Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Using the Treasury of Daily Prayer for a group Bible study

In an earlier post, I talked a little bit about using the Treasury of Daily Prayer for the women's Bible study group at our church. Jennifer asked on FB what it looked like, so here's the basic idea.

Before the class, I look at the three Scripture readings and write down a couple of questions for each one. Basic question ideas are comprehension, where we hear the same thing in Scripture/the liturgy/the church year, something about the people or situation covered in the reading, a paraphrase or summary, etc. (We don't do What does this mean to you? or What's the giant in your life?) For example, here's what I'm going to use for September 14:

Psalm 38:6-16

Whose prayer is this?

What parts of the passion story are heard in this Psalm?

2 Chronicles 33:1-25

How bad was Manasseh (vs. 9)?

What did Manasseh's repentance look like?

Colossians 1:24-2:7

What does it mean that Paul is “filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions” (vs. 24)?

What is “the mystery hidden for ages and generations” (vs. 26)?

(And then a shout out to Holy Cross Day)

I print this out for everyone because my crew likes writing down answers. :)

Then I have to clean 1 1/2 rooms of my house, which is terrible. I make coffee but, like I told Jennifer, no cookies. They just wouldn't eat them, so I gave up.

Ladies start showing up, and we all sit around and talk for 5-25 minutes. Sometimes three people come, and sometimes nine do. Nine is big here. :D

Then we all joke about how Pastor is going to give us an F if we don't get serious. I pray the prayer included in the lesson out loud. If any specific petitions are indicated from talk time, I slot them in as Lord, have mercy on . . . s just before the end of the written prayer.

Someone from the group reads the Psalm out loud, and then we talk about and answer the questions. I ask if anyone has any other questions from the reading or anything we've talked about, and I write down everybody's questions.

Then we read the OT lesson individually because they're long and have weird names no one wants to say. Usually around this time the kids upstairs have started jumping out of the middle level of the triple bunk and making the dining room light rattle and blink. Everybody likes that a lot and we talk about what a great job Pastor is doing with the kids. We go through the questions, and I write down anything anyone else asks about.

If we still have time (depending on how long the local report ran), I read through the NT reading out loud for everyone, and we talk about those questions.

We might talk a little about the Writing selection, but a lot of these are more highfalutin than my ladies are really into so we don't sweat it.

Pastor Husband gives us about 45 minutes from start time and then he comes in. I ask him all the questions I've written down from everyone and he does the heavy lifting in terms of teaching. Various ladies feed my kids treats out of their purses and report to Dad about any church business items they're working on. Everyone wanders home at leisure.

So that's the format. My husband likes this setup because the girls talk better and get over being pastor-shy if they've had some girl time. Things that keep coming up: angels, Jews, and the scandal of particularity.

TDP is a big investment upfront compared to smaller Bible studies, but the only person who really needs to have it is the facilitator. Participants can just bring a Bible and look up the selections for the day. But at this point, all of the regulars and occasionals in my group have bought TDP. I also like how using TDP allows people to come as they're able rather than thinking that if they missed a week or two, they're totally out of the loop and might as well just skip the whole thing until we start a new study.

The only trick is that since we always meet on the same day of the week, we'd be repeating selections every year during Lent when TDP switches from the calendar year to the liturgical year. So the first year we met we did the lessons for Mondays in Lent, the next year we did the Tuesday lessons on Monday, etc. I think we'll be up for Fridays this year, although another gut-busting joke we have is that we could do the same lesson every week and it would be totally new since none of us can remember a blessed thing.

Our new season starts Sept. 14, 9:30 at my house. Come on by. :)