Up Experiences

This summer try these various experiences to help you in your “Up” relationship with God. To download a document and list you can put on your wall or fridge click here: Up Experiences Checklist

Prayer walk around your neighborhood –

Simply walk alone or with someone else from your household around your neighborhood. Ask God to open your eyes to what God might want to show you. When something gets your attention, let that guide your prayer. For instance, a neighbor’s house, pray for them and their family. If you see some kids toys, pray for the kids in your neighborhood.

Pray together with a friend or someone from your digital neighborhood –

Reach out to another person or a few people to plan a time to get together outside or socially distant OR on a phone or zoom call to share prayer requests and then spend some time praying for each one. Don’t wait for someone else to initiate, be the first to see who is willing!

Memorize a scripture passage and meditate on it –

You could choose any passage, but we will list some here. Breaking it into small chunks and posting it in places where you will regularly see it will help you memorize it. Then “meditate” on the passage by trying to go deeper and deeper on the meaning of the passage and it’s relevance for your live.

Lectio Divina: Divine listening to scripture – 

Instead of reading to amass information, Prayerful reading is meant for our transformation—an encounter with the living Jesus.

RELINQUISH: Begin with a prayer giving up any agenda you may bring to the passage.

READ: Choose a Bible passage and read through it several times, slowly. Pause at any word or phrase where you sense God’s invitation. Circle, highlight, or underline it. (Try small portions of Psalm 139, Romans 8, John 15, Matthew 6, Mark 10, Luke 24, and other short stories from the Gospels, if you’re looking for a good place to start.)

REFLECT: Place yourself in the scene. Involve your senses. Focus on how Jesus wants to reveal himself to you.

RESPOND: Open your heart to God, acknowledging what God is doing and receiving it. Speak or write down the words or picture that Christ has given.

REST: A simple, loving focus on Jesus and a joyful rest in His presence. Receive God’s love for you.

Visio Divina: Divine looking at a work of art –

RELINQUISH: Begin with a prayer giving up any agenda you may bring to the time and the piece.

READ: Choose a work of art and look through the details several times, slowly. Pause at any aspect of the art piece where you sense God’s invitation. Here is a piece if you area having a hard time choosing, but it could be any work of art: Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son

REFLECT: Look at the piece of art. Involve your senses. Focus on how Jesus wants to reveal himself to you.

RESPOND: Open your heart to God, acknowledging what God is doing and receiving it. Speak or write down the words or picture that Christ has given.

REST: A simple, loving focus on Jesus and a joyful rest in His presence. Receive God’s love for you.

Visio Divina: Divine looking at nature –

Head to a spot in nature that you appreciate.

RELINQUISH: Begin with a prayer giving up any agenda you may bring to the time.


READ: Look around at the scene several times, slowly. Pause at any aspect of the scene where you sense God’s invitation.

REFLECT: Look at the nature around you. Involve your senses. Focus on how Jesus wants to reveal himself to you.

RESPOND: Open your heart to God, acknowledging what God is doing and receiving it. Speak or write down the words or picture that Christ has given.

REST: A simple, loving focus on Jesus and a joyful rest in His presence. Receive God’s love for you.

Daily examen for a week –

To notice both God and your God-given desires throughout the day. Ideally done in the evening or before bed.

Developing a rhythm of coming into the presence of God to ask, ‘When today did I have the deepest sense of connection with God, others and myself? When today did I have the least sense of connection?’

1) Start by taking 2-3 full, deep breaths and settling in. Reflect on your day.
2) Give thanks to God for all the things you’re grateful for today.
3) Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and discernment.
4) Review and recognize failures, the moments in the day where you made mistakes.
5) Ask God for forgiveness and healing so that you can move on.
6) Pray for tomorrow, asking for help with any moments that might be difficult.

