VLI: Leader’s Self Understanding and Spiritual Formation Lecture 5

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  1. Match Informational and Formational readings of Scripture with their descriptions and characteristics. (Sect. 45)
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  2. Explain (in 1 sentence) the purpose of Lectio Divina and explain (in 1 sentence each) its six steps.
    (Sect. 46.2)
    Lectio Divina’s purpose is to read Scripture for formation, not information.

    • Ready
    • Read
    • Reflect
    • Respond
    • Rest
    • Return
  3. Match Kataphatic and Apophatic Prayer with their corresponding descriptions and dangers. (Sect. 50 & 51)
    • Kataphatic Prayer (via positiva/the positive way)
    • Kata: according to, in accordance with, corresponding to, with
    • Kataphatic prayer is based in images, words, perceptions, and ways we talk of or think about God.
    • Dangers: We may soon begin to focus on these human constructs that describe “God” rather than on the living God.
    • All of our images, understandings, and perceptions of God, even at their best, are woefully inadequate and fall short of the reality of who God truly is.
    • God is always greater than our best representations, images, and ideas about him.
    • Apophatic Prayer (via negative/the negative way)
    • Apo: away from, out from.
    • Apophatic prayer is prayer without images, words, or symbols.
    • Apophatic prayer emphasizes that the all-transcendent God is incomprehensible and wholly other.
    • Apophatic spirituality/prayer calls for the abandonment of all concepts, thoughts, images and symbols. The goal of this is nothing less than full union with God.
    • Dangers:
    • Along this path, there are many God “experiences” that one might have.
    • These experiences and revelations can become traps for spiritual pride, and they also can have an addictive quality about them.
    • Teresa of Avila says that God gives these to people who are beginners because experiences and revelations are somewhat weak in their faith and need the encouragement.
    • The trap is that we memorialize these “blessed,” God-given experiences and them make them the standard by which our future prayer times are judged/evaluated.
    • Ironically, in the journey into this type of prayer, God eventually begins to withhold /remove the experiences, the “candy,” so that our relationship with him will
    • become one of pure faith.
    • Conclusion:
    • Both Kataphatic and Apophatic avenues of prayer are inextricably linked to one another.
    • The unknowable, incomprehensible, and transcendent God has spoken in his word and through the Living Word, Jesus. The transcendent God is also radically present to us.
    • This presently revealed God is at some level always incomprehensible, transcendent, and wholly other.
    • In our natural life we need to inhale and exhale to live. Practicing both of these forms of prayer is very important; it is like inhaling and exhaling. It is not one or the other, we need them both
  4. Recognize the description and benefits of Fixed-Hour Prayer and the descriptions of Breath Prayers and Centering Prayer. (Sect. 52.1–52.3)
    • Fixed-Hour Prayer has its origins in Judaism, was practiced by the early church, became foundational for monastic communities, and has had a place in the Christian church even to the present day.
    • The practice of Fixed-Hour Prayer calls for regular and consistent patterns of prayer which lead to one being able to attend to God throughout the day.
    • Benefits gained through the practice of Fixed-Hour Prayer.
    • It interjects set prayer times into the everyday routine of our lives.
    • It calls us to turn our hearts and minds back to God throughout the day.
    • It interrupts our daily routine and calls us to remember that all of our life is lived before God.
    • It connects us with the people of God around the earth who are entering into the rhythm of praying the Hours.
    • Breath Prayer: This form of prayer flows out of the desire to live in an awareness of God’s presence, aswell as to begin to live out the biblical command to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17; seealso, Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Col. 4:2; Phil. 4:6).52.2.2 The most well known Breath Prayer is what is known as the “Jesus Prayer.” The original form of the prayer is, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”Other forms of the prayer add a few short phrases, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of David,have mercy on me, a sinner.” Either form captures the essence of the prayer. Breath Prayers are intended to help prayer become as natural as one’s breathing.The prayers are short and can usually be prayed in the cycle of inhaling andexhaling. The repetition of the prayer helps to ingrain it into your life. “This short repetitive prayer frees you from linear thought and allows you to begin topray in your body, not just your mind. It is meant to be lived, breathing rhythm ofsurrender. And it is a constant reminder of the One in whose presence you stand.”
    • Centering prayer is a popular method of contemplative prayer or Christian meditation, placing a strong emphasis on interior silence. Its intention is not to use words, but to just “be” in God’s loving presence.
  5. Recognize the Prayer of Examen’s description (Sect. 52.4.1–52.4.4), what it looks like (Sect. 52.6), and its
    outline (Sect. 52.4.9)
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VLI: Leader’s Self Understanding and Spiritual Formation Lecture 5
2011-11-28 16:36:38

Lecture 5: Approaching Scripture and Prayer
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