Taiwan Church Promotes Spiritual Formation

Aug 19, 2003 04:21 PM EDT

The Spiritual Formation task force of the Research and Development Center of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan held a forum in mid-July to train directors in Spiritual Formation. Dr. John McCall, the director of Spiritual Formation at Taiwan Theological College in Taipei, said that "Spiritual Formation uses various methods to draw people to God. He asserts the need for training in each method, none of which are picked up casually. "Spiritual Formation needs understanding, practice and training if one is to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit."

The task force encourages participation in routine church life activities, including weekly worship and occasional short-term mission projects, as part of formation.

Dr. McCall presented some thoughts on prayer. He categorized a few types of praying including: supplication, intercession, and adoration. He suggested that churches focus on one particular sort of prayer at a time, perhaps during different prayer meetings. In this way church members can expereience purposeful prayer free of distractions, making it more possible to hear the clear leading of the Holy Spirit.

The Rev. Peng Ter-kuei, another task force member, said that it is common for Christians to call on God regarding their needs, but not so common to take time to listen to God. Training in prayer is not about speaking but about how to listen. He said that the main point of spiritual renewal is to become godlike by moving closer to God. Confident in receiving direction from the Holy Spirit, persons who receive prayer training learn to discern God's commandments and to amend their lives to conform to God's will. The Rev. Chia Hi-beng (Andrew Hsieh) spoke of two bases of Spiritual Formation: worship and prayer. He said that worship is testimony to the risen Lord who transforms lives. The difference between the "before and after" of a transformed life is clear. He calls the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan to renewal of worship, both in its meaning and its form. Worship is the key place for Spiritual renewal.

Prayer, according to Rev. Chia, is both motivated BY God and serves as a bridge TO God. The praying person finds spiritual renewal as God enters into human life and redirects lives. A renewed and redirected life enables a person to live out the Christ within.