Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Silence + Questions = Discernment

I've found that holy silence is an essential part of practicing discernment. As is asking myself queries.

Since Quakers don’t have a formal creed or prayer book against which to measure faithfulness, we developed the concept of asking questions of ourselves individually and corporately as a gauge of faith and practice.

This method began in the 17th century with the now quaint name of “Queries.”Queries are sets of questions rooted in Quaker faith and life as informed by Friends’ history, collective Quaker wisdom, and the Bible. The Queries are meant to be a form of guided self-examination.

In that sense, there are no outwardly defined correct answers. Rather the Queries give us a framework within which we can look at and consider prayerfully the direction of our lives.

You might find the following queries helpful as you develop your practice of discernment.

Relax your body and mind, breathe deeply, and think about the Query slowly and gently.
  • Do I try to set aside times of quiet for openness to the Holy Spirit?
  • Do I encourage in myself a habit of relying on God’s guidance for each day?
  • Are my private holy silences a source of strength and guidance for daily living?
  • In holy silence, do I respond to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, without trying to decide in advance what leadings may come?
  • Do I spend time daily in prayerful meditation, Bible reading, or other devotional activities that help put me in touch with my spiritual center?
  • Am I open to the healing power of God’s love?
  • Am I aware of the spirit of God at work in the ordinary activities and experience of daily life?
  • Am I open to new leadings from God?
  • Am I ready to yield to God’s will?
  • As my holy silence comes to a close, have I listened fully to all that has been spoken and unspoken?
(adapted from the "Quietude Queries" in Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality)

-- Brent

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