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Welcome! I am glad you are joining me today as we connect with God through the scriptures. 

As we begin day 3 on this journey building Habits of Hope, we will connect with God knowing that we are a child of God. He loves and protects us. 

As we get started, let’s do a quick check-in. What are your thoughts on right now? I want to share a focusing technique that I find quite effective. If you can, go grab a pen and paper. Go ahead, push pause. I’ll wait for you while I’m on pause. Okay, now here’s what you want to do: any time a thought or feeling distracts you from what we are doing, just write down a word or phrase, so that you can refocus knowing you can come back to it after your time with God. Leave it by your side, so that if you start feeling distracted, press pause, then write a word or phrase down, and say a short refocusing prayer like, “God, you know everything I am thinking and feeling, please help me to put everything aside for the next few moments, so I can focus on You, Amen.” or, “God here is where I am. Thank you for Your unfailing love. Help me to focus on you. Amen.”

If some of those things creep back in during our devotion, don’t fight them, embrace them, write something down to remind you later, and offer them to God. If they are important enough to you, God who loves you will surely care about those things too. So, just embrace them, write them down, and share them with God as you refocus all of your attention on Him.

Just a quick note on choosing a scripture verse for this: You can choose just about any verse or two in the Bible. There are also different apps for your phone, like the Bible app, that can send you a verse of the day. The reason this works with just about any scripture is that you are (1) spending dedicated time with God, (2) you are reading scripture, and (3) God can speak to you through any word or phrase, if you are open to Him. 

Remember that today you’ll do something that will open you to God’s love in lasting ways that will bless you well beyond today.

Hopefully you are getting more comfortable with our format of:
Listening to the scripture reading;
Praying to God about why a certain word or phrase in the reading connects with you;
Reflecting as we go deeper and listen to the scripture again;
Contemplating in the midst of God’s presence;
And possibly responding if you feel God is asking you something.

Let’s get started with about 20 seconds of taking deep breaths. As you begin breathing, let your thoughts focus on spending these next 4 or 5 minutes with God.

Breathe – 

Take one more breath and if you are able, close your eyes as you exhale to help you focus. 

Today I will read Psalm 23:4 
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

What word or phrase is connecting with you?

Say it out loud. Embrace it.

Now we will say a short focusing prayer and pause for about 20 seconds as we open ourselves to God, pray with me, “God, open me to your presence. Amen.” 

Open yourself to God (20 seconds) – 

Listen to the scripture again with the anticipation of going deeper. After the reading there will be a little silence, providing space for you to just be with God.

Psalm 23:4 
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Silence for you and God – 

As we contemplate what God might be communicating through that word or phrase we will pray a short prayer and then be silent, focusing on God for about 15 seconds. Let’s pray together, “God please be present in my thoughts and in my heart. Amen.” 

Let’s pause and just be with God.

Now, open your heart to God and share what you feel. Don’t seek an answer or task, just share with God how you’re feeling. As you share with God, I am going to pause for a moment to provide space.

Pause 30 seconds – 

Do you feel you are done or is God prompting you to respond? If you are done, close by praying, “God, thank you for this time, Amen.”

If you feel God is asking you to respond, pray, “God guide me, here are my thoughts, help me to respond the way You are asking, Amen.”

Whenever you’re ready open your eyes. Notice how you are feeling.

May God bless you!

I want to encourage you by letting you know your connection to God is growing and blessing you. God is love and you are loved by Him!

See you in session 4.