ES&F 2 Way Prayer Format

The older versions of the format are at the end of the post.

Here is a link to the current version as a PDF

Here is a link to program prayers page on the blog.

Welcome & Opening Prayer

Welcome to our Zoom Tenth and Eleventh Step Guidance Meeting. My name is ___________ and I will be the moderator for our group today.

Let’s open with a moment of silence, to invite God into our hearts, followed by the Serenity Prayer. You are welcome to unmute as you wish.

SILENCE FOR A COUNT OF 5-10 BREATHS

SERENITY PRAYER: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Leader: Thy will not mine be done!

Meeting Intro & Format

GROUP PREAMBLE:

This is a Tenth and Eleventh Step Guidance Group focused on the practice of Two Way Prayer. We welcome any member of a 12 Step fellowship, regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other trait.

Together, we are seeking to deepen our conscious contact with the God of our own understanding through an enhanced practice of the last 3 steps of the 12 step programs. We do this by following the original program of AA, based on the Oxford Group, which included the principles of the 4 Absolutes and the practice of written guidance or Two Way Prayer. Ultimately, this direct and personal experience of listening to our inner voice  — “the still, small Voice” of calm that is within each of us, will enable us to be of maximum service to God, other people and ourselves.

Is there anyone here today who is new to Two Way prayer or this group? If so, please  unmute and introduce yourself. If you are new to our group, welcome!

PAUSE

Welcome again to everyone! We are so grateful that you have joined us today.

[NOTE TO TECH: Post all of the links in the chat box. Please note newcomers for breakout rooms.]

The 4 Absolutes

The spiritual disciplines of the 4 Absolutes and the last 3 steps are an important foundation for our group.

The 4 Absolutes, used by the Oxford Group, were the guiding spiritual principles used to determine if one’s decisions, thoughts or actions are in alignment with God’s-will or motived by self-will. These ideals called for: Absolute Honesty, Absolute Unselfishness, Absolute Purity, and Absolute Love. Although recognized as impossible to attain, when the 4 Standards are maintained faithfully as goals, they become powerful transformers of conduct, character, and consciousness.

[NOTE TO TECH: Post the link for the Four Absolutes and the Oxford Group in the chat box. Then share the screen for the reading of the Four Absolutes and 10-11-12 steps.]

Assign Reader for the 4 Absolutes

LEADER: Who would like to read the 4 Absolutes?

[READER BEGINS]

My name is ______ and these are the 4 Absolutes:

ABSOLUTE HONESTY: Not deceiving others or ourselves in word, deed and thoughts.

ABSOLUTE PURITY (FORGIVENESS): Freedom from being controlled by our desires or our fears and insecurities.

ABSOLUTE UNSELFISHNESS: Seeking what is right and true ahead of what I want in every situation. A commitment to fairness and justice and a willingness to share.

ABSOLUTE LOVE (FAITH): The feeling of affection, benevolence or devotion created through acts of selfless unconditional giving to another person according to one’s highest spiritual values.

[READER STOPS]

Leader: Thank you.

Optional: Assign Reader for Steps 10, 11 & 12

Who would like to read the Steps 10, 11 and 12 from the Original Manuscript?

[READER BEGINS]

My name is ______ and these are the last three Steps of the 12-Step Program from the Original Manuscript:

Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

[READER STOPS]

Leader: Thank you.

[SCREEN SHARE STOPS]

While we remain focused here today on these last three Steps, we continue to work and to make daily use of the other spiritual tools gained through all the Steps outside of this group.

SEVENTH TRADITION

In accordance with the Seventh Tradition, our group is self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. The information will be placed in the chat box.

Tech: Please post this in the chat the 7th Tradition link via PayPal    

Group Process

Our meeting lasts for approximately one hour. As a group, we will individually practice writing Two Way prayer. After writing, we will share our guidance with each other in smaller breakout rooms. We will then return to the larger group at the conclusion of our meeting for any announcements, and/or feedback.

All sharing is completely voluntary and confidential. We ask for this to be respected by one and all.

Please have some paper and something to write with. Many of us come with a question or topic of concern to take to God for guidance today. Or, you may simply ask: “God, what is Your will for me today?”  As thoughts come into your mind, write them down. Guidance can take the form of images, thoughts, feelings or inspiration.

