Friday, July 26, 2019

On the Porch * Dear Linda #2

Hey, you're back!

If it's the weekend, then we're On the PorchAnd yes, there's plenty of room for you here.

You never know what you'll find when you stop by ... some Scripture or maybe a few links or snapshots or something that caught my eye during the week.  Or, like we have again today, a simple question that deserves focused conversation, like this one left by Mary Geisen in the comment section last week.

Mary hosts a weekly blog link-up ... if you're writing online, do slip over to her place on Tuesday morning and join the happy throng.  She's a delightful hostess and you'll get to connect with all kinds of creative types.

Such fun!

She writes ...
I always love spending time with you.  Thank you for inviting me to sit on the porch awhile with you.  I have been interested in Lectio Divina and the process of diving deeper.  Ruth Haley Barton explained it well.  Have you ever dived deeper into Lectio Divina?

Hi Mary!

Thanks for tucking your little question into the comment section last week!  After I answered it, I knew I wanted to include it in a Dear Linda post because prayer is such a vital part of our Christian life.

Or should be.

Ruth is a superb spiritual guide.  I found her to be a mentor-from-afar when I was making my way through the women-in-ministry minefield back in the day.  She's spoken powerfully over time on issues of women in ministry, solitude and silence, and church leadership.  I was able to attend one of her retreats years ago, her books line a shelf in my office, her blog is excellent, I love getting her newsletter in my inbox each week, and her podcast is well worth the investment of 30 minutes.  Here's a link to her resources.

Yep, I'm a fan.

In answer to your question, I've tried Lectio Divina a few times here and there but it didn't work for me ... it felt kind of forced and a bit outside my comfort zone.  

What I do appreciate is simply sitting with whatever Scripture I'm reading for the day and stopping when a few words speak to me.  I reflect on those words, repeating them to myself, breathing deeply until they become embedded in my soul.

While I don't do Bible memorization like I did when I was a little girl {in the KJV, of course!!}, meditation on just a few simple words has calmed me often, focusing me on the beautiful strength of His Word for the here and now.  It speaks to whatever challenges and situations I'm facing and has deepened my prayer life.

Over the years, my most focused praying has been through journaling.  Putting pen to paper in the presence of the Savior has been a lifeline, a grace, a salvation.  After I've unpacked, my mind has stopped spinning because I believe I've been heard, my thoughts and emotions validated.  My heart is open to Him and I find clarification and peace. 

Most nights, I pray myself to sleep.  Literally.  What a way to finish off the day, connecting with the Lover of my soul.  Sure beats counting sheep or tossing and turning.

And sometimes, I invite people in my world to share their requests with me and I do a kind of informal day of quiet prayer as I make my way through the hours.

Like this weekend when the schedule is open and all around me is still.

Your sister in Christ ~

If you've got a question you'd like to chat about On the Porch, please leave it in the comment section ...

Or email me at linda stoll @ juno . com.  

Dear Readers - what's your prayer life look like?  Is it waxing and waning, strong and powerful or, like mine, somewhere in between?

I'd love to pray specifically for you this weekend.  Please leave your prayer request in the comment section.  Email readers, click on the post title to join us.

Bloggers - please feel free to link up your best and brightest post this week.  The floor is open ...

Weekend's loveliest blessings to you, to yours ~

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visiting with
Mary & Sue


  1. Hi Linda! This is my first time at On the Porch. I love the concept! Thank you for allowing us to share.

    I am not a good Bible memorizer either, but I do have some favorite verses I can recite from heart. I often pray myself to sleep too, on the good nights. On the bad nights my anxiety gets the best of me and I have difficulty turning my worries over to God.

    Here is the post I would like to share:

    It's on what we can learn from stargazing!

    1. Laurie, hi! Thanks for kicking off the weekend with me.

      I hear you about the anxiety ... you might find this little breathing thing to be helpful

      I do this with my counseling clients at the beginning of our sessions together.

      I claim it for myself when anxiety begins to creep in. And then I simply whisper Jesus' name ...

    2. Let me know how it works for you!

  2. I was first introduced to Lectio Divina at a youth workers conference several (many several) years ago. I like different ways of engaging others. I was able to use this a few times with our men in recovery too. It can be a concept hard to get and not something I've ever practiced on my own. Good topic, as usual. Thank you.

    1. I love that this worked for your men in recovery, Debby ...

  3. My greatest prayer is that I stand
    and face my cruel and fatal foe
    with unblinking eye and fisted hand
    and tell the b****** where to go.
    I pray I do not bow and cringe
    and leave tear-puddles on the floor,
    but that I seek to gain revenge
    for all that has been lost, and more.
    May this cancer shake in fear
    at the mention of my name,
    and yearn, perforce, to disappear
    while I, and I alone, remain.
    Lord of all that is bright-sacred,
    gird my love in holy hatred.

    1. You are a cancer warrior indeed, friend. How can I pray for you today?

    2. Linda, an emailed prayer request should be in your inbox.

    3. Praying right now, Andrew ...

  4. Hi Linda, I've led Lectio Divina retreats and SOAK retreats. And now want to learn more about inductive bible reading (maybe even be able to teach it too one day) which ends also in prayer. As you can guess, I love learning and leading a group in these quieter, prayer type of activities! I have some left over booklets from these retreats that include instructions and love to see others direct them. If anyone would like a copy let me know!

    1. I would love to have a copy, Lynn ...

      I'm imagining you as a gentle, wise, and patient facilitator. It means so much that you'd share your material with us.

      Bless you, girl ...

      (please shoot me a quick email!)

  5. Thank you, Linda, for extending another porch welcome to all of us! Here is a link to my latest post: Thanks so much for your prayers, too, my friend.

