WELCOME TO WEEK 7: THE WAY OF JOY
The Parable of the Banquet Feast
Like the many who were invited to join the feast that was prepared by the Master but who were too distracted by all the things they believed were more important and a higher priority in their lives, we can miss the reality that the Way of Jesus is an invitation to experience a banquet feast of peace, of love, and of joy, that has already been prepared for us. This feast is available to us if we are willing to hear the Master’s call, respond to the invitation, and enter into the place that has been prepared for us. And, like the faithful servants who were invited to invest their master’s wealth wisely while he was away, their invitation and reward is the same that Jesus invites us to accept, as well, saying, “...enter into the joy of your Master!” (Matthew 25:21).
- Open your imagination to the Holy Spirit and enter into the story, allowing God to bring to mind anything that might be relevant for you today.
- Where in the story might God be inviting you to engage today?
- What words or aspects of the story connect with you?
- Keep these questions in mind as you engage in the weekly prayer practice today.
2. Prayer Practice: Centering Prayer
Centering prayer is the practice of allowing our hearts and minds to center themselves on the presence of God. It is not so much concerned with bringing our considerations to God as with a return to the heart, finding one's deepest center in Christ as we are awakened to the profound depths of our being in the presence of God.
First, choose a prayer word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action within you. It can be anything.
You may choose something like:
“Come, Lord Jesus, come.”
“Lord, have mercy.”
- Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, offer your sacred word in the rhythm of your breathing.
- Pay attention to the thoughts that come to mind. As they do, don’t rush past them but consider them, reflect on them, and then give them over to God.
- Continue in this pattern until your heart and mind begin to quiet and become still.
- Then, rest in the peace of this centered place in God’s presence. Savor the gift of God’s loving presence and peace.
- Finally, in the quiet stillness of this settled, restful, peace, ask if God has anything he wants you to hear. Listen for the still small voice of God’s Holy Spirit and then reflect on whatever God may have to speak into your life today.
3. Jot down any notes to keep a record of your journey.
- It doesn’t have to be “journaling.” Just capture any key thoughts, ideas, or challenges that come to mind during your time spent with God. This will allow you to track any recurring ideas or themes that God may want to guide you through.