“Let me pray about that...”: The Art of Discernment in Prayer
Welcome to this five-part video series on the art of discernment in prayer. The series is meant to help us learn to hear God’s “voice” as it comes to us in the silent places of our hearts and through our interactions and experiences in the world. We’ll try especially to answer questions such as, “How can we bring God into the realm of our decision-making?” “What does it mean to pray about a choice we are facing?” and “What do we hope or expect will happen when we do seel God’s guidance in our decision-making?
Presenter: Br. David Vryhof, SSJE is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was life-professed in 1997 and has served the Community as Assistant Superior as well as Novice Guardian (a post in which he served for a total of 17 years!). His specific interests include Ignatian Spirituality, Spiritual Discernment, U.S. and world politics, as well as issues surrounding minorities in the U.S. such as African-Americans, native peoples, LGBTQ people and those living in poverty. He is currently studying Spanish, and enjoys exercising, reading, and watching movies. David is credited with being the most committed sports fan in the Community and loves all the Boston teams.
Join the Conversation:
We look forward to having you join us for the entire series, and welcome feedback and conversation below.
Part 1: What is Spiritual Discernment?
In this first video, Br. David will be introducing the topic of “spiritual discernment,” drawing especially on the story of Samuel’s call in I Samuel 3. As you watch these 30-minute videos, we welcome you to pause the tape to allow space to reflect on these ideas on your own, or to go back and listen again.
Part 2: What do we mean when we speak of a ‘vocation’ or ‘calling’ in life?
Starting with Walter Brueggemann's idea, "... vocation means finding a purpose for being in the world that is related to the purposes of God," Br. David Vryhof guides us as we consider our calling. He leads us through different levels at which God calls us, and identifies common ways in which God's call works. Importantly, God's call is continuous and ongoing, and always a service or benefit to others. Join us in this second session in the five part series. You may leave reflections here in the comment section below.
Part 3: What can we learn from Jesus’ sense of his own vocation/calling?
Looking at a few key stories in Luke's Gospel, Br. David Vryhof presents Jesus' early life and ministry as our first glimpse into his calling into the purposes of God. God calling Jesus to his ministry with the words "in him I am well pleased," sends us also along our journey of vocation or calling. From this place of being rooted in God's love, we also can face and resist the temptation to use our gifts for ourselves. Join for this third video in the five part series where we journey with Jesus revealing his vocation, and learn how it closely parallels our own. You may leave reflections here in the comment section below.
Part 4: How can we discern our own vocation or calling in life?
Our ideas of God's will or how to find God's will can be misguided or misdirected by other forces in our world. Looking at both obstacles to hearing God's voice and at signs of God's call in our own histories, we can take confident strides to discern our own calling that is related to the purposes of God. Join Br. David in this fourth part of the five part series in spiritual discernment. You may leave reflections here in the comment section below.
Captions are available on each video (click the CC button to turn these on). Text transcripts and audio versions are also available each week.
Part 5: Is there a reliable method for discerning important life choices in prayer?
Discernment is commonly defined in two ways: 1. to perceive or to recognize, or 2. to separate, mentally, one thing from another or others. As we discern spiritually, we want to gather important moments of discernment in our past in order to look for God's work in our lives. Br. David leads us through the discernment process as taught by St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises. These two methods of analyzing the choices and imaginative prayer exercises provide us a method for discernment towards the purposes of God. Join us for this final part of the five part series in spiritual discernment. You may leave reflections here in the comment section below.