By Stan Friedman
Whoa, we’re halfway there
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it—I swear
Whoa, livin’ on a prayer —Bon Jovi
CHICAGO, IL (September 23, 2014) — Millie Lungren says Bon Jovi’s 1987 number one hit and concert crowd favorite, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” might not seem like a song that would share thematic elements with the denomination’s new Journeying Together: An Introduction to Spiritual Companionship, but they both tap into the human longing for “something more.”
Lungren, who oversees prayer ministries for the denomination, says both are fueled by the stories of people traveling with a friend in a search for an undefined future filled with promise. Reflecting just how strong that common desire is, online voters in 2006 declared “Livin’ on a Prayer” the top song on VH1’s list of the 100 greatest songs of the ’80s.
Of course rock and roll generally gives little guidance other than the offer of adventure in an old car with the windows rolled down—a thrill of its own, but one that can only take you so far.
Aspirations are one thing, but pursuing them is another, Lungren adds. Journeying Together can help fellow travelers learn three “essential companioning skills” to make the journey together a richer experience, Lungren says.
Lungren explains, “Participants learn how to tell personal stories clear and well so as to bless each other as spiritual companions on this journey, but they also learn how to ask helpful, open-ended questions, while becoming good listeners.”
One young man and his mother who attend New Harvest Christian Church, a Covenant congregation, in Oregon, Ohio, shared in a video how they wound up on an unexpected path of reconciliation as a result of the guided learning experiences.
Churches wanting to bring Journeying Together to their congregation can be led by a trained facilitator equipped to guide participants in three biblically based experiences in a local church or retreat setting, Lungren says. Specific groups within a church, such as leadership teams, small groups, early or late adult groups, also might want to enter into the experience.
Requests for these prayer experiences/retreats are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Make and Deepen Disciples offers other means of going deeper into the mystery as well.
Moment to Moment: An Invitation to Prayer offers extended time and space for God in order to discover, or rediscover, a longing to continue deeper levels of prayer, both personally and communally, Lungren says.
Streams and Pathways: Exploring Spiritual Practices introduces a variety of spiritual practices in order to allow time for people to hear God’s still, small voice.
For more information, email Lungren.