Recommended Resource- Pray As You Go

Update: This post is from 2019 with a few updates. I recently returned to using Pray As You Go and wondered why I ever stopped. It’s a rich, beautiful resource which never fails to connect me to God through scripture and stillness. I still highly recommend it. 

Followers of Jesus nurture their relationship with God by “doing devotions.” We head to the bookstore, or maybe even our local church, to pick up a guide to read on a daily basis. It’s a great way to build a habit of spending time with God and very helpful for stretching us in our understanding of God’s character and Word.

Here’s where it can be problematic:

  • We’re always reading about someone else’s encounter with God in place of having encounters ourselves. We stay at a distance from God.
  • Our devotions become knowledge-driven or emotion-driven rather than Scripture-driven and encounter-driven. We may find what we read interesting, we may be stirred by the story, but are we receiving it as a call to apply spiritual truth to our life?
  • Our prayer life stays shallow if we only use the prayers of others and never practice praying ourselves.
  • We can become forever dependent on an “expert” rather than trusting God wants to speak to us right now, at whatever point we are in our journey of faith.

So do we dump the devotional books/guides and just read the Scripture? Well… Reading Scripture can be a powerful daily devotion option, especially when you use one of these approaches to give you some structure. “Just me and my Bible” can also be intimidating, confusing, and lonely.

It’s no wonder we struggle.

For many of us, we need something in between. We want to encounter God in a transforming way through the Scriptures, but we also need some guidance. I found this in between, this sweet spot of devotional practice, through a resource called Pray as You Go. 

pray as you goPray As You Go is an audio and written prayer practice offered seven days per week via a free website and app by Jesuit Media Initiatives. It is helpful for both Catholics and Protestants because it’s so Scripture driven.

  • Each session begins with a bell or chime followed by music to help you settle into a prayerful frame of mind
  • A Scripture is read
  • Reflection questions based on the Scripture are offered with time for you to respond by simply talking or listening to God
  • The Scripture is read again followed by a closing blessing

The aim of Pray as You Go is to help you to:

  • become more aware of God’s presence in your life
  • listen to and reflect on God’s Word
  • grow in your relationship with God

How I find Pray as You Go helpful 

  • Its peaceful meditative tone is a very different tone than my loud, full, rushed day. I need this time of stillness and contemplation.
  • The questions appeal to my imagination. They open me to explore the Scripture, to listen deeply, to engage it for myself. It is an experience. The questions can also challenge me to look at a passage in a new or deeper way.
  • The open-ended questions help me apply what I’m hearing
  • I feel connected to a community of believers rather than by myself. I especially like the music selections from around the world.
  • It uses texts throughout the Bible so I don’t just read my favorite passages
  • I like to settle into a comfortable chair when I use Pray as You Go. Others use it during their morning commute, on a break during the work day, while out for a walk, etc.
  • After the 10-13 minute devotion, I’m motivated to continue praying or journaling

I’d love to hear from you! 

  • Give Pray as You Go a try. How was the experience?
  • What is your current devotional practice? How is it helpful to you?
  • How have your devotional practices changed as you’ve matured in faith?

May the Lord bless you and bring strength and transformation into your life through your devotional practices. – Lisa <><

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Recommendation- Pray As You Go © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Soft and Steadfast, a prayer based on Hebrews 3 and James 1

soft-heart-cruel-world-2

Based on Hebrews 3:7-14, The Voice Translation and James 1:19-25, NRSV

Merciful One, soften my heart

Save me from hardheartedness
From evil and deceit
From mutiny and unbelief

Turn and return me
From wandering away
From petrifying slowly

Make my heart pure
Open to you
Wanting what you want

Make my heart true
Confident in you and your Word
Hearing and Doing

Make my heart noble
Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger
Rejoicing in your direction

Jesus
Heart of my heart
Keep me soft and steadfast in your nail scarred hands

Extended quote by John R. Wimmer, Blessed Endurance
The words joy rejoice as they appear in James and First Peter do not mean what they seem at first glance. The rejoicing we find here is not a shallow, syrupy, or optimistic refusal to admit that problems exist; instead, it is the realistic recognition of struggle bolstered by the decision to rejoice in knowing that God is working to bring us through strife to greater spiritual depth. Yes, it may be tough if not impossible to rejoice when suffering, but such joy will not take the form of emotional jubilance or elation.

James proclaims that suffering may be considered as joy when the encounter produces the spiritual virtue of steadfastness. And steadfastness, when allowed to flower into fullness, produces the most attractive bloom of all qualities: Christian maturity.

Authentic Christian maturity, then, is a steadfastness that we attain not by denial. It is a quality that, like any other kind of maturity, accrues with age, hard work, and a lot of bruising experience. It is the ability to redirect our thoughts beyond immediate woes in order to realize the spiritual growth that results from tests of faith.

