Scripture: Mark 2:1-12
Week 7: Sunday 20th October
Theme: Sabbath Rest for the Land
- Read what aid agencies are saying about climate change (Tearfund, Christian Aid)
- Read ‘Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World – And Why Things Are Better Than You Think’ by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
- Read ‘Just Living’ by Ruth Valerio
- Make a habit to pray for the world regularly, privately or in your missional community
- Use the prayers listed below
- Ask God to show you areas where you can bring hope in a grieving world
- If you’ve not used up your allowance this year, book some holidays!
- Imagine what you would do with a short career break
- Use a carbon footprint calculator to find out more about the impact of your lifestyle
- Make one change in your behaviour in October. Tell someone in church or your MC what you’ve done.
Week 6: Sunday 13th October
Theme: ‘When you Pray…’
Scripture: Matthew 6:5-15
Practice: Prayer of Examen
The Examen is a simple, four step way of reflecting and praying through the day. This prayer tool outlines how to start praying the Examen.
“The Examen is an immediate solution to the problem of ‘what do I pray about?’ The answer is: everything that’s happened to you today. You might have the impression that your everyday life is the dreary same old, same old. It isn’t. Daily life is rich and meaningful. Every encounter, every challenge, every disappointment, and every delight is a place where God can be found.” Jim Manney
Practice: How to Pray the Lord’s Prayer
- ‘God on Mute’ by Pete Greig
- ‘Prayer’ by Richard Foster
- Bridgetown Church Podcast: Prayer
- 24/7 Prayer ‘Help me Pray’ resources
Week 5: Sunday 6th October
Theme: Rest for the body
Scripture: Mark 2:23-28
Practice: Digital Sabbath exercise cited from https://practicingtheway.org/rest/part-five.
Below are a few suggestions for how you can limit your use of technology:
- Decide on a window of time you will spend with your phone powered down and put away. This could be the full 24 hours of Sabbath or a few selected hours on that day. Whatever you decide, try to stick to it! (Note: nothing here is a permanent commitment, so we challenge you to try the full day!)
- Decide on what you will and will not use your phone for on Sabbath. You might decide that you can text or call on your Sabbath, but that you will not scroll on social media, browse the web, or check email.
- Delete the apps you waste a lot of your time on (e.g. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, News etc.). You can always re-download them after Sabbath!
- Make any social plans for your Sabbath ahead of time so you don’t need to be on your phone the day of (e.g. schedule your call with a sibling, decide when and where you will have coffee with a friend, etc.).
- Set limits on media. There’s nothing wrong with watching a movie or your favourite show on your Sabbath, but a binge is not likely to lead you into greater rest and worship. If you’re prone to binging, set a limit for yourself (e.g. One movie, ______ episodes, etc.)
- Explore Sabbath activities that don’t require a phone, internet, or a screen. If you’re prone to vegging on Netflix, try picking up a book. If your family bonds over movies, try a board game or a walk in the park.
Practice: Design Your Sabbath
- ‘Sabbath as Resistance’ by Walter Brueggemann
- ‘Garden City’ by John Mark Comer
- ‘Keeping the Sabbath Wholly’ by Marva J Dawn
- ‘The Sabbath’ by Abraham Joshua Heschel
- ‘Subversive Sabbath’ by A.J. Swoboda
Prayer: Psalm 131
Week 4: Sunday 29th September
Theme: An Introduction to Silence & Solitude
Scripture: Luke 5:16
- Put away your phone or any other distractions, settle into your time/place, and get comfortable
- For most people, sitting with your back straight, shoulders relaxed, legs on the floor is a good start.
Others do better lying on their back in a relaxed position.
- Some of you may prefer to do this exercise while walking or doing something simple with your hands, like washing up or drawing.
- Begin with a breathing prayer
- Close your eyes.
- Take long, deep, slow breaths (if you want, count 4 seconds in, 4 seconds wait, 4 seconds out, repeat).
Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth.
- Start to pay attention to your breathing. Just “watch” your breath go in and out.
- Release the constant chatter in your mind. Let each thought go as quickly as it comes, and just focus on your breathing.
- Your mind will seize this opportunity to run wild with thoughts, feelings, memories, to do’s, and distractions. That’s okay. Don’t judge yourself, feel bad, give up, or worry. When you notice your mind start to wander, just recenter with a quick prayer, like, “Father…” and come back to your breathing.
- In the beginning, just 1-2 minutes of this is a huge win, and 10 minutes is flying.
- Spend a few minutes “abiding in the vine”
- Transition from your breathing prayer to “the practice of the presence of God.”
- Notice God’s presence all around you, in you. For some people it’s helpful to imagine the Father is sitting in the chair across from you or on a throne.
- Welcome his love, joy, and peace from the Holy Spirit.
- If you want, open your mind and imagination to listen for God’s voice, or get something off your chest in prayer.
- But the main goal here is simply to “be with Jesus.” Don’t feel like you have to “do” anything. Just relax and enjoy his presence.
- Close in a prayer of gratitude and commit the rest of your day to the Father
A few things to note:
- You can’t “succeed” or “fail” at this practice. All you can do is show up. Be patient. This takes some people years to master. Resist the urge to say, “I’m bad at this” or “This isn’t for me.” Don’t judge yourself, especially if you’re an overachiever type.
- If you’re more of an “S” on the Meyer’s Briggs, and sitting still is just death, you might want to try this while doing a stretching exercise or going on a walk somewhere quiet and distraction free (like a park or short hike). Apply the same idea to a walking prayer, and just focus on your walking instead of your breathing.
Practice from practicingtheway.org
- Ruth Haley Barton Podcast Season 5 Episode 2 Beginnings
- ‘Invitation to Solitude and Silence’ by Ruth Haley Barton.
Prayer: Psalm 46
Week 2: Sunday 15th September
Theme: TRAINING vs TRYING – The Spirit of the Disciplines
Scripture: Galatians 5
Practice: Recap on the Learning Circle questions.
This week review the follow on from the previous conversation using the Learning Circle.
John Coe – Resisting the temptation of Moral Formation (requires a free sign up/login)
Prayer: Psalm 1
Week 1: Sunday 8th September
Practice: The Learning Circle questions.
When God speaks or nudges us very often the challenge is dwelling on what he says and following through in obedience. The learning circle is a simple visual tool to help disciples discuss and discern together how God may be speaking to us. Imagine the sorts of conversations Jesus would have had with his disciples in the gospels.
Why don’t you grab some people from your MC and use the learning circle to deepen your conversations as you reflect on this Sunday’s message.
1. ‘The Divine Conspiracy’ by Dallas Willard
2. ‘The Life You’ve Always Wanted’ by John Ortberg
3. Ruth Haley Barton Podcast Season 1 Episode 1 ‘Dangerously Tired’
Prayer: Psalm 84