Week of Guided Prayer: A Retreat in Everyday Life

at Grace Episcopal Church
Opening Gathering:
Sunday, September 15 at 4 p.m.
Individual Meetings with Prayer Guides: Monday, Sept. 16 – Friday, Sept. 20
Closing Gathering:
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 10 a.m.
Week of Guided Prayer Brochure & Registration

Do you wish to:

  • explore different ways of praying?
  • speak privately with an experienced prayer guide?
  • become more aware of God’s presence in your life?

prayerA Week of Guided Prayer is an opportunity to take a retreat in the middle of your everyday life. It’s an individually-directed event designed to deepen your prayer life and your relationship with God and Jesus.

Recall the example Jesus gave how important it is, perhaps even more important when we are very busy, to take time out to abide in God through private prayer:

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.  (Mk 1:35)

 But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases.  But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.  (Lk 5:15-16)

 Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray.  (Mk 6:45-6)

 Jesus also instructed “whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.” (Mt 6:6)

Throughout the Week of Guided Prayer each participant spends thirty minutes a day in private prayer and meets privately with his/her prayer guide for thirty minutes each day. The confidential, one-on-one meetings with prayer guides take place in the afternoons or evenings, at the convenience of each participant.  Committed couples also have the option to participate as a couple.  Prayer guides are not members of our parish, nor may companion anyone they know.

The format of this retreat offers opportunities to:

  • Explore different ways of praying.
  • Speak privately with an experienced prayer guide.
  • Become more aware of God’s presence in your life.
  • Go on retreat while staying at home.
  • Participate in an ecumenical retreat – invite your friends from other parishes and/or denominations.

Since each participant is unique (as well as each prayer guide), exactly what happens during the retreat is different for each person.  During the one-on-one meetings, the prayer guide typically is much more of a listener and companion than a teacher or sharer of wisdom.  The participant brings to these sessions his/her experiences of what happened during the prayer times as well as other life events and experiences relevant to his/her relationship with God.  The prayer guide listens and responds with a welcoming, non-judgmental, compassionate presence – not only to the participant, but also to God’s Spirit moving in their midst.

By reflecting back to the retreatant what is heard, by asking an open-ended question, by sitting together in silent prayer, or in various other ways, the prayer guide can often help the retreatant listen more deeply to what God wishes to communicate, as well as help the retreatant get more in touch with what s/he wishes to communicate to God.  All of this occurs under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Another important source of guidance is the specific, unique desire for this retreat provided by the participant to the prayer guide.  With God’s grace, the feedback about the retreatant’s desires and experiences during the retreat, and the knowledge of the prayer guide, suggestions (“guidance”) bubble up to the prayer guide before, during and after the one-on-one sessions regarding specific techniques, Scripture passages and other materials that may be helpful for each particular retreatant to employ during his/her private prayer times.  All suggestions are given in freedom, i.e. the retreatant may choose to use them or not.

The retreat will begin with 90-minute gatherings of all participants on Sunday, September 15 and end in a similar fashion on Saturday, September 21.  One may still participate in the retreat if not able to attend either or both of these group gatherings.

Brochures and registration forms can be downloaded here:
Week of Guided Prayer Brochure & Registration
(hard copies also available at Grace Church)

More information such as Praise from Retreatants and Frequently Asked Questions is available at www.weekofguidedprayer.org.

There is no registration fee, but retreatants are invited to share the costs of the retreat as they are able. The average cost for each participant is $44. If you would like to make a contribution, please make a check out to “Week of Guided Prayer” and leave it in Janis Greenbaum’s mailbox next to the office at Grace. Your offerings help support the continuation of this ministry.

Registration is encouraged by September 6. For more information, send a reply below or contact Director of Christian Formation & Communications Janis Greenbaum in the church office.

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3 Responses to Week of Guided Prayer comes to Grace Church

  1. Sheila Stanton says:

    i will not be back in St.Louis before the 16th of September, but i will have my computer and cell phone with me. is it possible for me to be involved in the prayer week?

    • jsgreenbaum says:

      Yes! You’ll only miss the opening session on the 15th. The individual meetings start on the 16th. Give Janis a call in the church office (314-821-1806, ext. 19) if you’d like to sign up.

  2. jsgreenbaum says:

    I participated in a Week of Guided Prayer at another church a couple of years ago and had a wonderful experience. I was hesitant to make a week-long commitment to prayer — in fact, I expected my busy life would keep me from fully participating. But I found just the opposite — I looked forward to my daily meetings with my prayer guide and found my private prayer time to be a tremendous help in my busy life. Every part of my life was enriched from this program.

    I’m excited to help offer this program to everyone at Grace Church. I hope it will have the same positive impact on your life as it did on mine!

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