(written by Rev. Tom Lichner, D.Min.)
In practicing hospitality we share not only what we have, but also who we are. We offer our guests food and drink, shelter, rest and protection. But we also offer care, enjoyment, and peace. Consider here your personal hospitality toward God by trying this 30 minute guided prayer experience.
WHATS THE ROOM LIKE IN YOUR INN?
Guided Prayer with Scripture
Centering Prayer – As you prepare to be prayerfully in the presence of God, settle-in to a quiet space. Relax and slow your pace by breathing slowly and deeply in and out. Further open yourself to God by expressing your thanks for this time and your dependency upon God’s grace.
1. Read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and John 14:23 twice.
1 Cor. 3:16-17: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”
Jn. 14:23: “Jesus replied, ’If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him’.”
2. Read the following commentary and reflect upon it for 2 minutes…
Have you ever sought lodging at a hotel or motel after long hours of travel? If you have, did you ever ask the lobby desk clerk if you could see the room before checking-in? This is a common practice for many travelers who are hoping to find the room in a particular condition before agreeing to “take-up” lodging.
Offering a cordial welcome and a pleasant, sustaining environment are particular aspects of behavior which we generally associate with hospitality. Hospitality is a very important part of life in all cultures and more prominently practiced in some parts of the world. Regardless of where hospitality is practiced, it is a wonderful gift from God; a deeply spiritual and yet simple gift. However, it is not always easy to offer.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and John 14:23 remind you that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells within you. If God’s home is your very body, as these verses of scripture suggest, then you will want to take particular notice of your hospitality toward God. Consider all of the ways that you would normally be hospitable to house-guests and in the same ways practice your hospitality to God.
3. Reflect and Journal:
a) Imagine that you are preparing to welcome a houseguest who will be staying in your home for a few days. Consider the variety of ways that you would pay attention to your practice of hospitality for your guest. How would you make your guest feel welcome and at home?
b) Close your eyes and imagine casually walking through the interior of your body, where you find numerous spacious rooms. All is pleasant and all is well within your interior home. As you continue your walk and enter the next room, imagine discovering a houseguest who is God. Imagine sitting and talking with God. Eventually, get around to asking God, who dwells within you, how God experiences your hospitality. Listen and wait for a response for 10 minutes. Now ask how you might be even more hospitable to God, your houseguest. Listen and Wait 10 minutes for God’s response.
c) Ask God for the gift of hospitality and in your own way, express your thanks to God for this time together in prayer.
(Continue this prayer into the rest of your day by singing the chant below several times and then allowing it to resonate within you throughout the day.)