Assign Reader for How to Listen to God.

Who would like to read the pamphlet How to Listen to God?

Thank you ___________ for volunteering to read today. Please read the first 6 instructions before we stop to write our guidance. The rest of the pamphlet will be read after writing time is completed.

[NOTE TO TECH: open in a new tab and screen share it for the reader.]

READ FIRST HALF OF HOW TO LISTEN TO GOD

LEADER: We will now follow these directions and write together for 10 minutes. During Two Way Prayer, meditative music will be played in the background. Anyone who wants to meditate in silence, is welcome to turn down their volume for the 10 minutes and return when the timer is up.

At the end of the 10 minutes the music will stop. Feel free to continue writing longer if you still feel inspired to do so.  

Start writing now.

[NOTE TO TECH: Screen share with sound, and play the music. Below is a PowerPoint with a picture of the 4 Absolutes and a link to the music.

The Four Absolutes with Music

[NOTE TO TECH: If the music is longer than 10 minutes, fade the volume up from silence at the beginning, and fade the volume down to silence when the timer stops. At the end of writing time, stop the music and the screen share. Go back to screen sharing How to Listen to God so the reader can go through the second half.]

READER: After the music ends the leader will ask you to finish the reading: 

Leader: Will _______ please continue to read the rest of How to Listen to God?

READ SECOND HALF OF HOW TO LISTEN TO GOD

Leader: Next is our time for sharing the guidance we received. I will read the instructions for sharing guidance, and then, we will divide into breakout rooms.

[NOTE TO LEADER AND TECH: If there are less than 8 people on the call, breakout rooms are not needed.]

[NOTE TO TECH: If there are 8 or more people on the call, set up breakout rooms while the leader continues to read the script.

  • Create enough rooms that there are 3-4 people per room.
  • Try to ensure every room has at least one person with enough experience to help newcomers and keep the sharing on track. You can set up the rooms automatically, but then may wish to move a couple of people around.
  • Then delete one room. Those people will remain in the main room with you.
  • Set a XX minute timer for the breakout rooms. Open them when the leader announces them below.]

Instruction for Breakout Rooms

In the breakout rooms, those who want to share their written Guidance today are invited to do so. Please be mindful of your time in the breakout sessions, so everyone has an opportunity to share.

Please share only what you have written during “Quiet Time” without embellishment or explanation.

how-to-test-thoughts-no-outline

Test your thoughts before sharing. Are they aligned with the criteria of the 4 Absolutes? Are they Honest, Pure, Unselfish and Loving? Share only those thoughts that pass this test and that you feel comfortable sharing with other members of the group. If you haven’t written anything down, please pass.

3 WAY PRAYER: While one member is sharing, we invite you to write down anything that is especially meaningful to you. Were there any particular words or phrases which resonated with you? What did you hear that you feel was directed towards you personally? When we receive guidance through another person, we call this, this “three-way prayer” — the “Spirit of the Universe” speaking to us through others.

We invite you to comment briefly, if the person sharing requests feedback.

Listeners are reminded that WE DO NOT INTERPRET ONE ANOTHER’S GUIDANCE. The purpose of feedback is not to give advice. The purpose IS to share briefly what you heard that resonated with you.

how to receive & share written guidance PNG

Breakout Rooms

We will now divide out into breakout rooms.

Rooms are set for XX minutes, with a 1-minute leeway to wrap up and return to the main group.  Rooms are set to have a 3 person minimum for safety. The main room will remain open, and you are welcome to return at any time for any reason by clicking the blue “leave room” button.

[NOTE TO TECH: Open the breakout rooms now. Once breakout rooms are assigned, select “Automatically move all assigned participants into breakout rooms.”]

Optional script while in breakout room

Please provide feedback using first person statements such as: “The guidance that I received for myself through the guidance of others today is ….”

After everyone who wants to has shared in the breakout rooms, time permitting, you may want to discuss general themes that came up, or what was most meaningful overall.

[NOTE TO TECH: If you and your group in the main room finish early and are ready for others to come back in advance of the XX minutes timer, you can broadcast a note saying everyone is welcome to return to the main room whenever they are ready. If everyone is back before the XX minutes are up, you can close the breakout rooms early.]

