Rev. Summer Joy Gross is offering a new resource for those desiring to know and draw on God’s peace in their lives: It’s called The Presence Project… offering 12 simple and repeatable spiritual practices to take followers from anxious to resting in God.
“A lot of people have trouble listening to God,” says Rev. Summer. “This creates space.”
Rev. Summer is a spiritual formation director, who started The Presence Project after ten years of teaching inner healing small groups. In those groups, she found that deep healing could not begin until people had developed a secure attachment to God, and she began incorporating the spiritual practices that she now shares in The Presence Project: tools from healing prayer ministry coupled with modern neuroscience on retraining the brain.
Though it began as a longer-form monthly webinar, The Presence Project is now available in a shorter podcast format of just 30 minutes each – which also allows anyone to join in on the 12-month learning process at any time.
“It’s geared toward the busy person who’s trying to find a way to practice the presence of God in their ordinary life,” she says, such as the parent in the car, those with a long commute, or anyone out for a short walk.
Though she says most people following along with The Presence Project are those who struggle with chronic anxiety, Rev. Summer says it’s appropriate for anyone curious about spiritual disciplines and needing an introduction to them… and also for help finding God’s peace in a tech-heavy, scattered world.
“I think it’s one of the major spiritual issues of our day. Our phones have become so addictive, and it’s ruining our ability to focus and listen to God,” she says. “We need to mine our historical Christian practices that are body, mind, and spirit and connect us to communion with God.”
The Presence Project incorporates lectio divina readings, a practice of praying and absorbing Scripture that dates to St. Benedict in the 6th century – which is also the focus of Rev. Summer’s Slow Word Movement, a lectionary-based weekly lectio divina reading.
“I call it the second half… Bible study is great, but lectio divina brings what you know and brings it into prayer,” she says. “You’re allowing the word to master you instead of you mastering the word.”
The Presence Project will also eventually be discussing St. Ignatius’ Daily Examen as well as his exercises. And Rev. Summer often references her own story of spiritual growth, “so that I use my own vulnerability, in order to give people a touchstone to know that they’re not alone with their own growth.”
Ways you can learn more and join in: