Christian Spiritual DisciplinesNew Every Morning | January 29, 2018
A LIVELY SET of spiritual practices is also crucial to becoming better friends with God. Spiritual teachers in the East and West point out the benefits of a steady diet of practice as the way to open up the soul to the Other. It’s hard to develop a friendship if you rarely spend time with your friend! Christian spiritual disciplines like lectio divina, examen, Bible study, spiritual reading, worship, and contemplative prayer afford us space to listen to our first and best Friend. Conversational prayer throughout the day, as well as breath prayers and the repetition of the Jesus Prayer, increases our connection to a gracious God who is invisibly near. We remember Brother Lawrence, who turned to God throughout the day even in the most mundane of tasks. At first he had to bring conscious effort to an ongoing awareness of God’s presence, but over time it became a habit — the natural outgrowth of regular practice.
– Stephanie Ford
Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship
From pages 89-90 of Kindred Souls: Connecting through Spiritual Friendship by Stephanie Ford. Copyright © 2006 by Stephanie Ford. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Do you practice a spiritual discipline? What would you tell a friend about it? Share your thoughts.
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; who brings princes to naught, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
Isaiah 40:22-23, NRSV
This Week: Pray for those suffering from natural disasters. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
Did You Know?
In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.
This week we remember: Brigid of Ireland (February 1).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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My time in the morning is an essential spiritual practice. Keeping my mind from wandering is still something that needs improved, but I stay at it. An area I feel has improved is taking moments throughout the day to step into His Presence, with thankfulness, petition or just time with Him. It is good that my thoughts go heavenwards…or if I feel myself getting agitated – I often am mindful to re-direct my thoughts towards Him. Where in the past my thoughts would be negative and often on a runaway train, they are calmer now and I have quicker recognition of when I need to stop the wrong thoughts or negative self talk.
Beautiful sun and blue skies greeted me on my way out of church yesterday. I had much school work to do, but took time to go for a walk with my friend and her dog, and she also fixed supper. It ended up being a busy weekend, busier than anticipated. Grateful for church, a message on Bartimaeus from Mark – the blind man who cried out to Jesus. Much of the message was about our spiritual blindness and how Jesus reaches out to us.
Jill, I feel we are so blessed to read your comments and posts. I learn so much from your words and experience. It’s a goal of mine, to maintain the peace and calm you display in times of unrest. Thank you for your example, Jill.
Yes, Quiet Time in the morning, fellowship with the UR family, going to church, walks, hymns, and prayers throughout the day are part of my spiritual practice and YES they make a difference. God is always there waiting for us.
Thankful for a safe trip yesterday to my annual train show, was able to give away cars, layout equipment, and a book to people who know what to do with it. Manned the booth of a railroad historical society, we had 7 new members.
Met with fellow modelers, got some help with a model I’m building, and saw a model that is on its way to me. Brought the display to northern VT where it will be used at a train show held at my high school’s gym. While all of this is fun for me, I hope it is not a distraction from God.
So glad to read about the progress Mary’s dad is making. Prayers for all of you. I will check more of yesterday’s post and catch up.
Robert, praises your traveling was safe yesterday. I do miss church so much and love hearing all those who describe their church experiences, Chapel or television, here! I agree with Andrea, and don’t see any distraction from God and His Word in your hobby, Robert. And that He wants us to enjoy healthy hobbies! God bless you and your family!
The hobby is a lot of fun for me, I enjoy it immensely, I just don’t want it ever to take me away from a far more important relationship with the One who made me.
Thanks so much Robert!
I am very frustrated at work today with regards to not enough mother tongue teacher. I am expected to give mother tongue soelling for the next class and mark their work, do corrections with them and theindian teacher even expect me to record for them on their communication books. My class is already overwhelming and i trained my students to record and show it to me. Also, when messages for my students to be dismissed, no action is taken . Not sure whether she is sleeping in my class or texting her boyfriend
Mary, dear sister, I keep thinking to myself, “this has to stop!” Have you spoken again with those in charge concerning this burden being placed on you? It would be one thing if it was “doable,” but this sound worse every time you tell us about it. It’s definitely piling too much onto your workload. I will pray you can speak to someone about this and that they will do the right thing and reassign some of your other duties to others if they insist on putting the language speaking workload on you alone. Praying!
Praises for your Dad’s recuperation!
Yes, I’ve spoken to the centre manager but she is leaving the company end of the month. All Chinese teachers are stretched like we are about to snap anytime
Appreciate your prayers
Mary, reach higher than the centre manager. You are in a very tough situation, people who should be doing something are leaving. For the school to function properly, help is needed immediately. Prayers for you, Chinese teachers, and the whole school. This is not the situation you hoped for when you took this job.
