Discerning Together

Whisper in the DinSometimes it is easier to see ourselves and the nuances of God’s presence and his “lead” in our lives when we pray together.  We wait patiently and attentively with the clear intention of perceiving God. Below are articles that may help groups come together using the prayer framework of the Quakers (Society of Friends) and the rules of discernment from Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. The silence and space of the Friends leaves room to do the interior work of sorting out what is from God and what perceptions bubble up from our own biases and un-freedoms. The practice of “sorting” what comes up from the inside is outlined in the Ignatian rules of discernment. It would be helpful to make your way through each of the articles before starting or in conjunction with a group practice. At the end of each article there are suggested Practices and Group Reflection questions. The articles were originally developed to introduce a group to the concepts over eight weeks, meeting every other week for four months. This enabled the participants to practice the interior disposition and the group dynamic slowly over time.

The videos are a series of the introductions to the communal discernment prayer actually used in the small groups, rather than lectures. The group gathered for input, followed by the practice of silence and discernment. These concepts have been introduced in different orders depending on the knowledge and readiness of the group.

Introduction to Communal Discernment

Preparing a Proposal

What to Look for in the Silence

Developing a Disposition

Discernment of Spirits

Examen and Fundamentals

Discerning a Community Proposal

Doing God’s Will: Love in Action


This introduction is available as a PDF handout: Discerning Together

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