Spiritual Disciplines // STUDY AND SELF EXAMINATION
This week was different for many of us. Today as I (Chris) write this, I am without power. We have heat from a gas fireplace, and coffee from a gas range and an Aeropress; but we have had to adjust. This moment has forced us to be relied upon by others (having a way to make coffee makes you pretty popular during a power outage) and we have had to rely on others (note to self: always have at least 3 days of clean laundry on hand). This week, Lead Pastor Isaac reminded us through the biography of Nehemiah that we NEED each other. This much Scripture devoted to who was next to who should cause us to pause; what does God want us to notice? Today we will spend some time with the Prayer of Exam that we introduced last week. But first let’s meditate on Paul’s words to the church in Corinth:
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.1 Corinthians 12:12–13 (NLT)
As we move to the Prayer of Examen, pay particular attention to how you’ve both received the care of others, as well how you’ve participated in caring for others lately. We are one body that moves and breathes in our reciprocal love for one another.
Note: Many of you will be doing this devotional in the morning. That’s great! I’ve found this to be even more helpful in the evening when my day is still fresh in my mind.
Find a quiet place and begin breathing slowly. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of God’s Presence.
REPLAY: Think over your day (or previous day) in your mind. Allow it to play like a movie running through your mind. What sticks out to you? Pay particular attention to moments where you felt emotions. Were there moments you felt happy, sad, anxious, or angry? Make note of these – write them down.
REJOICE: Spend time thanking God for the obvious things. There will be moments that stick out; but don’t forget to thank God for the not so obvious moments. Were you healthy? Did your favorite song come on the radio? Were you able to enjoy a good meal? Did your children not bother you in the bathroom? Don’t let the obvious crowd out the small moments of blessing.
REPENT: There will be moments of regret! Did you participate in gossip? Did you bend the truth at all? Did you exaggerate something? Did you react harshly to someone? These are all sins of COMMISION (doing something wrong) as opposed to sins of OMISSION (not doing something RIGHT). Did you miss a moment where the Holy Spirit prompted you to do something? Did you ignore a need? Repentance is a gift – it postures us to receive afresh God’s kindness. God receives our sins, as offered through a repentant heart, and offers full grace. Take a few breaths to receive His grace.
REBOOT: Make a commitment to walk out today filled with the Holy Spirit, empowering you to live a good and pleasing life God. The Psalms tell us “His mercies are new every morning.” Today is a fresh opportunity to walk in obedience.
This is the Prayer of Examen! I like to finish my time with a short walk or just sitting in silence experiencing the peace of knowing God is with me. This process is good and helpful to do once – it can change your life to participate on a regular basis!