Starting my morning here with devotion time is my most faithful practice. Prayers lifted up for this group of UR followers is included in that. I also attend a Bible Study class that requires intense daily lessons. Sometime it is a struggle, but I get so much out of the weekly discussion with my group and the lecture that accompanies it. I am still working to keep God with me throughout the day in prayer and spirit. It seems I get busy with daily tasks and forget to turn to him. That spiritual habit takes practice.
Blessings for all who visit here and for a good week ahead.
Betsy, your Bible Study sound like a good spiritual discipline. I’m not part of a group, but reading and journaling (very little because of my hands and fingers) “Do Not Live Afraid” by John Indermark.
I am back from a five day retreat. It was wonderful but I came back with a cold and am nervous my coughing will get me into difficulty like it did last spring and fall.
I keep all of you in my prayers. Mary, I pray for you in your difficult work situation. Julie, I pray for your physical comfort and for your difficult home situation. Marcy, I pray you are improving and that you will get the care and support you need at home.
Jill, good to hear you had a restful, fun weekend. Robert, glad you had a good trip…I believe God rejoices when we have time to play and enjoy hobbies. Prayers too for Lou, Betsy, Connie, April, Francesca, and all who visit UR.
From Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
I am soon on my way to babysit my grandson, who also has a cold and possible ear infection.
Andrea, I am praying to our merciful Father that your cough goes away soon, maybe with the aid of some OTC medicine if possible. No repeats, Lord, please, of last year’s events, I pray. Was the retreat a very private experience or can you share any parts of it with us? Thank you, Andrea, for your prayers. You know their importance to me. I’m joyful in your progress with your daughter. PTL!
Forgot to say, Have a good time with your grandson, hope he’s feeling better soon!
Welcome back Andrea and thanks so much for your prayers
Mary, I pray that God strengthens you as you are challenged to perform more and more duties in your new job. I realize that your days are our nights, so I pray for you during my bedtime prayers.
Robert, Andrea, and Jill I am glad to hear you all had enjoyable weekends. I pray Anrea’s cold and cough resolve quickly and completely.
Thank you for your prayers. My feet and knees are doing better, but still have healing ahead. Fingers won’t get better until weather warms.
Blessings and prayers for all who visit
Julie, I pray that you get more relief and complete healing from the pain in your knees and feet. Spring, come soon!
Thanks so much Julie
Every morning, I pray intercessory prayers for a long list of people, all of you here included. Intercessory prayer directs one to pray for others by group, but I have personalized my prayers for each individuals needs and have a notebook, which is missing some info, but has most everything in it so I can pray directly to each ones needs. Since I’m unable, even before my illness, to get out and do much, this has given me a sense of purpose, fulfilling God’s will, and has become my main spiritual practice and/or discipline. I also like the audio lectio spiritual practice once a week on Sunday. This is on the Internet under Audio Lectio if anyone would like to try it. I find myself able to meditate on God’s Word quite well. Also, The Ignatian Prayer method, which is a visualization of Scripture. And The Examen, which I would like to do again. This is a nightly prayer method which wraps up one’s day in prayer – the good, the not so good, just a really good way to end the day in the all-encompassing Love of God. I would recommend them all.
I continue to keep in prayer all who are healing from physical, emotional, mental, relational and spiritual challenges and praising God with all who are celebrating health, happiness and harmony. I pray for all who have lost loved ones and are still recovering from hurricanes, earthquakes, massive flooding, wildfires, terrible storms, rain, snow, sleet or ice, huge ice dams and even a volcano eruption in recent days and a tsunami scare, though thanks be to God that didn’t come to pass. Still, it must have been frightening!
Thank you, as always, my dear UR siblings, friends and family, for your prayers and thoughts. I enjoy and learn from your posts and am thankful to our Father in heaven for each and every one of you. If anyone is reading, and needs to share their burdens, this loving group of people are filled with the Spirit of God and will welcome you. Please remember that. God knows your concerns. I will pray for you.
And these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is LOVE!
Oh Marcy, how comforting it is to see you posting!! Your individual notes to all are amazing!!
I pray that you are recovering and feeling stronger each day. My husband bought me a daffodil plant and there are new flowers almost every day…those yellow blossoms at the end of a stem are just beautiful and a reminder of Christ’s resurrection.
Today my cousin called to tell me her Mom passed….she was a sister to my Mom…took me back a few years with feelings….yes, time is short, and how nice to have our memories.
I lift my UR family to God; may he hold each of you in his arms of love…. rest well…until we meet again…blessings and love.
April, thank you for the cheerful comment! I spent the morning on the phone, trying to find out about insurance and reimbursement for walker w/seat, etc. The daffodil plant sounds great! Lucy, my kitty, would think any plant her personal toy. How nice of your husband! Bright, yellow flowering blossoms daily! I am sorry to hear about your cousin’s Mom. I’ll be praying for your cousin and her family and you and your memories. Love and hugs to you!