God speaks to us all the time. The Scriptures remind us of the many ways in which God has been revealed to us and how God will continue to be revealed to us in our ongoing journeys of faith. Throughout the Bible there are hundreds of stories and examples of God’s revelation of love and compassion that range from dramatic and vivid, to subtle and simple. God continues to speak to us in a variety of ways. Our very human qualities can permit us to experience God’s grace through a very basic and often taken for granted way: our five senses.
We learn best and remember events in our lives when experiences are received through two or more of our senses. We are all multisensory learners and we will have a more meaningful experience when we utilize several, or all, of our five senses to collect information and communicate. We can experience and remember God’s grace through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and feeling. A prayer experience that brings all five of our human senses into play is experiential worship. This is an engaging prayer experience in which we take an active role in our encounter, communion, and connection to God.
The prayer room has been used in our Youth Ministry to engage teens in a multisensory approach to prayer. The prayer room was first designed to be a quiet place where teens could enter into a conversation with God through a multitude of prayer stations. The response of the teens was amazing and validated the expectations that they would discover new ways to connect with God through an array of prayer experiences. The teens expressed this through many visual and hands-on responses. Teens had the opportunity to express their feelings through many avenues such as art and writing while also connecting to God through visual, auditory (hearing), olfactory (smelling) and tactile (hands-on) experiences.
The culture of our society is essentially media dependent and teens (as well as adults) respond to the various cues and symbols of our modern society. Our lives are so visually driven today that we don’t even need words to describe things to get our point across or to even understand what we are looking at. The prayer room incorporates traditional church symbolism with a unique setting and enhances the prayer experience by providing the participants with several options for their prayer time. This helps to create a personalized prayer time for each person and permits each participant to find a connection to God through those senses which are the most sensitive. Parishioners of all ages will gain something from their personal experiential worship time in our Advent and Lenten Prayer Room at Assumption parish. This experience will enable people of all ages to enter into a deep and meaningful dialogue with the one true living God.
What follows is a brief description of what parishioners can expect in the Advent and Lenten Prayer Room. When you enter the prayer room you will find a variety of prayer stations where you can spend as much or as little time at as you feel necessary. You move through each station at your own pace. There may be some stations that don’t “speak to you” or don’t work for you and others in which you feel a sense of connection to God or the grace of God poured out on you. The use of candles, incense, and meditative music help to create a reverent and quiet atmosphere which provides each person with an opportunity to personally enter into communion with God. Some stations have items which are meant to be manipulated while other stations may involve tasting or consuming a symbolic food to help enrich the prayer experience. As you move through each station you may come across items to take with you as a symbolic reminder of your experience and the grace God pours out on you. This is your unique experience, your unique time with the Lord. You will undoubtedly have a personal experience in which you will come to know God in a new way and sense God’s presence in a variety of ways.
The prayer room also provides an opportunity for each of us to grow in our faith and to learn something new about ourselves and God. It can be an experience that changes forever our perception of God and how God works in our lives. Renew your relationship with God by visiting the prayer room and spending time to listen, to wait, and to experience the grace of the living God. Spend time at each station listening to God speak to your heart, seeing God’s grace in the rich symbolism of our faith, and feeling God’s comforting love. Let the Holy Spirit come into your heart and ignite the fire of God’s love and compassion. Experience God’s presence like never before. We invite you to come and see for yourself, hear for yourself, and move closer to God during this Advent and Lenten season where God’s grace is waiting to be poured out for you. “Come, and encounter the Story, the Spirit, the Scripture!”