Moment of Meditation
by Rev. Ineda Adesanya
To Prepare: Enjoy a soothing cup of tea.
Settle in to a quiet, comfortable space.
Light a candle as a reminder of God’s Holy presence.
Consider your deepest desire or longing.
Narrow that down to no more than five words.
Take several deep, centering breaths – in through nose and out through mouth.
Close your eyes and silently repeat your 1-5 words, leaving space for the Holy Spirit to participate in your prayer. Strive for 20 minutes.
“God is spirit, and those who worship [God] must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24
Spiritual Life Assignment No. 1
October 8, 2016
Greetings Family and Friends,
Notice: This week pay attention to love.
Journal: Write down when you find yourself extending, witnessing or receiving love. Write down also when you find yourself or witness others withholding, rejecting or displaying the opposite of love.
Pray: At the end of the week, 1) read your journal writings out loud; 2) sit silently and listen with your heart for five minutes; 3) offer a prayer to God over your list.
Spiritual Life Assignment No. 2
October 25, 2016
Read: One day this week pick a scripture from the Book of Romans. Any scripture will do. But you must stick with the scripture you pick. It can be as short as 2 verses up to 1 full chapter. Read the scripture in the morning when you wake up and then sit quietly for 3-5 minutes. Try not to think about the day ahead or anything else. Try to hear the text with your heart. After 5 minutes (maximum), go on with your day.
Pray: Around lunchtime, re-read the scripture and offer a prayer that God will reveal to you why you chose this scripture. Ask God what it means for you and listen for God’s response by being quiet for a few minutes. This is just a beginning. God will respond in God’s time. We just have to pay attention. Go on with your day.
Journal: At the end of your day (before retiring for the night), read your scripture one more time. This time write down whatever comes to your mind, for as long as you feel you need to write. End your writing with a brief prayer of thanks. Sleep well.
Spiritual Life Assignment No. 3
November 13, 2016
BE GRATEFUL: Set your alarm to arise 15 minutes early. Greet the One who woke you up! Thank God for five things. Hint: You already have one. Despite life’s circumstances, we should always express gratitude to our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
PRAY AND REFLECT: Read slowly the words of this old prayer, as if it were your own. Don’t say AMEN or otherwise close your prayer. Leave it open throughout the day as you connect, here and there, with Holy Spirit.
A Prayer for the Nations (1918)
As of old Jehovah’s working out of his will, in every land,
And it runs through all the ages, like a weaver’s hidden strand.
Centuries with God are moments, and a thousand years a day;
Kingdoms rise and wane and perish, others come and pass away.
‘Tis not wealth alone, nor numbers.
Justice makes a people strong,
Righteousness exalts a nation,
Victories to God belong.
Give us then, O God, thy blessing! We rely upon thy might,
Gird our men [and women], and make them heroes,
Glorify the Cause of Right.
By Walter Henderson Brooks, in Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans,
James Melvin Washington, ed. New York: Harper, 1994.
ACT: Near the close of your day, consider today’s prayer, consider what Jesus would do and what God might be calling you to do in response. Write down some notes. Close your prayer.
Spiritual Life Assignment No. 4
January 8, 2017
Friends and Family,
This is a season of prayer! For this January assignment I encourage you to pray three times a day. You can pray extemporaneously, choose a known prayer or you can pray with me the following published prayers:
MORNING: God, please give me the courage of my conviction this day. Help me not to waver. Help me not to procrastinate. Help me not to rationalize. Help me not to play games with myself. Help me to stand strong with Thee. Lord, help me not just to give what I have but to give what I am. – Marian Wright Edelman, Guide My Feet.
AFTERNOON: God of love and forgiveness, God of life and wholeness, in Jesus you say “yes” to us: yes to new beginnings, yes to our dreams, yes to hope and healing. May we say “yes” to you in our words, thoughts and actions, this day and always. Amen. – from Prayers for All Seasons
EVENING: In sleep may our body be rested. In sleep may our soul be renewed. In sleep may our dreams be carriers of truth borne by the night’s visiting angels. In sleep may we know you in love, O God, in sleep may we be known by you, the Lover of every living soul this night, the Lover of our ever living soul. – John Philip Newell, Sounds of the Eternal.
Spiritual Life Assignment No. 5
June 18, 2017
Friends and Family,
Do you have an altar, a sacred space, a sanctuary where you can go on any day of the week? A place reserved specifically for dedicated time with or for the Lord? A place for prayer, contemplation, and meditation; a place for the study of God’s Holy Word; a place where when others see or know you are there, they are less likely to interrupt or call you away; a place for respite or preparation in support of God’s call on your life?
Some of you may be thinking that God is always with me; prayer cannot be confined to a special place; or that sounds like idol worship to me.