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Prayer: Soft and Steadfast © 2017, updated 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a message for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Seeds Harvest Growth- Worship Resources based on Mark 4.26-34

open to growth

Open to Growth by Carly Swenson

1. PRAYER: Prayer to the Welcoming One by Lisa Degrenia
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed… – Mark 4:30-31a

Welcoming One,
Your mercy knows no limit
Your grace knows no margin

You reach out

Like a tree full of branches
Satisfied with the song of unnumbered birds

Like a hen collecting her newborns
Sheltering them beneath healing wings

Like a surprised fisherman
Taking up a bursting, sweeping catch

Like a good shepherd
Extending the flock in every direction

Open us, as you continue to open yourself
So all may come within the reach
Of your saving embrace

2. QUOTE: by Wendell Berry
Sowing the seed, my hand is one with the earth.
Wanting the seed to grow, my mind is one with the light.
Hoeing the crop, my hands are one with the rain.
Having cared for the plants, my mind is one with the air.
Hungry and trusting, my mind is one with the earth.
Eating the fruit, my body is one with the earth

3. PRAYER: Prayer for Growth by Lisa Degrenia
He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. – Mark 4:26-27

Sew your seed, Good Gardner
Root us in your steadfast love
Plant your faithful promises deep within
Shelter and sustain us with your healing and hope
Your strength and light
Your good and lasting fruit is coming
It is here
The glory of the harvest is yours
For you alone bring the growth

4. RESOURCE: Natural Church Development, 6 Growth Forces by Christian A. Schwarz

  1. Interdependence- individual beings are connected to each other in a larger system
  2. Multiplication- healthy beings reproduce
  3. Energy Transformation- energy already flowing can be redirected
  4. Sustainability- healthy processes are cyclical, contributing to the next part of the cycle
  5. Symbiosis- cooperation for mutual benefit
  6. Fruitfulness- healthy things bear fruit (results)

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© 2021 You are welcome to use the original portions of this work in a worship setting with proper attribution. (by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Three Key Steps for Spiritual Goal Setting

assorted color stained glass

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Pexels.com

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NRSV
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

The journey of faith is a journey of transformation- one degree to another. Expect to be transformed. Embrace it. Seek it. The Holy Spirit provides grace and empowerment for change. We provide receptivity and intentionality.

Transformation thrives in the company of grace-full friends. Gather 2 or 3 trusted souls. Answer the following questions for yourself and listen as others share. Listen without judging, offering an opinion, or sharing advice (fixing). Pray for one another now and in the coming weeks as you encourage one another in the Spirit’s good work.

1. Embrace the Possibilities

  • What are you asking the Holy Spirit to do in your life? Name the spiritual goal.
  • Is this a God-sized vision or something safe you could do in your own strength?
  • How will this change bring glory to God and/or build up others?

2. Face the truth of the Problem

  • What keeps this from happening?
  • What is beyond your control?
  • What is your responsibility?
  • What might be push back from the evil one?

3. Take a step forward in the Process of New Life

  • What practical step must you take to do your part in the transforming work of God?
  • Name it and set a deadline to start it.

What questions would you add to this list?

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Three Key Steps for Spiritual Goal Setting © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
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A Bible Reading Plan Focusing on the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit Coming by He Qi

Holy Spirit Coming by He Qi

Are you wanting a deeper connection with God? Do you long for more of God’s presence and leadership in your life? Seek the Holy Spirit through scripture reading.

Below you’ll find a Bible Reading Plan focusing on the Holy Spirit. It contains 40 readings covering the Old and New Testament. These readings fit nicely in a two-month grouping.

This plan also includes Self-reflection Questions. You can use them after your time of Scripture and Stillness. You could also use them later in the day if you do Scripture and Stillness in the morning.

If you’re using this reading plan in 2020, I suggest starting the week of May 3. By doing this, the Pentecost readings will fall just before the celebration of Pentecost on Sunday, May 31.

I hope the reading plan is helpful for you. I’d love to hear how you’re using it. – Lisa <

PS- If you don’t own a Bible, or need a translation of the Bible which is easy to read, consider using Bible Gateway. This is a free website and app with many excellent translations. (I like NRSV and The Voice) Click Here for a video demonstrating the site.

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the reading plan suitable for printing. 

Use these prompts as you read each Scripture.
ATTENTION: Read or listen to the Scripture. What word, phrase or verse captures your attention? Underline it or copy it onto a piece of paper.

CONNECTION: What connections do you see to other scriptures? To your own experience or current situation? To the character or promises of the Holy Spirit?

ACTION: What is the Holy Spirit inviting you to say or do?

STILLNESS: Spend some time in stillness with the Holy Spirit. I suggest 15-20 minutes. Settle, listen. Allow the Holy Spirit to calm and strengthen you.

WEEK 1

  • 1 Samuel 3
  • 1 Kings 19
  • Isaiah 11
  • Isaiah 42
  • Isaiah 61

WEEK 2

  • Ezekiel 36
  • Ezekiel 37
  • Psalm 139
  • Psalm 46
  • Matthew 12

WEEK 3

  • Luke 1
  • Luke 2
  • Luke 3
  • Luke 4
  • Luke 12

WEEK 4

  • John 3
  • John 14
  • John 16
  • Acts 1
  • Acts 2

WEEK 5

  • Acts 4
  • Acts 5
  • Acts 8
  • Acts 10
  • Acts 11

WEEK 6

  • Acts 13
  • Acts 19
  • Romans 8
  • 1 Corinthians 2
  • 1 Corinthians 6

WEEK 7

  • 1 Corinthians 12
  • 1 Corinthians 14
  • 1 Corinthians 15
  • 2 Corinthians 3
  • Ephesians 4

WEEK 8

  • Galatians 3
  • Galatians 4
  • Galatians 5
  • Galatians 6
  • 1 John 4

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Bible Reading Plan Focusing on the Holy Spirit
© 2020 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work with proper attribution. (by Lisa Degrenia http://www.revlisad.com) Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.