Back during Advent, I started a Tuesday evening prayer service, and have kept it up ever since.  It’s been a good service.  It gives some time in the middle of the week to have some quiet and hear from God.  If nothing else, it has been a great time for me, not just the people who attended.  Let me give you an idea of what happens during a typical service.

A large part of the service is the atmosphere.  The lights are turned down low, and there are several candles set up all over the sanctuary.  The idea is to have a peaceful, quiet place.

The service itself is simple.  There’s a key verse each week, and the first part of the service involves a lectio divina exercise.  There are four readings of the key verse.  In the first reading, the idea is to just listen and create a quiet space.  For the second reading, the participants are listening for a particular word, phrase or theme that jumps out at them.  In the third reading, the question that they are supposed to meditate on is: what is going on in my life that points to a need to hear this from the Lord?  Finally, on the fourth reading, the quiet time is dedicated to considering application.  Between each reading, there is a few minutes of quiet to reflect and meditate.  This week, the key verse was Psalm 51:1-12, David’s confession of his adulterous relationship.

The second part of the service is some kind of guided prayer exercise, and that’s where I want to spend some time.  Prior to the start of the service, I handed out two index cards (colored and white) and a pencil to each person.  During the second exercise, I gave them some time to write out who they were before they knew Christ on the colored index card.  Then we used the white index cards to write out some of the sins with which we are currently struggling.

Each service closes with communion, but this week, I took a TV tray, and placed a cooking pot on it.  Before they received communion, they folded up their index cards and tossed them in the pot.  Symbolically, they were letting go of their past and current struggles, and then taking part in the grace of God.  After everybody returned to their seats, I took the pot, placed it in the center of aisle and said, “Who you were is not who you are.  Who you are is not who you have to be.  Just as silver is refined in fire, we are refined by the fire of the Holy Spirit.”  Then, I pulled out a lighter and set the index cards on fire, turning them to ashes.

It was a different approach to Ash Wednesday… you know, apart from the fact that it took place on a Tuesday night instead.  But I felt like it was a great service, and I know the Spirit was working in some great ways in the lives of others.

Hopefully, for my friends who are in ministry, you can use this idea and tailor it  to your context.  And, if you are in the area, feel free to join us some Tuesday evening.