Word, Share, Prayer: I feel like I’ve done this style of devotion at more workshops than I care to imagine, but each time I meet someone who is doing this for the first time. This exercise is simple and yet meaningful. Step one (Word): Read the passage. More than once is recommended. I find that twice or three times feel significant for me but you should find what seems meaningful for you. I try to hold myself to just reading the first time through and then I mark up my text or take notes the second time. Again, some experimentation will lead you to what is comfortable for you. Step two (share): Share your thoughts about the passage with a friend or write them in a journal. If you’re doing this with another person remember to listen actively to them. It’s what polite empathetic people do well. And you may hear the holy spirit speaking in your parter’s voice. I love when that happens! Step three (prayer): Pray with or for each other. If you’re doing this alone, you can simply pray a prayer you already know like the Lord’s prayer or just talk to God about what is on your heart. Or if you really into journaling, write down a prayer or try the liturgy writing exercise.
Liturgy writing exercise: reading psalms (sometimes in multiple translations), highlighting words that stick out, identify what could be used from the Psalm as call to worship or prayer of confession, and write phrases or prayers in your own words. What makes this a little different from the ‘word, share, prayer’ is that the intention is to have something ready for worship. Sometimes, I forget that ‘word, share, prayer’ doesn’t have to have a product for worship at the end, it is simply a devotional activity meant for that moment and doesn’t have to have any value afterwords. I mentioned in the Psalm 102 blog that I did a liturgy writing excercise with the Third Church Session in February 2020. We didn’t have time to do a lot of editing but maybe you do. Edit until you like what you have. Don’t forget to read it aloud when you think you have the final draft, especially if you want to use it in a worship setting. I don’t always do this (yes, I break my own rules sometimes) but I find that when I do the presentation in worship is more polished.
If you want to try any of these, click on the link for the Psalm above (my links show up as red words) or find it in your favorite Bible or digital Bible.
Here is a recording of Psalm 6:
Bonus: The Lord’s Prayer is about the amount of time you need for hand scrubbing 😉
Psalm 6 is one of seven of the penitential psalms or individual laments (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143). These psalms start with a desperate prayer that is so passionate you can imagine the person wailing and angry crying. Then suddenly, the tone changes and there is certainty that God will bring deliverance; there is hope and joy.
I love that Psalm 6 ends with the sudden realization that God has heard the cries of the psalmist. I am reminded of Hagar, she names God, and that name means something like “the God who sees me”. Being seen and heard are important. And more importantly, being known and loved. Being vulnerable is scary, but it is the only way to be truly known. Being truly known and loved is the best feeling.
I’m going to let Brene Brown do the heavy lifting with the reflection today. Here is her TedTalk on the Power of Vulnerability.
Let us pray:
Loving God, help me to remember I am precious in your sight. Hold me as I cry. Comfort me as a mother soothing her frightened child. Reassure me with your warm hug and a kiss on my forehead. Snuggle with me until I drift off to sleep. The monsters in my closet and under my bed are afraid of you. In your arms I embrace the dark. Amen.
If this was fun (or if you are staying in with nothing else to do), you can do the same type of reflection for the other individual laments (32, 38, 51, 102, 130, and 143).
I would be happy to receive recordings of Psalm readings or prayers that you would like to offer for use in the blog and “worship like experiences” our congregation.
Ok, everyone take a deep breath. Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. God look at me. Breath out. I am God’s beloved. Breath in. God is with us. Breath out. We are not alone. Breath in. Breath out. Repeat as needed.
Wash your hands. 😉