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Livermore

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348 North Canyons Pkwy
Livermore, CA 94551

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Brentwood

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6641 Lone Tree Way
Brentwood, CA 94513

Sunday Gathering Times
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Walnut Creek

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535 Walnut Avenue
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

Sunday Gathering Time
10:00 AM

Neighborhood Church
Second Sunday of Every Month

San Ramon Valley

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9300 Alcosta Blvd
San Ramon, CA 94583

Sunday Gathering Time
10:00 AM

Neighborhood Church
Second Sunday of Every Month

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 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:5

Just as a trellis provides a structure of support for branches to flourish and stay connected to the vine, spiritual practices provide a vital structure for our spiritual life so that we can abide in Jesus and produce the fruit of love in our lives.

Click a practice below to find a starting place for resources about the topic:

Contemplative Prayer
Praying Scripture
Restfulness/Restlessness Inventory
Breath Prayer
Psalm 46
A Prayer for Stillness
Prayer of Examen

Contemplative Prayer

Contemplative prayer is when we fix our attention on God in a curious and deliberate manner with our aim being, not to do something for him, or even gain something from him; it’s simply to be with God.  Contemplative prayer starts with listening, not speaking. It’s about quieting our lives and tuning our ears to God.  

HELPFUL TIPS FOR CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER:  
  1. Pick a consistent time: This can be first thing in the morning, or the final thing you do at night. It can before your morning commute or right after you drop the kids off at school.  The “when” isn’t what’s important, it’s the consistency of the “when” that’s vital because there’s no such thing as a habit or priority that doesn’t happen consistently. 
  2. Create a ritual: Choose an ordinary place and make it sacred. This could be your favorite chair, your back porch, the stairwell at school or your office. Maybe you sit up straight with your feet firmly planted on the ground, or you sit on the floor with your hands resting palms up in your lap.  
  3. Be quiet: Set a timer and start with one or two minutes. After you do that consistently for a few weeks, increase the time. Have a word or a phrase you repeat to help keep your mind focused like, “Jesus” or “Lord, here I am.” Don’t feel guilty when distractions arise. Perhaps keep a notepad nearby so you can write down any distractions that come to mind and come back to it after your prayer time. 
  4. Resist the urge to evaluate if the practice is “working” or if you are “getting anything out of it.” Remember that contemplative prayer is about giving something of yourself to God, not getting something from God.  

Adapted from Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools by Tyler Stanton 

Praying Scripture

Praying specific Scriptures allows us to communicate with God while contemplating on His Word. Select a passage of Scripture (the Psalms or words of Jesus are great for it) and recite it as often as you can throughout your day. Before your feet hit the ground, try to have slowly meditated on each word. Identify a habit you do multiple times through the day (washing your hands, eating, walking to your car, etc) and pray the Scripture each time to engage in that activity. As you lay your head down at night, pray the Scripture one final time. As you make this a habit throughout your day you will notice how your mind, attitude and actions are being shaped by these words. 

For more on praying Scripture - https://thegoodway.live/resources/prayer/praying-a-psalm 

 

Restfullness/Restless Inventory

Use this simple inventory to get a glimpse of your life in the present moment (Score each line and assign the value 0 if you are somewhere in between. Total your responses and notice which direction your life is trending.) As you do, consider how God might be inviting you into a more flourishing way and what new/renewed daily rhythms might contribute to that flourishing. Write down any thoughts or ideas that come to mind on a piece of paper. 

Download the PDF here!

CLICK HERE


* Practice from Being With God: The Absurdity, Necessity & Neurobiology of Contemplative Prayer by AJ Sherrill.

Breath Prayer

A breath prayer is a short simple sentence that can be said in one breath and prayed throughout the day. You can use a Scripture, such as, “Be still and know that I am God,” a known phrase, such as “Lord, have mercy on me”, “Come Holy Spirit,” “Jesus, here I am”, or even a name for God, such as “Abba” or “Yahweh.”  

Start with silence, focusing on your breathing. As a word, phrase or Scripture comes to mind, begin to pray it in rhythm with your breathing. 

For more on Breath Prayer - https://thegoodway.live/resources/prayer/breath-prayer-guide 

Psalm 46

Read Psalm 46. Note any words or verses that stick out to you by underlining or circling them. What do these verses communicate about God? What do they communicate about God’s people? Consider what God may be saying to you through these verses, and write out a short response to God (a few sentences) as a form of prayer. 

A Prayer for Stillness

Scripture opens to us, the reality that if we are still, we will come to know God, but arriving at stillness is easier said than done. As Blaise Pascal once stated, “All the miseries of the human person come from the fact that no one can sit still for one hour.” Achieving stillness seems beyond us and this leaves us with a certain dilemma, we need stillness to find God, but we need God’s help to find stillness.

With this in mind, read the prayer from Ronald Rolheiser in the PDF below.

CLICK HERE

Prayer of Examen

The Prayer of Examen or Daily Examen is a contemplative prayer led by memory that invites us to identify God in all things as we pay careful attention to how the Holy Spirit is moving in each moment of our daily lives. The Examen is a powerful prayer as it awakens us to how God is at work in us and speaking to us in the routine and ordinary moments of life. The Prayer of Examen is typically done at the end of the day (I.e. after dinner, before bedtime, etc) as you reflect on the day that is now coming to a close. But it can also be practiced in the morning as you reflect on the day before or even look towards the day that is to come.

How to Pray the Examen 
  1. Place yourself in God’s presence. Give thanks for God’s great love for you. 
  2. Pray for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life. 
  3. Review your day — recall specific moments and your feelings at the time. 
  4. Reflect on what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away? 
  5. Look toward tomorrow — think of how you might collaborate more effectively with God’s plan. Be specific, and conclude with the “Our Father.”
Daily Prayer Rhythm
Books
Podcasts
Prayer Apps