    1. I love that you're here, Martha ... always so supportive and encouraging!

  6. I think of prayer as a child talking to her Father. So forms seem artificial to me. I'm not saying they're wrong - they do help some people. But I don't come to any other conversation with a form or a process or a list.

    But sometimes, especially if my thoughts are scattered, I'll pray through Scripture, like Colossians 1:9-11 (no better prayer requests that that!) I also sometimes pray what we call "the Lord's prayer," expanding on each phrase.

    I'm trying to remember to pray as I read Scripture instead of compartmentalizing my quiet time into reading and then praying (or vice versa). If I read praise, I try to stop and praise God. If I see something I need more or less of in my life, I try to talk to God about it then.

    I used to think something wasn't "officially" prayed for unless I had prayed about it in my devotional time. But I don't cram all my conversations with other loved ones into one slot in the day. So I talk to God all through the day, praising Him for a beautiful flower or sunset, thanking Him for protecting me from the driver who ran the red light or helping me find a lost item. If someone sends me a prayer request or I see one on Facebook, I try to stop and pray right then. When I first wake up in the morning and my brain can form thoughts, I try to give God the day and ask His help for it. I'm trying to remember to pray as I drift off to sleep as well.

    My biggest prayer requests: loved ones who don't know the Lord.

    My main blog post this week was on the difference between literary redemption and biblical redemption:

    Thanks for sharing your porch with us!

    1. You are living the beautiful 'pray without ceasing' passage, Barbara. Communing with God throughout our days is the abundant life indeed.

      How very blessed we are ...

  7. It's always good to read about other people's experiences of connecting with God. Journalling helps me a lot too! If you could pray for me as I get ready to lead a camp for young people next week, I'd appreciate it. The week leading up to a camp always feels stressful no matter how well prepared I am!

    1. This is awesome, Lesley! I'm praying for joyful energy and many 1 - 1 opportunities for you to share Jesus' love with the kids.

      Can't wait to hear about the week. Bless you as you go ...

  8. I guess I am very much out of the loop - LOL! - but I had never heard of this phrase, so I googled it, and I am completely intrigued! I think I may already practice this on a regular basis, but just didn't know what it was called! I would love to sit with you on the porch, Linda, and there are some heavy burdens on my heart today that I would ask you to pray with me about. Not things that I would want to express here publicly, but I would feel comfortable asking you face-to-face. You are such a blessing and mentor to us all and make us feel so very welcomed and loved. May the Lord bless you today, sweet sister!

    1. Cheryl, please know that I'm lifting you up in prayer right now. How good that the Lord knows every detail ... we don't have to spell it all out for Him or each other.

      Praying that you'll find Him faithful ...

  9. Good morning and Happy Sunday! Thank you for diving deeper into my question. I agree with many of the points you make above. I am not one usually for focused or scripted prayer but do hope to learn more about it. It has been swirling in the back of my thoughts for awhile so I would love to know more. It's interesting that you highlight the act of journaling. I was just talking with several friends how the physical act of journaling is refreshing as well as comforting for me. I believe it adds one more layer to my prayers and allows me to leave them before Jesus with peace. Great thoughts and as always I wish I was sitting with you in person on the porch.

    1. Journaling ... the words you used resonate, Mary.

      Refreshing, comforting, Jesus, peace.

      This is why we go there ...

  10. You are always peaceful, inspiring, and challenging, My Friend. I agree with nothing forced. Read until the Holy Spirit says, "WHOA!" and then meditate on Why He stopped you. I am an on again-off again journaler. Right now I am off---with school approaching the world has turned busy.

    What works for one, may not for another. Keep reading The Book and searching for God's insight into what He is telling you. He never fails to reveal His truth when we are seeking Him.
    Blessings, My Friend!

    1. Thanks for that nudge to pay attention to the Spirit's promptings, Lulu. His WHOAs are powerful and most worthy to be heeded!

  11. Pray myself to sleep... something I should try doing. Or pray myself back to sleep. Sleep continues to not happen very well for me. Always appreciate the love and kindness in how you share your wisdom, Linda.
    Blessings to you.

    1. Beth, hi! Check out my response to Laurie, our first commenter. There's a link there on deep breathing that may be helpful to you.

      And please talk with your doctor on this. Without deep, restorative sleep we absolutely struggle to live well.

    2. Thank you, Linda. I hopped over to your post referenced in your response to Laurie. I am working with my psychologist on the sleeping issue. I see her again on Thursday and will discuss how what she currently has me on isn't working. I do try the deep breathing too, and a couple other techniques my therapist gave me. I had a week recently when sleep was much better and could tell how much that impacted my mood.

    3. Oh I'm so glad you're working with your psychologist on this, Beth!


  12. When I can't sleep at night, I often will meditate on just a few words of scripture to give my mind something positive to think about. I love your answer here to Mary, Linda. Such wisdom.

    1. The Spirit faithfully whispers the Word to us in those o'dark thirty hours, doesn't He ...

  13. I am sounds like there is a lot of Lectio Divina going on with many posters. If this definition is right, don’t we do this often? Def: “Lectio Divina, literally meaning "divine reading," is an ancient practice of praying the Scriptures. During Lectio Divina, the practitioner listens to the text of the Bible with the "ear of the heart," as if he or she is in conversation with God, and God is suggesting the topics for discussion.”

    I guess there is books to follow and that can feel scripted? I find a need for that at times cause my mind goes blank and the Spirit don’t seem to be a flowin’

    1. Yeah, sometimes I want a bit of a guide in my hand or someone here in front of me to lead to teach me. And other days I want nothing more than the Spirit to show me Jesus.

      I think there's room for both ...

      And always more room for Him to fill.