The ancient words of the Jesus Prayer, Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, surfaced in my mind. They have been with me for many years, like a deep, inner fountain. When I wake up in the night they are there – those strong, affirming words. They were with me as I sat in the crumpled car…I was wheeled to the operating room. I asked a question about what kind of anesthesia was being used. I was answered, and then told to breathe deeply. I knew that once I went under the anesthetic I might not come out of it, not in this life. I was not afraid. The Jesus Prayer was still with me, a strong rope to which I held like a sailor fallen from a ship…My only prayer was the Jesus Prayer and that was there for me because it has been a part of my inner rhythm for many years, the prayer that fulfills Paul’s exhortation to pray constantly, at all times and in all places.
– Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That is Higher
Practicing the means of grace minimizes the (brainstem’s) impact on teaching and learning. Disciplines of prayer and meditation may not eliminate downshifting (moving into survival mode mentally) but they can reduce its intensity and duration. People who practice the means of grace will downshift less deeply and will recover more quickly. Building the classic spiritual practices of prayer, Scripture reading, and meditation into both our personal lives and our classrooms buffers downshifting’s destructive consequences.
– Thomas R. Hawkins, Loving God With All Your Mind: Equipping the Community of Faith for Theological Thinking
In many ways, acts of devotion – the private spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, fasting, and inward examination that bring us face to face with God – are the most demanding part of the General Rule, since it is during these times that we most directly enter into the presence of God.…we are the ones responsible for developing disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and personal reflection that will ultimately refine us as Christian disciples. It is in those moments of quietness, with nothing to distract and nowhere to hide, that God will deal with us most personally and shape our discipleship most directly. – Gayle Turner Watson, Guide for Covenant Discipleship Groups
· What acts of devotion do you practice?
· How do they support your whole spiritual life?
· How do they change your reaction to stress?
· How do they support you in difficult times?