briefly shares what they heard. “I hear; I see…”
  10. Now a third person reads the same passage a fourth time.
  11. After the reading all sit in silence for 2 to 3 minutes. This time reflect on “ I believe God wants me to …today/this week.”
  12. Each person now shares aloud at somewhat greater length the results of their reflection. Each person should be especially aware of what is shared by the person to your right.
  13. After full sharing, pray for the person on your right.
  14. Anyone may pass at any time. If you would rather pray silently instead of sharing with the group, simply say so and end in Amen.
  1. Prayer is not simply a series of exercises. It is to be a process of coming to be something new
  2. Changes in attitudes and behaviors are a direct outcome of prayer.
  3. A sense of community is both the bedrock and the culmination of prayer. I pray to become a better human being, not to become better at praying
  4. We pray to see life as it is, to understand it, and to make it better than it was. We pray so that reality can break into our souls and give us back our awareness of the Divine Presence in life. We pray to understand things as they are, not to ignore and avoid and deny them.2
  5. In Benedictine Prayer we are looking for God to show us how to become a better community, to teach us how to be servants. It is an emphasis on us as a part of the sum. We are no longer individuals on our own but individual parts of a larger group. Romans 12:4-5 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.3
1The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.)Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
2Benedictine Prayer: A Larger Vision of Life by Joan D. Chittester, OSB
3The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (Ro 12:4). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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