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The goal of this study is to introduce evangelicals at Evergreen Covenant Church to contemplative listening prayer practices. Through the setting of a three-day retreat, seven seminars, and two sessions of spiritual direction, participants were introduced to these disciplines. The three-day Sabbath retreat included four seminars presenting the concepts of Sabbath, Shema (hearing God), solitude, and silence. Solitude and silence were practiced throughout the majority of the retreat. The following weekly seminars introduced seven listening prayer practices, including Lectio Divina (Divine Reading), the Examen Prayer, imaginative prayer, and others. Participants were also invited to experience two spiritual direction sessions to both introduce them to spiritual direction and to reflect on their experience of the listening prayer practices.
All of the participants had little or no personal experience with contemplative prayer practices. Because this program was intended to introduce evangelicals to contemplative prayer practices, it was designed using evangelical concepts such as deepening a personal relationship with God and provided an extensive biblical basis throughout. Participants not only learned about the prayer practices but were invited to experience and debrief both within the seminar sessions themselves and independently between sessions.
This study has determined that evangelicals at Evergreen Covenant Church both embraced the biblical nature and necessity of listening prayer practices as relates to personal spiritual development and a deepening sense of intimacy with God. One major hindrance to the study concerned the time commitment required by participants. None of the participants were able to completely fulfill the objective of attending the retreat, all seven seminars, and two sessions of spiritual direction. Considerations will need to be made as to condensing the program experience to a more manageable time frame and commitment to accommodate for the challenges of personal scheduling demands.
Dr. Richard Yale
Listening Prayer, Sabbath, Shema, Retreat, Examen, Lectio, Imaginative prayer, Dreamwork, Spiritual Direction, Contemplative Prayer, Silence, Solitude
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Foisy, Keith, "Listening Prayer for Talkative Evangelicals" (2019). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 359.