Indeed, God is omni-present, everywhere and always available to us. The question is whether we are always available to God. A sacred space helps us to center ourselves and focus on the Lord; his ways, teachings and on God’s will. It is simply a tool to help free us from the distractions of the world so that we might be able to discern truth in the midst of our busyness or even chaos. A sacred space may include objects representative of our faith in Christ. However, it is not the objects that we worship nor the sacred space itself.
This month, I encourage you to locate or create a sacred space of your own. Here is what you will need:
ACCESSIBILITY – Your space may be indoors or outdoors. I believe that Jesus’ sacred space was outdoors and in solitude. The bible describes several instances where Jesus went away alone, often to a mountain, to pray. Your space could be a prayer room, including the one available at Allen Temple! It could be a space within your home, an area of a garden, or a labyrinth, for instance.
ITEMS OF FAITH IN GOD – Your sacred space should include some items representative or reminiscent of your faith in God. These might include a bible, a cross (reminder of God’s ultimate love for us), candles (fire is often used as a reminder of God’s Holy Spirit within us), water (natural or collected; a stream, lake, or just a bowl of water), rocks or plants (things that represent nature and God’s creation, or other sacred texts like books of prayer. Remember these are all tools to help you focus on God and to remind you why you are there. We don’t worship objects.
SCHEDULE – Once you have found or created your sacred space, you must schedule a regular time to go and be there. Set both day(s) and time and try to stick to it. Your sacred space will become meaningless idol & idle space if not used. Make a covenant between you and God. Make it a spiritual practice.
Finally, using a sacred space should and must not take the place of other forms of praise, worship and prayer. Though my sacred space is an important part of my spiritual life, I pray throughout the day almost everywhere I go. I also love both being in church on Sunday’s and being an active part of the Church, through service and witness, the rest of the week.
In the Spirit,
Rev. Ineda P. Adesanya
Spiritual Life Assignment No. 6
July 1, 2018
Friends and Family,
We know how important self-care is to our overall well-being. We’ve considered and acknowledged how Jesus regularly took time away from his active ministry for rest, prayer, reflection and contemplation. Self-care can take many different forms. Some ways may include going to the spa, getting a massage, taking a long, leisure walk, attending a concert, being alone, being with friends, treating yourself to a favorite meal, going on a retreat or taking a vacation. Yet, these activities do not automatically produce or result in self-care. Sometimes, I need a vacation after my vacation! A simple common goal of self-care is to provide or allow for care of yourself that nurtures and sustains.
This month, I encourage you to engage in contemplative self-care. To make your care contemplative, you need to seek and find God’s presence therein. Here is an outline:
Discern a Self-Care Activity– Through prayer and with patience decide what you will do and/or where you will go.
Pray Again– Pray that God will reveal Godself in your activity through the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name.
Act– Go! Rest, run, sing, fly, soak. Seek to enjoy whatever it is you have decided to do to care for yourself. Check in periodically to look and listen for God’s presence with you. This is different from knowing intellectually that God is with you. Try to pay attention to “how” you know.
Write– After you have returned or completed your activity, take time (at least 30 minutes) to write about your experience. Get your favorite beverage and just write. Write whatever comes to mind for at least 30 minutes. Close your time of writing by acknowledging God’s grace, mercy and participation in your activity and in your life.
In Jesus Christ,
Rev. Ineda P. Adesanya
Spiritual Life Assignment No. 7
August 26, 2018
Contemplative or Sacred Listening is a core to my work as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director. Those of you who regularly attend our Small Group sessions have experienced a form of contemplative listening. A related and equally important skill to have in our growth as Christians is that of Spiritual Reading, a process for reflective reading. I invite you to follow these simple instructions and devote some time this week to some spiritual reading of your own.
Select a biblical or other devotional reading of interest. This can be scripture or a poem or prose, or even your Sunday School lesson. I like the writings of Howard Thurman. Allot ½ hour sittings for spiritual reading at a time and place during which you will not be disturbed. Choose a place that you associate with prayer, rather than study or work. For instance, don’t use your home office if that is generally a stressful place. Go out into the back yard or some place that is generally peaceful.
Begin each reading session by consciously centering yourself and letting go of the events of the day. One way to do this is to sit quietly and first pay attention to your breath and be grateful for it. Pay attention to your body and notice areas that may be uncomfortable. If you can, comfort yourself by shifting your position or otherwise relieving the discomfort. If you can’t shake it, just acknowledge it and then intentionally put aside all the other things on your mind. Imagine putting each thought about everything you need to do in a temporary box.
Read and Write
Now be open to allow the reading to engage aspects of your person different than when you usually read. In other words, prepare yourself for prayer. Read slowly, meditating as you go. This means, when you reach a place that captures your attention, stop and explore it. Write down significant reflections and insights whether positive or negative. If something seems strange or off-putting, try to “get underneath” the literal meaning of the words to the spirit behind them. Write down your reflections to use in your on-going prayer life. If possible, share them with a prayer partner. (process has been adapted from the SFTS Program in Christian Spirituality)
Reverend Ineda Adesanya