Spiritual Disciplines

By definition, a disciple of anything will engage in certain regular practices called “disciplines.” (Do you see how the word “discipline” comes from from “disciple”?) For example, a disciple of a concert pianist will practice rigoriously to learn the art of music, and a disciple of a dancer will learn the art of ballet by doing regular exercises and drills. In the same way, Christians through the ages have engaged in certain practices called spiritual disciplines. These are not things we do to gain God’s favor. Instead, they are ways of opening our minds, our spirits, and our bodies to allow God, our creator, to continue to form (or shape) us in the ways he desires.

There are many different spiritual disciplines. I can’t even begin to cover them all. However, if you’re interested in learning some of the disciplines, here are a few that can get you started:

Reading Scripture. If you aren’t familiar with the Christian bible, your first step should be to find a good, newer English translation and to just start reading. The TNIV is a very easy-to-read translation. Also, a good study bible, like the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible, can be helpful in understanding the cultures and worldviews that gave rise to Christian scripture. If you’re new to this – please understand: not all of scripture is easy to follow. Don’t be afraid to seek out someone who is more familiar with scripture to answer your questions.

Prayer. There are at least two ways to pray. One is to simply carry on your own, impromptu conversation with God. Another is to pray certain set prayers that the church has prayed throughout the centuries. I have found both ways of praying to be meaningful, and I practice both. These books are great resources for praying the prayers of the church.

Meditation and Silence. Sometimes the best discipline is to simply sit still and let God come to you out of the silence. One good resource for practicing this discipline is Sacred Space

If you are interested in learning more about these and other spiritual disciplines, this book by Richard Foster is a very good place to get started.

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3 Responses to Spiritual Disciplines

  1. “…they are ways of opening our minds, our spirits, and our bodies to allow God, our creator, to continue to form (or shape) us in the ways he desires.”

    Actually, Jesus Christ is the only Way to God, not spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines opens up a person to OTHER spirits, those that are not God.

    In fact, Richard Foster warns ” … PRECAUTION. In the silent contemplation of God…there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance.” (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home p157)

  2. The Traveler says:

    Perhaps, Susan… But while you are quick to condemn the guidance of light not shining from a relationship with Christ, remember this: if it exists, it is from God, and all that is from God – however misunderstood it might be by man – is good.

  3. Hmm…I appreciate Susan’s caution here. The traveler’s logic seems reasonable, but let’s remember that God created the angels. All angels are not good. Satan, the evil archangel is called an ‘angel of light’ and as such is eminently deceptive and in fact our most powerful enemy. Caution is in order when ‘opening’ ourselves to the spiritual realm. Let’s do it in Scriptural ways. Fences are for our protection.

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