Monday, April 28, 2008
WATCH Prayer--Talk to one another and to God
Be filled with the Spirit and speak to one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for every reason giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father."
Talking is the one aspect that most of us think about when we hear the word "prayer." However, in my experience, silence and listening are much more important than talking.
Singing, praising and readings are important parts of the Talking process. When we attend to others in the group we sometimes talk but not always. Watching and Spirit led discernment are more important than talking as we develop an understanding of others. However, talking can be an important part of a Dialogue Prayer Group. For example, by asking others what they are experiencing we gather information about what God is doing right then.
Dialogue prayer is two-way communication with God at the center of the group as a Counselor and Guide. When we think that the Lord is speaking to us about a situation, a plan or a person, the best thing to do is to stop and discuss what the group is thinking on that specific topic. For example, if I think that the Lord has a "word" for my friend Maury, I could ask him and the others if they are experiencing something similar. In this way we will get confirmation about God's guidance.We ought never move into a specific plan or program without the sense that the group confirms that they believe that it is God's will.
This is a continuation of the socialization process, which requires a group dialogue about their sense of the Lord's "Still small voice" at that particular time. This discussion or dialogue will keep members from "going off the deep end" with an idea or dream that is not from God. It also teaches younger Christians how to discern more accurately the Lord's voice. It provides a safe place for interpersonal discipline to take place. Talking during Dialogue Prayer is not rude or intrusive it we stay on the same topic.
Talk also involves teaching, sharing, scripture discussion or questions about a topic. We recently experienced a powerful time of God's voice when a member shared insights about the return of Christ. After a few minutes, others told of similar insights and words so the group focused on that as a particular theme. Later, I mentioned that a thought continued in my head and I wanted to know if others could confirm it. The thought was, "Don't look back" and I knew what it meant to me.
Immediately a group member said, "The hair is standing on the back of my neck. I got the Scripture Luke 17: 32 but I didn't know what to do with it. You read it Gary, I think it must be for you.
"I opened up the Bible and read "Do not be like Lot's wife." Well, the hair on my neck also stood on end! No biblical character is better known for looking back than Lot's wife. She is the most common metaphor for disobeying God and not trusting His deliverance when she turned around and longed for Gomorrah. She turned to salt as a result.
I took that as confirmation. Then, another member said, "I kept thinking, 'Where do you want to go today?' and I think that means to look ahead."
This is an example of Welcoming, Attending and Talking.