What is One Heart~One Fire Ministries?
At it's core, One Heart~One Fire provides prayer groups and prayer time for young people. Our mission is to provide an atmosphere where children can rest in God’s personal love for them and experience and know Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. One Heart~One Fire provides opportunities for children to become aware of and understand God’s grace and presence within their everyday lives, in their family life, in their Catholic faith, and in their public witness to God. It is our hope that, through these experiences, young people will be encouraged to choose to live the truth of who God is and who they are as beloved children of God.
What will we be doing/learning at a One Heart~One Fire prayer group?
Participants will learn to pray in an atmosphere that encourages openness to the Holy Spirit: His presence, actions, gifts, and fruits. The fundamental prayer of the Church is “Come Holy Spirit.” Without the presence, actions, gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit we have no experience or knowledge of God. Within this openness to the Holy Spirit, children will experience the three core aspects:
A. Personal Prayer Time
The Holy Spirit's movement within and through Lectio Divina is at the heart of One Heart~One Fire Ministries personal prayer time.
Our prayer group format contains the seven key principles of Lectio Divina.
Lectio Divina means 'divine reading' and is a way of praying the Scriptures the Church has encouraged for centuries.
St Gregory the Great said it is a form of “learning God’s heart through the word’s of God - the scripture.”
The seven steps of Lectio Divina are:
(1) Satio - asking the Holy Spirit for guidance in understanding the word of God through the scripture;
(2) Lectio - reading or praying over the scripture;
(3) Meditation – soaking in the scripture / entering into the passage, sometimes with our imagination;
(4) Oratio – asking God what He wants to teach us through the scripture (here we allow God to speak and we listen);
(5) Contemplatio – resting in God with a grateful heart for what He is sharing with us individually through His word;
(6) Collatio – sharing with others what God has shared with our hearts;
(7) Action – Each individual has the opportunity to receive prayer for the grace to act on the word of God shared with their
heart on that particular day.
Through the weekly process of listening to God’s voice in our hearts together, the children also
learn tools for discernment. The tools we work with are based in St. Ignatius of Loyola’s rules of
Prayer groups periodically take the opportunity to encounter Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament through times of Eucharistic Adoration.
B. Communal Prayer Time
Worship through song
Sharing what God has placed on our hearts in small group discussion
Praying for others communally
C. Ministry time for one another
Intercession for others
Praying with one another
What does a typical One Heart~One Fire prayer group look like?
Snack – Give 10 to 15 minutes for the youth to socialize and have a snack
(Optional) Ice breaker – Play a game that helps them to get to know one another … and get the wiggles out. Give 5 – 10 minutes for the game.
Praise & Worship – This will be a time of song focused on God that may include dance, hand motions, stillness, etc. There may be live music or a CD used.
Opening Prayer/ Prayers of intercession – Here the children/youth name whatever is on their hearts that they would like to place into Jesus’ and Mary’s heart for care as they enter into this time of prayer
Scripture – The children/youth are encouraged to bring their own bibles so they become accustomed to finding scriptures for prayer. Often scripture is read out loud for everyone to hear and listen to what God might be speaking to them them through it. For younger children, this may be experienced through a skit based on the scripture or a story format using wooden characters.
Meditation – The time for meditating on God’s Word might consist of reflecting on the scripture shared, entering into a Bible story, pausing for a time of silence, or reflecting on a shared prayer based on the scripture.
Praying with the journal – This is a time for the children/youth to write down what they feel the Lord is speaking to their hearts during their prayer time (this is externalizing their meditation prayer). The younger children will have the option to draw instead of writing. The children/youth are always welcome to start with whatever is on their hearts (what they are thankful for, or are struggling with), but there is also a question available if they need a question to get them started.
Contemplation - Here the children/youth take a moment to be still and soak in all that God has shared with them through His living word: both from the scripture and from within their hearts.
Small group sharing – Here we have the opportunity to grow in our faith community by sharing our faith and listening to others. The participants and leaders gather into small groups (no more than eight) to share what God is speaking to their hearts from their prayer time in the moment, or from their God-moments from the previous week. No one is ever forced to share - we simply encourage the opportunity to articulate one’s lived faith.
Prayer for one another – After the first few weeks, each person, including the adults, will have the opportunity to have someone pray with him/her.” We place our hand on the shoulder of the person we are praying with, because we are giving Jesus permission to move through His Mystical Body (us) to love, encourage and heal His children. The adult always leads first to model how to open and close the prayer. This prayer time is simple, yet profound, as we are asking the Holy Spirit for his help, hope, and peace for one another.
An example of this would be:
Open: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your son/daughter. We ask you to fill them with your love and all they need at this
time….come Holy Spirit…come Holy Spirit…
Take a few seconds of silence
Sharing: the older children’s groups may may share words from scripture, or other encouraging thoughts or pictures that may
come to them during the prayer time
Close: Lord, thank you for your (daughter's / son's name). We ask that you bless them throughout this week. Amen.
Closing in large group. In the last few minutes, the full group is gathered together and asked if anyone has questions or
would like to share something from their prayer experience. Afterwards, we close with a song and/or
prayer, including a prayer of protection for the children and their families throughout the following week.
