Spiritual practices, spiritual disciplines, and Christian principles are all different names for the things we do to have a relationship with God and grow in our Christian walk. We each should have those practices that we do alone and then the practices we do as a community of believers. Practices are not meant to be legalistic things that we HAVE to do to be right with God. Some of them are things that God does require, but He wants us to enjoy spending time with Him in worship and prayer. God wants us to enjoy our relationship with Him.
My personal practices are: Prayer, Bible study (just started using the Lectio Divina for this), Fasting (from technology one day a week), giving as God leads, Serving as God leads, disciple-making, worshipping God in my daily life, along with a few others I practice as the Holy Spirit leads.
In a corporate setting, I practice: Worship of God as creator and my Holy Father, prayer, serving, and a few others as the Holy Spirit leads.
The one practice that I learned from this unit was the Lectio Divina. I had heard of this practice, but as with many Catholic practices, I assumed it was some really complicated practice that I would never be able to understand as a non-Catholic. I was amazed at how simple it was to do and what an impact it has had on my christian walk, already. The Associate handbook describes it as the “prayer of the heart.” I wanted to include a simple summary of the steps here, because I have really enjoyed the practice in my private devotional time.
Step 1: Reading: Take a simple passage from your daily reading that really spoke to you. Just a verse or two that you want to delve into further. What is the context of the passages you have chosen? What is going on in these passages?
Step 2: Meditation: Take the time to meditate on the passage. What is God saying to you through the passage? Is God trying to reveal something to you in this passage? Is God telling you to implement a part of the passage into your everyday life? How will you do that?
Step 3: Prayer: Pray about what the passage is saying to you. Talk to God about any emotions you may feel about the passage or what you are feeling led to do. Don’t hold anything back. Tell God everything that is on your heart.
Step 4: Action: What action do you need to take? How is the Holy Spirit leading you to act on the passage you have read?
I encourage you to research the Lectio Divina for yourself and see if it is a practice you want to implement in your life. There are many books and websites on spiritual practices. I challenge you to do some research and see which practices God is leading you to implement in your daily life. Remember: practices are not supposed to be legalistic, but a way to enjoy our relationship with God. If a practice becomes forced, then something is not right and you need to pray for a solution. I have changed my prayer practices many times. I want my prayer life to be a way for me to connect deeply with God. When I feel that something is being forced, I change it.
The two main practices that ALL christians should put into practice are prayer and Bible study. If you are a new Christian then focus on these two practices for now. The main thing is to enjoy your relationship with God. Finding ways to connect on a deeper level to the ONE who created us. If you need guidance or prayer, I am just an email away. Be blessed, my friends!