Suggestions for Group Leaders
Meeting Two: First Week of Lent
We give suggestions for each week’s group meeting, but it is up to you to organise how you feel best.
Feel free to move things around, omit or add things; you must feel comfortable with your meeting.
Begin with tea and biscuits while people gather and are welcomed.
You might like to set the scene with a centrepiece, maybe a candle and cloth of Lenten colours.
Ouline of Meeting
We suggest beginning with tea and biscuits while people gather and are welcomed.
- Introductions – if there are people this week who didn’t come to the last meeting then introductions would be necessary?
- How the Retreat works (If you didn’t do this last week)
Finding time for prayer -and suitable length of time.
Place for prayer. Some people like to light a candle or have some religious symbols in their place of prayer.
Some like an incense stick. Some very quiet background music. Whatever helps.
Different ways of accessing prayer – App, Online, printed sheets.
Journaling the prayer. Looking at feelings and emotional content of prayer and well as thoughts. What inspired you?
Group sharing of prayer. (Only share what you are comfortable with, no competition.)
- Stilling exercise – it might be worth trying all three.
Whatever way of praying you choose it is good to begin with a period of stilling (also known as quietening, awareness, or centring).
Here are three most common stilling exercises.
Most people find it helpful to sit with back straight and with both feet on the ground.
Body Awareness: going from toe to head become aware of each part of the body in turn for the space of three slow breaths: whether it is warm or cold, can you feel clothing, the movement of breathing, itching, pain or other sensations?
Where there is tension let it go. Sometimes tensing the muscles then relaxing them helps. Imagine the tension flowing down the body out through the feet to the earth.
Listening to sounds: Become aware of sounds inside and outside the room. Don't dwell on any particular sound but listen for as many different sounds as possible, particularly the subtle sounds.
Slow Breathing: Consciously take deep and slow breaths. You might imagine yourself breathing in the Spirit of God and breathing out this same spirit to others or you might breathe out all that you want to be rid of e.g. jealously, fear, bitterness.
- Sharing – if people have already spent some time in prayer this week, then ask them to look back over their prayer times this week and share what they are comfortable with.
How did they find praying the Scripture or the other meditation?
Did time seem to drag, or did it go quickly.
Did anything surprise them?
Did any of the Scripture passages or other meditations have any special meaning for them?
- Looking Forward – make sure everyone is certain how to access the material for the coming week. Make sure the time and venue etc. of the next meeting is clear.
- Thank everyone for coming.