Building a Trellis (Rule of Life) – Week 2: Prayer

Vijay Krishnan   -  

This past week Sunday’s message continued on a series we have started called Reconnect. Our goal for this September is to (re)discover the life and vitality found in our relationship with God – learning to receive His love – which then has a dramatic effect on our relationship with ourselves and with others (showing His love).

We are using a trellis – a structure, a pathway – called “The Rule of Life” to help us reconnect. The goal of developing a Rule of Life is to have a pattern and routine to our lives which allows for growth. Plans and structures by themselves are not valuable; rather it is what they create the potential to produce: better relationship with God, ourselves and each other. Without thoughtful and prayerful care and attention, the things that are most important will not likely thrive.

This week’s blog camps out on the idea of Prayer, with the goal to help you populate that “Bucket” of your Rule of Life (you can use the template below if that’s helpful). By the word “prayer”, we don’t simply mean bowing your head, closing your eyes and saying some words of thanks or expressing a need. Prayer in the context of the Rule of Life that you are trying to develop encompasses a variety of activities and practices, all of which are meant to help you relate to God.

Each day this week will feature one of the practices we discussed in the message: Solitude/Silence, Scripture, Prayer of Examen & Community. As you work through these, consider how you could begin to incorporate one or some or all of these in your “Prayer” life.


Day 1 – Solitude & Silence

Our lives are surrounded by sound and voices and noise. Even when we are “alone”, we can be immersed in podcasts, music, sports radio or the news. These sounds compete for our attention, demand things from us, try to convince us of things or impress their values on our minds and hears. In silence and solitude we distance ourselves from some of these voices so we can (a) become more aware of what’s going on inside of us, and more importantly (b) hear the voice of God.  The following is an exercise to help us engage in this practice.


  1. Go to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for 30 minutes.
  2. Sit quietly before the Lord and offer this time to God expressing your desire to be with him. Say nothing but just sit in silence for two minutes. Note: Don’t be surprised at how noisy your thoughts are, just patiently wait and take the time to slowly be quiet.
  3. Read the following passage from Matthew 6:6-13 slowly:

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

                        “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

        Your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,

                        and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


  1. In silence wait upon God. As thoughts enter your mind offer them in a prayer to God. Be careful not to avoid painful or disturbing ideas. This is a place where you can be open and vulnerable with God.
  2. At the end of your prayer, conclude with the prayer Jesus taught in the above verses.
  3. End your time with God in two minutes of silence, remembering that you can be quiet and at rest because He is with you.

*This exercise was taken from: Sherbino, David. Reconnect: Spiritual Exercises to Develop Intimacy with God . Castle Quay Books. Kindle Edition.

Next Step: Write down a few ideas in your prayer bucket about how you might begin to carve out spaces of solitude and silence in your week (e.g. in your car, on a walk, beginning or ending your day)


Day 2 – Scripture

We were reminded this week about two really important things when it comes to reading Scripture. Firstly, it is food. We need to eat regularly and over a long period of time in order to be nourished by it. Secondly, we read not primarily for information about God but for encounter with God. With those two things in mind, try the following exercise*:

  1.  Sit in silence for two minutes, letting the noise inside your head (including thoughts about what has happened in the recent past or will happen in the near future) begin to turn down. If it helps you can slow your breathing down and say the following “breath” prayer: (breath in) Jesus, (breathe out) You are here.
  2. Read the following passage slowly, and out loud if possible, listening for a word or phrase that catches your attention:

Isaiah 40:27–31 (NIV)

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

  1. Remain silent for 2-3 minutes following the reading.
  2. Read the passage a second time
  3. After the reading sit in silence and meditate upon this question: How is my life touched by this word of God?”
  4. Read the passage a third time
  5. After the reading sit in silence and meditate upon the question “What does God want me to do?”
  6. Write or say a prayer of response to God, based on what you have reflected on
  7. Take three minutes of silence just to savour what God has done and to enjoy His presence

*Taken from: Sherbino, David. Reconnect: Spiritual Exercises to Develop Intimacy with God . Castle Quay Books. Kindle Edition.

Next Step for your Prayer Bucket: Consider adding this “Reconnect” Blog or a YouVersion Bible App reading plan to your weekly rhythm, or if you prefer/need an audio version, try the “Dwell” Bible app or Streetlights Bible App. Other helpful resources: Praying the Bible (Don Whitney), Sacred Pathways (Gary Thomas)


Day 3 – Prayer of Examen

 The prayer of examen (examination) is built on two essential (but often ignored) aspects of prayer

  1. Realize that God has been and continues to be fully present and involved in all of the goings on of our lives – conversations, events, thoughts and feelings
  2. Grow our ability to listen (more than speak) so that prayer can truly become a two-way conversation with God

The following is a simple examen prayer.


Pray a prayer that acknowledges that you are in God’s presence now and ask for the gift to see His activity throughout your whole life.


Give thanks to God for His presence in the big and small things in your life – list them

REVIEW (the past 48 hours):

When did you feel most thankful (happy, content, satisfied)?

When did you feel most unthankful (tired, frustrated, angry, jealous, anxious, depressed)?

Where were you consciously aware of and cooperating with the Holy Spirit?

Where were you consciously resisting or putting up blocks to the Holy Spirit’s presence, love, and/or Lordship (i.e. letting God be in control)?

In looking back on those moments, how was the Holy Spirit present even when you were not aware of it at the time?


Is there anything from the previous 2 days that makes you want to do something differently in the new day?

Next Steps: Consider adding Examen to your daily routine, either at the beginning of the day or the end. You can use the simple format above every day, or use an app like “Re-imagining the Examen” which has several different kinds of Prayers of Examen. Or you could try the “Lectio365” which combines scripture and examen together. It’s a great drive-time listen.


Day 4 – Community

Yes, community is a spiritual practice. This isn’t just about the fact that it’s nice to “do life” with people (of course it is!). It’s more than that. We need others who are on the same journey with us, through whom we can hear the voice of God and to whom we can show the love and grace of God. Next week’s message and block will be entirely about the bucket of “Relationships” in your Rule of Life trellis, but for today, take some time to consider the following:

  1. Read the following passage slowly:

Luke 5:1–11 (NIV)

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

  1. Why do you think Jesus called together and formed a group of Disciples?
  2. In what ways have other followers of Jesus helped you experience God’s love?
  3. Dave gave some really practical suggestions as to how you could take a step to add Community as a spiritual practice to your life
    1. Get an extension cord –
      1. Don’t get it? BUSTED! You obviously didn’t watch this week’s message! No judgment…
    2. Lead the way with your HG in finding ways to connect this fall
    3. Join a Home Group (
    4. Hit up the Encounter Prayer night this month (Wednesday Sept 30th) – check the website for details
  4. Ask Jesus (and wait for his response) as to how He is inviting you to lean into community this fall