Sunday 1 May 2016

Where I live the whole community comes together on a Monday morning to start the week in prayer. Just recently the format of this prayer meeting has changed, it’s become more fluid and creative and that is fabulous. One thing I am particularly enjoying is the check-in. We sit in pairs or a group of three/ four and are given a question to answer. It might be as simple as ‘How are you today?’ or it might be more specific like, ‘where do you need to focus your prayer time this week?’.

We then have to sit there in silence for a couple of minutes before passing the baton (you must have something to hold and pass: a pen or such) around the circle. When it is in your hand you have to say one word in response to the question. Each person in the group takes their turn to say one word and they can only speak when they are holding the baton. No-one else is allowed to respond or to ask questions, it is just a time for us to really listen to each other and for us to own our own feelings. After each person has said one word the baton then goes round again and each person will elaborate on how they are feeling.

I really like these check-ins as you can say as much or as little as you like, perhaps depending on your mood that day or how comfortable you feel with the people in your check-in partnership/ group. What is really important is that you engage with God and search yourself. How am I? If my best friend/ mum (whoever you tell all to) called me now and asked me to be really honest, how would I say I was feeling?

There are far too many answers of ‘fine’ in this country. We are all programmed to just answer a question politely and to perhaps never really engage with how we actually feel but this check-in exercise gives a short opening to be real and not to push any issues under the carpet. There is no need for them to be hidden. They can only be tackled when they are acknowledged and perhaps shared.

At the end of the talking time, there is often enough time to pray for each other and it is a privilege to lay my hand on a friend and ask the Lord to intervene and do what He deems best. Of course, I then take their requests with me into the coming week and can continue to uphold them in prayer, as I know they’ll be doing for me too. It really is very precious.

So why don’t you have your own check-in? You might want to do it with a friend or partner or maybe you are happy just you and the Lord. And to be honest, if you don’t know the Lord then you can go it alone and search yourself for the answers.

Go on, ask yourself –

  • How am I really?
  • What is making me happy?
  • What worries do I have?
  • How can I comfort myself?
  • Am I being honest with myself?
  • What changes need to be made?
  • What can I celebrate achieving last week?

Do let me know if I can pray for you, I’d be really happy to.  Mich xx