THEME: God’s presence is always near.
GRACE: Lord, make me more aware of your presence in my life.
- 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):
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:7-8, NIV)
- Pause for a few moments of silence.
- Choose one of the following practices.
Option 1: Meditation – J.O.Y. Prayer [5-30 minutes]
In his book Armchair Mystic, Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J. provides several great exercises for learning how to meditate on Scripture. What follows is an adaptation of his “J.O.Y. Prayer” exercise (pp. 82-83):
- Open your Bible to John 20:19-31.
- Jesus: Read the passage slowly. Focus on Jesus’ words and actions in the passage. When you are finished, consider these questions: What was on His mind and heart that day? How did He feel about the people He was addressing? Why did He say and do these particular things to these particular people that day?
- Others: Read the passage a second time, slowly. This time, focus on the other characters around Jesus, and use your imagination to see them in the scene. When you are finished, consider these questions: Why were they there? What were they seeking? What were their thoughts? What were their feelings? Their prejudices? Their fears? Their hopes?
- You: Read the passage a third time, slowly. Imagine Jesus facing you and saying the same words and doing the same things to you, today. When you are finished, consider these questions: How am I feeling about Jesus as He speaks and acts? Why is He approaching me in this way? What is He really trying to say to me? How would my life change if I were to allow this gospel message to take root in my heart? How willing am I to make those changes?
- Take a moment and thank God for showing you these things, and write in your journal any thoughts or questions you have.
Option 2: Meditation – Lectio Divina [30-60 minutes]
The practice of Lectio Divina is a form of meditation that dates back to the 3rd century. Countless Christ-followers have utilized this practice to help connect more deeply with the living Word of God.
Open your Bible to John 20:19-31 and find a quiet place to sit comfortably. Once you are still and calm, walk through the four steps below:
- Read: Read through the passage once, slowly. In this reading, familiarize yourself with what is happening in the passage. Imagine yourself observing the scene, visually.
- Listen: Read the passage two more times, slowly. As you do, ask and expect that the Holy Spirit will draw your attention to a specific word or phrase. When one word or sentence seems to stand out to you (no matter how strange or insignificant!), narrow your focus to that one phrase and ask the Lord why He has directed you there.
- Pray: Dialogue with the Lord about that word or phrase. Express your response, ask for greater clarity, talk with God in your thoughts as you would a friend.
- Rest: Spend a few moments resting in God’s presence, thanking Him for speaking directly to you.
- Summary: Write a brief summary (five sentences or less) of what impacted you most during your Scripture meditation.
- Closing Prayer: Lord, make me more aware of Your presence in my life.
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