Discernment and the Prayer of Indifference

As many ministries do, GOHOP sets time aside at the beginning of the year to listen to God together. Matt and Karen Lowe, who are founding Lectio House, an inner city retreat centre, led us through part of our process.

We began by listing the various dreams we had for GOHOP this year, things we would like to see happen.

They include:
– Two months of Prayer Truck this summer. One month at the Rock and one month on Barton East somewhere
– Another Pilgrimage
– Two weeks of 24-7 Prayer in February
– More community houses being formed and coming into relationship with each other
– More hours of prayer at the Vine. Expanded Vine hours
– Teaching prayer courses in lots of churches
– Expanding the Spiritual Formation department and making spiritual direction available to more people
– Visiting other prayer Communites
– A greater variety of styles and forms of prayer at the Vine

And many many other things. It was quite a lively brainstorming/sharing time!

And then we had a time of silence where we prayed the Prayer of Indifference, each in our own way.

Indifference? Waitaminit! We don’t want to be Indifferent! We want to be passionate! Full of zeal!

But the Prayer of Indifference is a key practice that helps us not mistake our will for God’s will.

To discern between the good ideas and the God ideas.

In the Prayer of Indifference we let it all go. We lay down our dreams and desires, submit them to God; who is quite happy to refine our motives and intentions. His ways and thoughts are higher, and our minds cannot conceive all the amazing things He has in store for us, if we will only submit to Him.

My favorite Prayer of Indifference is an old Methodist Covenant. It articulates it far better than I ever could.

I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.

One thought on “Discernment and the Prayer of Indifference

  1. Have enjoyed ‘finding’ you and your blog. Wish there was something similar nearby to be a ‘part of’. Re-reading (after the first time 30 years ago, and now again w/parish group) Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline…the chapter on Submission rings true with the Indifference you mention here. Detachment, an Ignatian and John of the Cross notion, is also about true self-denial. I choose to say ‘self-you don’t always get what you want’ in place of self-denial. Makes more ‘real’ sense to me. Indifference can seem plain and vanilla until understood it is required in order to fully grasp grace, life, and love in Christ.

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