I OFFER THIS PRAYER EXERCISE FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL NOURIShMENT
START WITH THREE FRIENDS
For this experience, I would invite you to choose three clergy friends. I think your enjoyment will increase if you deliberately seek out clergy in other parts of the country, and perhaps from other denominations. Contact them and ask them to participate in a unique prayer experience via the internet. Their efforts will require about ten minutes on the first workday of the week and maybe up to one-half-hour at the end of the week.
The four of you can decide whether it would work best to form a private Facebook community for the four of you or make use of a list-serve via email.
A WORD PRAYER
Each of you will agree that on the first day of our workweek, you will send the others a ONE WORD PRAYER for the week. Each of you will look at your personal week ahead and provide a word prayer addressing either the challenge or celebration that lies ahead. It may be a word of faith or a theological term that seems appropriate. For example you might choose reconciliation because you are concerned about the violence of society. Or you might choose forgiveness because you find yourself being angry at some members. Maybe another will choose praise because s/he is celebrating a significant moment in ministry. Whatever media you choose, all four words should be visible in the same document for each of you to muse and reflect on throughout the week.
A COMMUNITY PRAYER
Now here comes the fun part. Agree upon a common day at the end of the workweek—probably before Sunday worship, but whatever works best for all of you. On that day, you will try to put the four words together in a sentence prayer that you will send to each of the others. Adding the fourth word of stewardship to those above, one of you might write, “Let us praise the reconciling purpose of God that comes from being a steward of our gifts and generous in the difficult task of forgiveness.” The three others will have different sentence prayers.
It is not necessary that you know the context for the other three word choices, and it is possible that there may be some inspired prayers because you don’t know the story behind the choices.
Your commitment to each other is to try to engage in this process weekly for at least six months. Then reflect on it and see how you want to continue. You can alter the process as you proceed, but I would urge you to stick to the short responses so that regardless of the demands of ministry, each can contribute their piece.
MY PRAYER FOR YOU
My prayer is that you will begin to look forward to the exchange and feel a supportive sense of community with this small group of ministerial colleagues.