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This week CYMT starts its discussion groups as a part of our training program.  One of the components of the weekly discussion groups is a component called Formation for Ministry which is an intentional look at the heart of ministry and gospels together.  As a discussion group leader, I am asked to participate in the weekly reflections, so I thought I would share mine here.

This week we are looking at Prayer and Spirituality with readings from Matthew 6: 1-18 and from A Sacred Way by Tony Jones.  We were asked to practice a different prayer practice this week than our normal communication with God.

I have to be honest that I have not done well with the centering prayer that I tried to adopt this week.  I choose to try and center myself on God by focusing on the word Grace and allowing the world to fall away.  I struggled to get the world out of my head.  Maybe because I had a hard week or maybe because I am terrible at pushing the world out of my mind and focusing.  I struggle to do this when I’m tired.  I’m even bad about not pushing the world out when others are talking to me at times.  I intend to continue to practice this discipline as I seek to be able to better focus on what is in front of me and also taking the time to intentionally put God in front of me on a regular basis.  I will need “grace” to make this happen.

I appreciate Tony’s journal note that said, “the discipline should be freeing not bondage.”  I have never been particularly good at the disciplines of the faith.  I was never good at the disciplines of sports either – weight lifting, running, and training.  What I have always been good at was playing?  I play my faith.  I don’t mean I play at faith.  I mean I am pretty good about having an active faith – communicating with God throughout the day, trying to make myself available to God for his purposes, and living out my call.  But, I must wonder how much better I would be at playing if I would practice and train.  To this end, I hope to challenge myself.

Tony presented the definition of spirituality to be: “The goal of Christian spirituality is to be enlivened by God’s spirit.”  I don’t like the word spirituality because it seems passive.  I feel most of our churches are passive.  They have mission statements that involve growing, seeking,  serving, etc.  and our churches primarily causally try to do these things.  I prefer grow, seek, serve, love.  I want our mission to be active.

Tony rightful argues that the actor is the Holy Spirit and therefore spirituality is not something we do but something that God does.  We have a role in the relationship to as we receive from God and communion with God.

Therefore when thinking of spirituality, I would say a spiritual person receives and gives grace. We receive from God and give of what God has embewed in us through the Holy Spirit.

I love the Henri Nouwen quote “discipline means the effort to create some space in which God can act.”  This is what I need to grow towards.

In reading from the NLT, the Matthew scripture in verse 7 says, “don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do…don’t be like them because your father knows exactly what you need even before you ask.”  I was struck to let my list of concerns go.  The list is really for me anyone so that I’ll remember to care for those I pray for instead I need to listen and respond.

“May your Kingdom come soon.” – may I make others aware of Your Kingdom now.

I was reminded to pray for today and to forgive today.

May my Kingdom work be done in secret so that God may be glorified not me.

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