Practicing



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I have been thinking that I needed to make a blog post for the last couple weeks. I started this with such good intentions. I was going to make this a discipline and write something weekly. I thought it would fit my schedule and I could easily adopt this practice. Well, umm, maybe not.

Spiritual practices or spiritual disciplines are things that we do that promote spiritual growth. We can do them as a group or by ourselves, but, ultimately, they make us more aware of God's presence and activity in our lives. Spiritual practices range from something as simple as prayer to something as involved as Communion. And writing blog posts

I get together regularly with a group of folks and together we work on developing spiritual practices. This group was at my house last night. We began our conversation talking about the challenges of entering into a spiritual practice. For example, we had been working on praying a prayer at noon every day. For several in the group it was hard to remember to do this at noon and it would get put off or forgotten.This left people feeling like they had failed-which is not the intention of spiritual practice!

Changing habits to add spiritual disciplines to our lives is challenging. Even though we are creatures of habit, modifying those habits requires effort and attention. In fact, it might even take years before our practices become regular. This doesn't mean that we should give up, though. These practices require effort and attention, but the result is worth it.

After we all talked about our practice of prayer last night, we decided to decrease our expectations of ourselves. While we are keeping the practice of prayer, we are decreasing the frequency and our rigor about the time it is done. For me, this was a lesson in spiritual practices and maybe a larger life lesson.


Rather than set the bar so high, changes to our practices and habits need to start small. As we gradually begin to awaken to God's presence and agency in our lives those practices become more easy and require less effort. Before you know it, a new practice becomes old and comfortable. We come to engage in those practices with excitement and expectation. Even blog posting.

Comments

  1. Catching up on my reading this morning...about prayer and spiritual practice. I have read, from time to time, about the life of monks, for example, who live a devout life of prayer, who are to have "prayed constantly." Wow! Sounds amazing, and dull.

    However, while my prayer life is still pretty meager, upon reflection I simply shake my head at the incredible number of things to pray about, that Christians might be concerned about...people we know in crisis, people we don't. The degradation of the natural world. Our own path. The list could go on and on. There's plenty to fill a life a constant prayer.

    I am not nearly as certain that prayer actually does something for others. But I am very confident that regular prayer--or some spiritual reflection--wo uld do something for me, in the sense of growth, expansion, depth, and focus.

    One spiritual practice can be reading Bread Crumbs regularly.

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