[NOTE TO LEADER: Read the closing section when everyone is back from the breakout rooms]

Return to the main group

Wrap Up

Welcome back everyone! Now is our time for sharing feedback: how was your experience in your room today? Does anyone have any questions?

PAUSE

Announcements

Our time is almost up. Are there any announcements?

We have a WhatsApp group. If you would like to join, please click the link in the chat box.

Resources for our group:

[NOTE TO TECH: Paste this into the chat box: 530am EST WhatsApp group:

Link to this chat: https://chat.whatsapp.com/IJ1tu5qRdiE7KXW2GDrYrq ]

We are one of many two-way prayer groups that meet throughout the day. If you would like to stay in touch with our broader two-way prayer family, the Telegram group will be also included in the chat box.

[NOTE TO TECH: Paste this into the chat box: Broader Two Way Prayer Telegram group: https://t.me/joinchat/IBcIrDCsxl31sdTE]

Thank you all for sharing and for the opportunity to lead the meeting. If you found it helpful, please come back tomorrow and bring a friend!

Closing Prayer

As we close this meeting, let’s all take a few deep breaths and close with prayer.

[Note to tech: please share closing prayer of leader’s choice on screen.]

Here is the link to view the prayer page on the blog.

I have chosen XXXXXXX and will ask (TECH) to please share it on the screen. You are welcome to unmute as you wish.

 

Suggestions for closing prayers

Third Step Prayer: “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.  Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.  Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.” (AA BB: 63)

Seventh Step Prayer: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows.  Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding.  Amen” (AA BB: 76)

Step 11 Prayer

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace — that where there is hatred, I may bring love — that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness — that where there is discord, I may bring harmony — that where there is error, I may bring truth — that where there is doubt, I may bring faith — that where there is despair, I may bring hope — that where there are shadows, I may bring light — that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted — to understand, than to be understood — to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.  (AA 12 &12; 99:3)

Eleventh Step Prayer

Higher Power, as I understand You,
I pray to keep my connection with You
Open and clear from the confusion of daily life.
Through my prayers and meditation I ask especially for
Freedom from self-will, rationalization, and wishful thinking.
I pray for the guidance of correct thought and positive action.
Your will Higher Power, not mine, be done.

My Twelfth Step Prayer

God, allow my words, thoughts and deeds to reflect Your will. Grant me the Compassion and Strength to help the suffering, the Resources to fill their needs, and the Courage, Insight and Wisdom to guide them until they may walk with You on their own. Let me never lose sight that I was once in need and I am by Your Grace enjoying the fruits of my sobriety. Let my life be my gift to You for the many blessing You have given me. Amen. (Bill L., 1999)

Ruth’s Prayer

Thank You, dear God, for another day,
The chance to live in a decent way,
To feel again the joy of living
and happiness that comes from giving.
Thank You for friends who can understand
and the peace that flows from Your loving hand.
Help me to wake with the morning sun,
With the prayer today, “Thy will be done.”
For with Your help I will find the way.
Thank You again, dear God, for AA.

[NOTE TO TECH HELP OR LEADER: Here is a PDF of all the program friendly prayers I could think of. This is the same document in a word doc. ]

Optional: Time for Fellowship

[NOTE TO LEADER: The meeting ends here. Resources for further reading are below.]

OPTIONAL READINGS DEPENDING ON LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE OF THE GROUP.

Written Guidance & Western Meditation

Meditation, in the language of the Big Book – means concentrated thought, specifically about what happened over the previous 24 hours and what needs correcting and about what I am going to do over the next 24 hours.

Directions:

Choose a quiet place. Take this time to silently connect to God and feel His presence. Breathe naturally and be with what is.

Meditate or repeat an inspirational phase or word of your choice, which could include the serenity prayer, the 3rd step or 7th step prayers.

Take a moment to be grateful for all of the good that was done for you and for all of the blessings that you have received.

Create a positive visualization   — Imagine God’s Goodness, blessings, kindness, and compassion flowing into you like fresh water from a spring.

Set your intension by writing a question that you would like intuitive guidance on. OR, another way is to just set your intension is to ask: “God, please show me what I need to know so that I can be free from wrong motives and do Your will throughout the day.”

Listen to your thoughts and cultivate awareness. As thoughts come into your mind, write them down. Guidance can take the form of images, thoughts, feelings or inspiration.

