Frame the Question in Prayer
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin, Spiritual Formation Ministries
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right[a] spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. -Psalm 51:10-13
We now turn our attention to what is at the heart of the matter. It is important to articulate a question that accurately describes what you are seeking through the discernment process. Describe the issue you are bringing to discernment. Where do you most desire clarity or direction? Notice what assumptions may be revealed in the question you are asking. Bring this question into prayer, gently holding it with God. Notice how it feels as you prepare to enter a time of discernment. Spend time with your question and see if anything else emerges. The practice of deepening the question (below) helps us prayerfully unearth the deeper dimensions of what we are really bringing before God in discernment.
As you frame a question you may consider if it…
- is thought provoking.
- invites creative thinking.
- stimulates reflective conversation.
- generates positive energy and forward movement.
- connects with deep meaning and purpose.
- helps surface underlying assumptions.
- focuses attention on what matters most. -Ron Harmon, “Framing the Essential Questions: A Tool for Discerning and Planning Mission”
You may consider a question such as, “God, how are you inviting us to come back together?” or “What have we discovered in the pandemic about what matters most in our life together?”
The Practice of Deepening the Question: Engage the practice of deepening the question to get the heart of the matter. This practice invites us to keep peeling back the layers to look underneath what we are asking. What assumptions does your question make? Is the question open enough for group discernment? Does the question lead in a certain direction? Does the question adequately reflect depth of openness to God’s vision and invitation?
- What is the question we bring before God in discernment? What is the heart of the matter?
- What is underneath this question?
- What is underneath this question
As a discerning group, share your deepened questions with one another. What is being revealed about what is really at the heart of the matter that you are seeking to explore with God in discernment?
“Discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2).
The heart of discernment is listening for God. God speaks and reveals in many ways-through nature, the voice of a friend, or a deeper knowing in our own souls. How can you create space today to listen for God in your life? What do you hear when you take time to slow down and listen?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.