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Vitality Step 1: PRAY

Back to Vitality Intro Page
Forward to Hospitality

Our Congregation wants to engage the Vitality Process.  Where do we start?

Congregations that are committed to an intentional season of prayer, discernment, and seeking a deeper connection with God, each other and the world are invited to begin with the following first steps:

  • let your conference dean know you are committed to the vitality process.  Your conference dean will inform the Synod Vitality Leadership Team, and someone from that team will connect with the pastor.
  • Invite 3-5 people to covenant to be a Vitality Team for the congregation for the next 12 months.  This team works closely with the Synod Vitality Leadership Team to connect the Vitality resources and processes to the congregation.  This team keeps the congregational council and the whole congregation informed about ways to engage vitality.  This team works with congregational leaders to facilitate an overall year-long process of intentional, learning, action, and reflection. This team, in connection with the Prayer Team, may choose to host a 4-6 week book study of the book Into the Silent Land.  Use THIS RESOURCE to commission this team during worship.
  • Invite 3-5 people to covenant to be a Prayer Team for the congregation for the next 12 months.  This team commits to a daily practice of centering prayer individually, and at least a weekly practice of centering prayer together.  This team also provides the council, pastor, and congregational leaders with tips and resources about how to incorporate centering prayer and other prayer practices into the life of the congregation.  This team may work with centering prayer groups in the community to provide opportunities for deeper learning and experiences around centering prayer (workshops, retreats, etc). This team, in connection with the Vitality Team, may choose to host a 4-6 week book study of the book Into the Silent Land.  Use THIS RESOURCE to commission this team during worship.
  • Post a link to THIS VIDEO introducing centering prayer on your congregation’s web site, and post THIS INTRODUCTION to centering prayer in a central place in your campus (narthex, resource shelf, fellowship hall, etc).
  • Share THIS RESOURCE and THIS BLOG POST with the congregational council and committee/team leaders, and invite them to explore how the commitment to prayer and discernment will inform the way meetings are executed.
  • Plan on a 4-6 week preaching focus on prayer.  This focus can incorporate the assigned Lectionary readings.  The worship planning team might consider inviting a series of testimonies on prayer practices to be shared during worship.  At least one week might include the pastor sharing about their practice of prayer.  These testimonies are not to be about the ‘results’ of prayer, but rather the deepening of connection with God through the practice of prayer itself.
  • Within 6 weeks, schedule a coaching call with the Synod Vitality Leadership Team to reflect on the first phase of intentionally grounding the life and ministry of the congregation in prayer.

What’s next?

As the congregation is engaging in an intentional practice of prayer and listening to God, it’s important to also be considering the practices of hospitality, invitation and welcome.  The first coaching call will guide you through this next phase.

Stop, Look, & Listen Prayer (Contemplative)

Stop!

  • Stop whatever you’re doing
  • Perhaps set a phone alarm to remind you
  • Take a deep cleansing breath or two to clear the “stress palate”
  • Get ready to Be Still! (to Know God)

Look!

  • Step back
  • Find a place to sit comfortably
  • Perhaps its your “spiritual spot” around home
  • Turn on your app (see below for information)
  • Remember that you are part of a bigger picture
  • Let’s look to get a “God’s eye view”
  • And, “know God!” (not just “about” God)

Listen!

  • Simply listen into the quiet for the “still, small voice” of God
  • Like Jesus off by himself to a quiet place….(Mark’s Gospel)
  • Repeat your “Sacred Word” when you start thinking
  • It helps you stop “thinking about what you’re thinking about” & focus from God
  • It opens the door to be aware for God’s Specific Word to you in your moment.

“You are my child.  I love you.  I am pleased with you.  I am with you.” – God
Here value, satisfaction, purpose & future are revealed

Twenty Minutes, Twice per day, Maybe 12 hours apart
Helpful App at your app store   ®  Centering Prayer
(red, blue, green, & orange box)

Helpful Web Site – www.contemplativeoutreach.org

This material prepared by Pr. Rob Carlson, DEM-FBS-ELCA 2019 (06/2019)