Stop writing when the flow of thoughts slows down.

Examine what you have written down. What is the voice of addiction and what is the voice of recovery?

Test each thought using the 4 Standards to separate God thoughts from self-thoughts.

  • Are these thoughts completely honest, pure unselfish and loving?
  • Are these thoughts in line with our duties, to our family, to our country?
  • Are these thoughts in line with our understanding of the teachings found in our spiritual literature?

Discuss what you have written with another person.

Commit to acting on “God thoughts” and discard the “self-thoughts.

FOR ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE 4 ABSOLUTES, ADD A LINK TO THE CHART BELOW IN THE CHAT BOX.

For reference purposes, I find it easier to list and define the 4 Absolutes by using the chart below. Here is the link to more information posted on the blog.

4 Absolutes

 

God’s will

AA BB

 

Self-will

Definition Question Application
Honesty Dishonesty Not deceiving others or ourselves in word, deed and thoughts Is it true or false? Am I being honest?
Purity/Forgiveness or Compassion Resentment Freedom from being controlled by our desires or our fears and insecurities. Before acting, reacting or making a decision: Is it right or wrong? Are my motives pure/compassionate? Do I have ulterior motives?
Unselfishness Selfishness A commitment to fairness and justice and a willingness to share. How will this action affect others? Is this self-serving or to serve others?
Love (Faith) Fear The feeling of affection, benevolence or devotion created through acts of selfless unconditional giving to another person according to one’s highest spiritual values. Is it ugly (fear-based) or beautiful (faith-based)? Does this action create peace, harmony and balance?

Other Resources:

How to Listen to God

You can also read How to Listen to God

How to Begin Practicing Quiet Time by Father Bill W.

how to practice 2WP Shira’s edits 2-12-21

HOW TO LISTEN TO GOD iofC version

Shira’s guided meditation for 2 Way Prayer:

Written Guidance & Western Meditation

Program prayers

Here are 3 versions of all the program prayers I could think of. This is a link for a more compact version that is only 5 pages. This is a PDF that is less compact and 12 pages. This is the list as a word doc, in case anyone wants to edit it and add additional prayers of their choice.

Step 10 & 11

For some reason I am a big fan of this more detailed explanation of Step 10 & 11 because it includes room for the practice of 2 Way Prayer. Here it is without the How to Listen to God

If anyone has any suggestions, recommendations or objections, please let me know.

Please note: *If any of the original sources of the documents above believe that this is in violation of copyright, please contact me directly through the blog or by email at: emotionalsobriety2013@gmail.com

The goal of the blog and of this format is to be a resource for other people in 12 Step recovery and to carry the message of recovery for fun and for free. However, I do not want my altruistic spirit of generosity to violate other people’s copyrights or exceed the legal boundaries of fair use.

In love & service,

Shira

Please also check out this page on the blog for more information on 2 Way Prayer

Quotes from the AA Big Book are taken from the Original Manuscript but the page numbers refer to the 4th edition.

Older formats. This format is a work in progress. Below are links to the various versions just for my personal use.

Here is the first format, that I wrote on 12/24/2020. I have an updated long and shorter one. Here is the blog post as a pdf as of 1/3/2021.

I have also made a shorter format, without the additions for new members. It is also in a smaller font, so it is only 5 pages.

ES&F 2 Way Prayer Format 2-23-2021

2WP format 4-25-2021

2WP format 4-25-2021 with GC

2WP meeting format with GC 4-26-21

ES&F 2 Way Prayer Format 4-18-2021

ES&F 2WP 4-19-21 smaller text no pictures

ES&F 2WP smaller text no pictures announcements at end

ES&F 2 Way Prayer Format with GC no pictures 4-28-21

ES&F 2 Way Prayer Format 5-24-2021

ES&F 2 Way Prayer Format 5-31-2021

ES&F 2 Way Prayer Format 6-2-2021

Here is a link to the 2 Way Prayer Format from 6/27/21

Above are the links for the formats in mostly PDFs. As I go along, I seem to make more edits, so there may be slight changes or additions, in particular, I am adding more references and links. Thank you for your patience! 

  • 7th Step prayer & picture
  • Humility Plaque on Dr. Bob's desk