In part 1 of this article, we talked about some principles for renewing your spiritual life. Today we will see some practices that can be of benefit to our spiritual life.
These are suggestions. Don’t try to do them all—especially at once! Try various ones as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Become part of a small group for prayer and/or Bible study.
The need for fellowship and mutual caring and encouragement is met best in small groups. Become a member of one if it is available and if it is not, think about starting one. Many different types of materials are available to get you started.
Keep a journal.
A journal is a record of your walk with God and your important experiences. Many people have recently rediscovered the value of journaling and have been helped by it. Especially during your time of mission service you will be helped by keeping a journal of what happens. We all forget more than we realize, and a journal can help you later recapture the highlights of your mission experience. God’s blessings and answered prayers are easily remembered if they are written down.
Learn new ways to pray.
One of the best ways to enliven your devotional life is to try new ways to pray. If you are entirely satisfied with what you do now, that is OK, but new horizons can be very helpful. Try praying out loud instead of silently or prostrate yourself as people did in Bible times. Use a verse of Scripture as your prayer, or pray over the phrases of the Lord’s Prayer, using them as your subject. Try conversational prayer with friends.
Try silence, quietness, and meditation.
Many of us are so used to talking to God that we fail to listen to the still small voice. Try being silent before Him or quietly meditating on a verse of Scripture. A reverent listening to God and to our own soul is really a form of prayer.
In the Bible, prayer is often tied to fasting. Fasting from food is usually meant, but other forms of fasting can be helpful as well. Many of us would benefit by fasting from TV or the radio. Fasting from shopping may benefit others. Fasting for the sake of others is a special form of caring.
Attend worship even if you don’t understand the language.
You don’t need to understand the spoken language to understand the language of the heart. Listen to the faith and commitment of the people you worship with. Enjoy the presence of God which comes when people worship together. Don’t let your differentness keep you from missing a valuable experience.
Use music and art in your religious life.
If certain types of music speak to your soul, bring tapes or music along. Share the music with others. Music that speaks of our relationship with God is a form of prayer. Use it as part of your devotions. If a certain picture or poster speaks to you powerfully of God, take it along as well.
Give generously to others.
Learning to share what you have (money, clothes, time) with others will change you. Give with a joyous spirit and you will be blessed.
Read your Bible and devotional books in a new way.
Read the Bible in a new translation or find a new devotional book. Don’t read for speed. It is better to have read one verse thoughtfully and reflectively than two chapters hastily. The Bible is not designed for speed reading. Write a prayer based on a key verse, or memorize a verse and internalize it. This practice truly fixes the Bible in the mind and is more valuable than a ritual reading.
What About You?
Are there other practices that have been of benefit to you? What are they?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.