We end with the “St. Michael the Archangel Prayer” and “Mary, Mother of us all …. Pray for us!”
What is the difference between One Heart~One Fire and Faith Formation Classes?
One Heart~One Fire Ministries provides prayer groups and prayer experiences for young people. The hoped for fruit is a child’s deepened personal relationship with God and his/her faith community. Although aspects of catechesis are part of the overall prayer experience, One Heart~One Fire is not explicitly a space for catechetical instruction on every aspect of our faith. Therefore, the focus of One Heart~One Fire is not just learning about God, but knowing God Himself, and allowing ourselves to be known by God. This leads one to friendship with God. The children are invited into silence where there is an openness in allowing God to love them and teach them according to the school of His heart. Hopefully, this friendship with God will make the rest of a child’s catechetical formation that much more appealing, desirable, and relational.
What might a child experience during a One Heart~One Fire prayer time?
* Relationship. Prayer is relationship, and this is with God and one another. Jesus said, where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be (Mt 18:20). Where our hearts are opened to one another, and love and truth are shared, we experience Jesus Christ. The primary fruit of our prayer time is Relationship. Out of this growing sense of relationship comes community and a space where children/youth feel they belong, believe they have gifts to offer, know the truth of who they are (identity), and that their lives are purpose-filled.
*Joy. Participants may experience deep joy, that can sometimes be accompanied by laughter. It may be described as warm, and as feeling of love like they have never experienced. If a child begins to laugh, and it is clear that it is not a purposeful distraction, but beyond their control, then we simply allow them their space with the Lord to know His joy in their hearts.
*Tears. Participants may experience tears. These may be tears of joy, sadness, sorrow, cleansing, or release. The person may not understand what the tears are about at the time, and that is okay. We simply assure them that it is okay to cry; it is a gift. When children and youth see we are alright with the tears, it gives them permission to express what they are feeling - however that may surface. We assure the other participants that the child/youth is fine and that they do not need to focus on the tears. We remind everyone to keep their focus on Jesus.
*Images. Jesus frequently spoke to His disciples and the crowds in parables because He knew that stories would help them understand his deeper teachings/messages. God still speaks to us in ways that help us understand what he is communicating to us. One of these ways is mental pictures or images. St. Ignatius of Loyola encourages us to enter into scripture scenes as if we were actually there and see what we experience there...what is Jesus saying, doing? What do you feel like, sense there? etc. The gift of our imagination is touched by the Holy Spirit as a way we can connect with God's heart. Anyone may experience an image, or picture, as they pray that leads them into a deeper understanding of God’s presence in their own life or in the lives of others. It's important to clarify that what most people experience are images, not visions. If someone refers to an image as a vision, it is best to use that as a formation moment, and remind them the difference between an image and a vision. An image is a picture or story God shows to teach us, a vision is a direct communication between God and a person. For instance, St. Bernadette of Lourdes received visions of Our Blessed Mother.
*Healing. Jesus came to reconcile and restore the broken/bruised areas of our lives with his own heart. At the heart of prayer, this reality is known. God may move into an area of woundedness for a child, or adult, during the prayer group. This may be evident through tears or words that a child/youth shares. Our focus is to help young people connect with God's heart for them within the brokenness. We want them to understand that they are not alone in their pain and that Jesus desires to love them, help them, and bring them peace there. If certain issues surface that need to be handled by parents, we share the information with the core team and it is their responsibility to contact the child’s parents.
*Prayer in the Holy Spirit (the gift of Tongues). In a broad definition, the gift of tongues is experienced whenever we give the Holy Spirit permission to lead our prayer and pray within and through us. The first Disciples with Mary at Pentecost experienced this gift, along with the Church throughout the centuries. As St Paul reminds us: "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us." This gift may be expressed in many forms: by a language the Holy Spirit uses to pray, through spontaneous prayer, singing, art, music, etc.
*The gift of Compassion. At times, a person may experience joy or sadness during prayer that seems to have no explanation. This may simply be Jesus sharing his heart for others with us. As Catholic Christians, we believe in an Incarnational spirituality. God became man so that we might know how God loves, heals, speaks, forgives, rejoices, suffers, and even feels. Jesus Christ alive in us through Baptism continues to share his heart with us. If he allows it, we can feel what Jesus feels. Sometimes he shares the joys and sadness in his heart for what his Mystical Bride is experiencing or going through. We help young people make this connection so that whatever they feel, on any given day, can be be turned into prayer for others.
*No matter what the children/youth experience during the prayer group, we desire the Holy Spirit to be your guide. We encourage and remind the children/youth that God speaks to each of us differently. He created each one of us differently, so he speaks to each one of us in special ways. He can talk to us in the words of our parents, brothers and sisters, or friends. He can communicate his heart to us through music, scripture, images, nature; through our feelings and thoughts; through our daily events and relationships, etc. Knowing God's heart voice helps us grow in discernment. As we grow in the awareness of how/when God speaks to us, we grow in relationship with God himself and share in his mission to love one another as we have been loved by him (Jn 13:34).