Welcome to week 2 in our series on Spiritual Disciplines! As promised, I wanted to talk, in this installment, about something that Pastor Mike Turrigiano likes to call “Dialing Down.” To tell you the truth, I’m pretty sure that this is just a re-packaging of the “Centering Prayer” from Ignatian spirituality, which seems to be pretty popular in the Vineyard circles I’ve been running in of late. And I don’t know about you, but as far as stereotypes go, when I think of the Vineyard Movement, the first thing that comes to my mind is not a 16th century Roman Catholic monastic, founder of the Jesuits, and leader in the counter-reformation – just sayin’.
I first heard Pastor Mike talk about dialing down at an Empower Conference that I was attending where he was the speaker. Now Pastor Mike likes to use this technique as a way of getting people to relax and open up to the work of the Spirit as he heads into a time of ministry. Now the thing I love about Pastor Mike is that he is one of the most down to earth, regular guys you’ll ever meet. He’s just not a “line ’em up, and knock ’em down” kinda guy like you see on TBN. Yet he is filled with a ton of wisdom and experience, and seems to have a knack for creating an environment where the Holy Spirit moves in very real and tangible ways. So, taken from my notes at the conference, here is how Pastor Mike describes “dialing down” (try to “picture” him saying this with his heavy Brooklyn accent):
‘We quiet ourselves, the inner voices, and rid ourselves of the distractions in our head
– Take a deep breath
– Try driving with the radio off
– Pray in tongues
The way to get the Spirit to move is not a pep rally (this is the Pentecostal model) – the opposite is true, calming down. People are looking for peace!’
Now people don’t all always experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in the same way. And quite frankly, when this happened to me at the conference, I wasn’t “slain in the Spirit” nor did I fall down and wiggle around on the floor like a worm. I simply felt a desire to sit down on the floor and enjoy this moment. I did so of my own free will, using all my own normal, natural abilities – bones & muscles). As I sat there I felt the cares of the day, the world, my job, money worries, just kinda melt away as I basked in the presence of God. I felt a pretty incredible peace come over me. Even though my eyes were closed, I had a pretty content smile on my face (so I probably looked kinda goofy, in that way).
Now Pastor Mike, like I said, uses the technique to prepare people for a time of ministry. I immediately, the following Monday, adapted it to prepare myself for my daily devotional Bible reading time. And let me tell you, if you’ve never done it, you have no idea how three deep breaths a day can change your outlook/attitude! I then follow it with my pre-Bible reading prayer that we talked about last time, welcoming the Holy Spirit in to guide my devotional time. You should try it, and see if God doesn’t speak more clearly during your time in the scriptures today, or tomorrow.
Anybody who knows me, knows that just one blog post on Bible Reading is just not enough to cover everything I’m gonna wanna say on this topic. So tune in next time for Bible Reading (Part 2) where we’ll walk about Reading Plans (To plan or not to plan?) as well as choosing a Translation (or better, a Bible format)! Until then, take three deep breaths (in through your nose and out through your mouth if you like) and welcome the Holy Spirit into your heart, mind, soul, strength, day!
“People are looking for peace!”