How To (Getting Started)
When starting a Galilee with anyone who is unfamiliar, we recommend giving a little introduction before you begin, like the one below. (If you just want to see the mechanics of how a one-on-one vs group Galilee works, skip to the next section.)
Whether prayer has been a long road or today is our first step, Galilee helps each of us discover, practice, and advance in the relationship God wants to have with us. We only need to honestly describe our relationship with God and pray together.
We show up. God brings the growth.
Through repeated meetings, we develop the natural and spiritual skills to engage more intentionally and freely in our interior journey. As we progress, this becomes a lens that gives color and meaning to the rest of our lives.
A weekly Galilee has a turn-based format: I ask a question or perform an action; you answer and reciprocate. And it only takes 30 minutes. There is no leader, no open discussion, and you can even meet over the phone.
The Opener will now begin by reading How To Galilee from the card. And as you progress through your Galilee, don’t forget to read the notes from the back of the card.
After the introduction, read How To Galilee from the back of the card, and you can move into the first step. As you progress through your Galilee for the first time—or introduce someone else—it’s a good idea to read the notes from the back of the card. Each step is a training ground for different skills, and the kind of response expected may surprise you.
In successive Galilees, stick to the guidelines (i.e. avoiding discussion and commentary) and don’t be tempted to try to teach with your answers. Be specific and intentional with each step, and patient with your partner’s journey—and yours.
How does a one-on-one Galilee work?
(…With a friend)
How does a one-on-one Galilee work?
(…With a friend)
Ask the question in Step 1 and let your Galilee partner answer. Then they get to ask you back. An honest, authentic answer is the goal for this step. Use the same pattern for Step 2: the focus here is to follow the guide for recognizing God’s movements, from the notes.
At Step 3, one person offers a prayer to the Holy Spirit, then reads. The goal is to practice relationship with God via Scripture, through the simple exercise of seeking and choosing the stopping point. When they stop reading, their partner will re-read the same verses.
In Step 4, we are steeping or soaking in the Word and Presence of God. It is intentionally inactive.
With Step 5, we return to the back-and-forth rhythm: one person asks “What is your question?” and the other responds with a question inspired by the reading. The first person attempts an answer, then patiently allows the other to do the same. Then the first person gets to ask their question, and the back-and-forth answer pattern repeats. Certain personal discernments (e.g. Should I move?) may not serve this model well, but most other types of questions should.
When we ask the question in Step 6, we should receive the person’s response and pray for them, before turning it over for them to do the same for us. For this step, we are practicing our authority in Christ to bring God’s grace upon people and situations around us.
Finally, when you schedule the next meeting (Step 7), aim for approximately a week out.
How does a group Galilee work?
(…With a group)
Anyone can start the Galilee by asking their neighbor the first question; whoever does so will be identified as the Opener in these instructions and on the back of the card. (If there are new participants present, read the sub-text and Notes at each step, too, so they know how to answer.) Each person will answer and ask their neighbor, in turn, until we get back to the Opener, who will answer last. Then the Opener proceeds to ask their neighbor the question from Step 2.
Step 3 has two readers; the Opener can ask anyone in the group to re-read the verses after them.
The Opener should let everyone know when they are in Step 4, as well as, launching Step 5, but only one question should be proposed in Step 5. The Opener may suggest one or invite one from someone in the group. Each person still gets a turn to answer. Please note that Step 5 is not a test: a “correct” answer is not what this step is after, rather, each person’s reflection on the question, in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
For Step 6, each participant will ask the question of – and pray for – the next person in the group, in turn. And finally, in Step 7, you can mention or discuss the next meeting of the group.
I don’t understand all the parts of a question. Do I have to answer?
We grow in our ability to answer these with practice and repetition, so there’s no emphasis on finding the perfect words or having a “right” answer. Listen to how the other person answers, read the notes, and just be honest in your response.
What reading plan should we use for Step 3?
Any reading plan can work. Or none: just pick a book of the Bible and work your way through.
In either case, you only need a starting point for your reading: the first verse of another reading plan, or, simply let it be dictated by where your reading ended, last time. Just don’t give yourself a pre-determined stopping point: you’ll be looking for something to “stick out” for your stopping point, as part of your Galilee.
In step 3, do we read the same verses? Or different verses?
The first reader will read until something sticks out. The second reader simply reads the same verses.
Nothing sticks out at me in Step 3. What do I do? Did I do it wrong?
Not to worry. This kind of cooperation with the Holy Spirit grows with practice. If you’ve read a few verses and nothing is sticking out, simply choose a good stopping point. As usual, let the other reader know that you have finished.
In step 3, do we both read until something sticks out?
How long do I pause in Step 4?
Just long enough for the silence to get uncomfortable. Just kidding! Take a minute or two to consider a point or element from the reading. Discuss it with the Holy Spirit or just consider its meaning, imagine it in the scene, consider how it makes you feel or what desires it evokes. Maybe even leave room for the Holy Spirit to respond. Move on whenever it feels appropriate.
In step 5, does it have to be a question? What sort of question?
Yes, it has to be a question. This can be difficult—especially your first time—but it can also be great fun. Any question inspired by the reading is fine. You can ask about the reading itself, the characters, our feelings or thoughts reading it, how it might be applied to our lives, etc.
For example: If you read from the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), the following are a small sample of questions you might ask:
• How would you feel if you were the Father, seeing your long-lost son “a long way off”, coming home?
• Why do you think it specifies that the pigs were eating pods?
• What is the nature of the disagreement between the Father saying “everything I have is yours” and the older son saying “you didn’t even give me a kid goat”?
• What is a way that I feel like I’ve received a ring, a robe, or sandals?
• What do I feel entitled to, today?
In Step 6, do I have to pray out loud?
There is no requirement that you pray aloud, but don’t forget to let the person know when you have finished. An easy way to do so, is to simply say “Amen”, when you are done.
Praying aloud is encouraged, but keep it brief. Extemporaneous prayer is a beautiful way of conveying Christian care for others, and many become comfortable with it in a short time. But we don’t want to get carried away trying to impress people or build them up by the power of our own words. No matter how eloquent our words are, or aren’t, it is God who makes prayer effective! Trust Him.
How soon is “too soon” for our next Galilee?
There’s no real limit, but to avoid rushing through the process, don’t regularly schedule Galilees less than 5 days apart. The target is to Galilee weekly.
I don’t believe in God. Now what?
That’s ok! These are time-honored practices that Galilee depends on. And many people over many centuries have experienced growth, and considered themselves more fully-alive, authentic persons, after much effort and practice in these and other ways of prayer. We invite you to be open to the idea of a God who is interested in you for who you are, and who has plans for you; plans for a future for you of increasing good, happiness, life, and hope. We encourage you to participate as far as you are comfortable doing so and to the best of your abilities. We want you and your Galilee partner, to be the best you can be. We only ask of you what we ask of ourselves: an authentic effort, honest answers, and honorable listening.