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Events and Learning Cohorts

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Life as Prayer Learning Cohort

Thu 06.23.22 @ 9:00 AM - 10:15 AM CDT

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Do you desire to deepen in prayer and intimacy with God? Do you wonder how prayer can be more than just words directed at God—but communion with God?

Whether you are a pastor, small group leader, follower of Jesus in the public square, or a new believer, you are invited to join Susan Smetzer-Anderson and Sharol Hayner to learn about and cultivate soul-nourishing prayer practices.  

Using David Benner’s Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer (IVP 2021), this 12-person cohort will learn the practices of “attending, pondering, responding, and being”— the four movements of Lectio Divina (Latin for “divine reading”). We will explore how we can pray with our senses, our imagination, with music and creativity. Both the book and cohort will serve as a rich resource for people at all stages of spiritual growth.  

Meeting Times and Location

Thursdays, June 16, 23, 30, and July 7

9 AM – 10:15 AM

Upper House 

Program Capacity

12 (we will have a waitlist)


Sharol Hayner is Parish Associate of Christ Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin. At age forty-eight, Sharol began seminary to ultimately earn her D.Min. from Columbia Theological Seminary and be ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She went on to serve at Peachtree Presbyterian Church and later at Kairos Church, both in Atlanta.  With her husband Steve Hayner (former president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship), she co-authored Joy in the Journey (IVP, 2015), a memoir of Steve’s battle with pancreatic cancer. She counts her three children and five grandchildren, all of whom live in the southern U.S., among her greatest joys.

Susan Smetzer-Anderson is Senior Writer and Brand Manager at Upper House. A long-time Wisconsin resident, she attended University of Wisconsin-Madison for graduate school and was active in InterVarsity Christian Graduate Fellowship. Prior to working at Upper House, Susan held various communication positions at UW and volunteered in church as a liturgical worship leader. She currently attends Christ Presbyterian Church and has an ever-growing interest in prayer, the work of the Holy Spirit, and what it means to experience God’s love and presence in every aspect of life.

Prayer Resources and Reading Schedule

Attendees will need to purchase and begin reading Opening to God: Lectio Divina and Life as Prayer (Expanded Edition), by David G. Benner, IVP, 2021. A journal will also be useful to document and reflect on prayer experiences.

Note that our first meeting will address the Introduction and Chapters 1-2. Our gathering will follow this discussion schedule:

June 16:  Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2

June 23: Chapters 3-5

June 30: Chapters 6-7

July 7: Chapters 8-9 and Afterward



Thu 06.23.22
9:00 AM - 10:15 AM CDT
Event Category:


Upper House
365 East Campus Mall, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53715 United States
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