God's Geek

Reflections and random thoughts of a geeky youth worker in North London...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Examening things

On Saturday, I went along to a training day that was led by Jenny Baker and organised by Urban Saints. The day was called 'Leading Young People into the Presence of God' and was exploring the use of contemplative prayer in our own lives and in youth ministry. As I expected, Mark Yaconelli's book Contemplative Youth Ministry was referred to a lot, which is good, as I think it is great and I am still working through some of the things that the book brought up for me personally and in youth ministry.

The training itself was great - well presented, with brilliant notes and excellent visuals. SOmeone I was with commented that this really helped her to focus. However, the best bit was that we didn't just hear about these things but were led through the Awareness Examen, Lectio Divinae and left to explore some prayer stations.

I wasn't expecting to hear much that was new and in a sense, I didn't but I have come away deeply affected by the Awareness Examen. In its simplest form, it is a way of reflecting and praying through life. It is best done daily, and takes the form of 2 questions:

For what moment was I most grateful for today?
For what moment was I least grateful?

Praying through these things can help to discover not more about ourselves, where God is leading us and perhaps, most importantly for me at this time, where God is during the good, hard, ugly and uplifting moments of each day. A much better explanation of the examen can be found in the book 'Sleeping with Bread.' I haven't finished reading it, but it feels like its words are gently watering my soul and is just the ticket for me at this moment!

Here's how I hope to see it used:
After having used this off and on before, I want to use this daily on my own
I also want to introduce this to my family - me and Neil, but as Daniel grows, I think it will really benefit him as well
We always share News of the Week in youth groups, but I would love to structure it more to focus it on the Awareness Examen.
I plan to use the Examen to focus and help in meetings. I think this will help review things as well as provide a place for everyone to be listened to.

Also, I saw these LED rechargeable candles on Saturday - they are fantastic and I really want some!

There are other training days across the country. If you are nearby, I would recommend going along...


Blogger Phil said...

sleeping with bread is an awesome book. i love it.

i've been loosely incorporating examen type stuff into a couple of our youth groups for a while now. recently, when we did a review with one of the groups, that was the one thing they said they wouldn't be without.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

It is still having an amazing effect on the start of groups - they listen so much better now!

10:35 AM  

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