Silent meditation and centering prayer –

  1.  Find a quiet space where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
  2. Sit in a way that allows you to be relaxed in body and alert in mind.
  3. Gently close your eyes.
  4. Allow your heart to open to the presence of God.
  5. Whenever you become aware of a thought, no matter what its nature, bring it to God.
  6. Use a “sacred word” to give it to God’s Spirit:

This is a word or short phrase that helps you to let go of thoughts. It is a reminder of your intention to remain open to the silence. Generally sacred words fall into one of 2 categories: “God” words/phrases such as “Abba”, “Jesus”, “Come Lord” or “state” words/phrases such as “love”, “peace”, “be still”. Sacred words are not used as mantras, as in constantly repeating them, but as a reminder of your intention to remain open.

7.   Continue this practice for 10-20 minutes. At the end of the time get up and go about your 

           business, leaving the practice behind, in the same way you let go of your thoughts.

8.   People who are just beginning, and are particularly restless in mind and body, may find it        easier to start off with shorter prayer periods, perhaps only 5 minutes per sit to start.

9.   Then after a few days extend the time to 10 minutes and so on until you are able to sit for    20 minutes. Give the practice at least 2 weeks before you decide if it is right for you.

Lord’s Prayer reflection –

As you pray each stanza of The Lords Prayer, pause to offer prayers in each category:

Our Father who is in heaven Holy be your name

(prayers about God’s character)

May your kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven

(prayers for God’s kingdom to come and make the wrong things right)

Give us this day our daily bread

(prayers for God to meet your needs of the needs of those around you)

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us

(prayers of confession asking God to forgive you and help you forgive others)

Lead us not into temptation

(prayers for God’s leadership in your life and family)

but deliver us from evil

(prayers asking for protection from God)

For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Worship Music Soaking –

Prayer and listening to worship can slip into an isolated activity of the mind without intentional times of embodiment and expression. Choose a worship playlist, like this one that Aashish has on Spotify and take as many distractions away as possible. Choose a sacred space you feel safe to pray or sing out loud. Let yourself “soak” in the worship music.

Listen – Let the lyrics wash over you. Try to truly take in that the truth about God is true for you in your life. Let God’s love for you sink deep into your soul.

Pray: Listen to God, and listen to your body—how does your body want to express your inner world to God? Examples: Arms raised, palms open, kneeling, spread out, etc.

Sing: what songs are you drawn to as a way of expressing your heart to God? Sing along, or make up your own song. Notice your body while you are singing: your postures, your expressions, your movements, your feelings.

Half Day Personal Spiritual Retreat –

Even in this unusual time, getting some time alone with God can still happen. You may need to plan ahead and really fight for it, but I encourage you to give it a go! We have created this Personal Spiritual Retreat guide to help you structure your time if that is the kind of thing you find helpful.

Perhaps take some time to look it over and plan 3-5 hours where you can get away to recenter yourself in the midst of this intense and easily anxious time:

Personal Spiritual Retreat Format Download

Surrender Prayer –

Surrender Prayer is a way of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to situations and stressors in daily life.

The purpose is to deepen our relationship with God and become free of the tyranny of repressed emotions that keep us overly attached to: safety/security, power/control, and esteem/affection.

Note: Welcoming prayer is not accepting the cause of negative feelings, or wrong behavior. It’s about accepting reality as the denial and repression of afflicting emotions empowers our anxiety and tension.

  1. Focus and Feel the afflicting emotion.
    Begin by taking 3-5 slow, deep breaths with your feet solidly on the ground.
    Where is it registering in your body (Stomach in knots, tense shoulders, pain in joints, headache)?
    Simply notice, identify, and feel. Don’t judge, explain away, or fix.
  2. Open your hands in front of you and imagine all that is weighing on you that you are holding on to.
  3. Welcome whatever the afflicting emotion is (such as anger, sadness, anxiety, frustration, etc.)  Welcome God’s healing presence in which we are completely safe and loved. God welcomes every corner of our hearts.
  4. Let go by surrendering in prayer one of these examples: “God, I give you my __(name emotion___,  and embrace the moment as it is.” “God, I surrender my life to you, please carry this weight on my shoulders and give me freedom.”
  5. Release the grip of your fingers slowly and go through everything weighing on your heart until you can release what is weighing on you.
  6. Remember God’s presence with you as you leave this time of prayer.

Remember you can find our reading list for reading through the New Testament in 2020 here: MillCityChurch.com/NT2020