Do you get sidetracked as easily as I do?
I so often get distracted by letting my focus wander to where it was never supposed to go.
Now, here I am again…
Man, there are so many “voices” out there; so many “answers” that look like something good. Then, before I know it, I’ve gotten tangled up pursuing something I dearly wish I hadn’t!
(Will I ever learn?)
Sometimes I get so impatient waiting for things to change; to get better. I want to make the miracle appear by making all the broken stuff disappear.
(Like I could ever really pull that one off?)
If ever there was a time when we all need to” stay on track”—today is that day.
So, with that clearly in mind, (and taking into account my own tendency to wander) let us ask the Holy Spirit for the help we need—because He is always ready and willing to provide for us—and tenderly, lead us back to where we are supposed to be.
I’ve blown it again.
Please help me to focus today on what You have called me to.
When my attention wanders, and my feet stumble off the path I should be on, help me to get back on track—and stay there.
“My steps follow in the tracks of your chariot wheels,
always staying in their path,
never straying from your way.
You will answer me, God; I know you always will,
like you always do as you listen with love to my every prayer.”
Psalm 17:5-6 TPT
I know that you love me—miracle… or not.
From the book, Sensible Shoes, by Sharon Garlough Brown
“I want to give you some time to leave your distractions behind so you can be fully present to God,” Katherine said. “So go ahead and make yourselves comfortable where you’re sitting, and I’ll lead us through a palms-up, palms-down prayer. Have some of you done this before?”
There were murmurs around the room.
“It’s a simple way of praying,” Katherine continued, “but I find the physical gestures help me focus on letting go and receiving. Think of the things that are worrying, troubling, and distracting you, and place your palms down as you turn those cares over to God. Then when you’re ready, turn your palms face up to receive what God has for you. Feel free to release and receive as many times as you need to…”
Praying the Examen
The prayer of examen was developed by Ignatius of Loyola in the sixteenth century as a discipline for discerning God’s will and becoming more attentive to God’s presence. The following is an adaption of his spiritual exercise.
Think of the prayer of examen as a way of sitting with Jesus and talking through the details of your day. In the examen we slow down and pay attention to the data of our lives. We notice our thoughts, actions, emotions and motivations. By taking time to review our day in prayer, we have the opportunity to see details we might otherwise overlook. The examen helps us to perceive the movement of the Spirit and to discover God’s presence in all of life.
As you begin to pray, still and quiet yourself. Give thanks for some of the specific gifts God has given you today. Then ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your thoughts as you prayerfully review your day. Let the details play out like a short movie. Pay attention both to the things that gave you life and to the things that drained you. Notice where the Spirit invites you to linger and ponder.
These are some questions you can adapt and use in the examen:
When were you aware of God’s presence today? When did you sense God’s absence?
When did you respond to God with love, faith, and obedience? When did you resist or avoid God?
When did you feel most alive and energized? When did you feel drained, troubled, or agitated?
Having reviewed the details of your day, confess what needs to be confessed. Allow God’s Spirit to bring you wholeness, grace and forgiveness.
Finally, consider these questions: How will you live attentively in God’s love tomorrow? How can you structure your day in light of God’s presence, taking into account your own rhythms and responses to the movement of the Spirit? Ask for the grace to recognize the ways God makes his love known to you. (from Sensible Shoes)
I plan to read the whole series…
If you have not found a book for your summer reading? I highly recommend this book, and the other three in the Sensible Shoes series.
A friend at church recommended this book and I devoured it!
(I have just started Book 2, Two Steps Forward.)
These books follow Meg, Mara, Charissa and Hannah, who are all searching for God’s presence in their own lives and issues. They have met at the New Hope Retreat Center, and though each is full of doubts and trepidation, they have decided to take their “spiritual journey” together.
Stay tuned for a review on Book Two.
This book has helped with so many wonderful spiritual insights, and so, I will be learning right along with the rest of you!