The Ten: Spiritual Disciplines

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If you’ve never tried fasting before, this ancient ritual might just help focus you and your spiritual life. It’s common to fast from all sorts of things these days but skipping meals is a great thing to try if you can spend time with God. Just remember to do it joyfully (Matthew 6:17). 

Journalling helps you express yourself. Whether it is expressing what has happened in your life to God, recording your gratitude or noting down quotes and Bible verses that speak to your life, journalling can bring healing, catharsis and a reminder of important lessons learned or blessings received. It is easy to forget what God has done but reading old prayer journals can remind us. 

“Read your Bible, pray every day” as the old song goes. In this busy, fast-paced life, do we still prioritise prayer? If you’re struggling to pray, you can pray the psalms, try expanding on the Lord’s prayer as you pray it, and even use resources that help you pray.

Gratitude has been shown to make people happier and healthier. But we don’t always practise gratitude as a spiritual discipline. There are many ways you can give thanks. You might consider these options: Think of three things you’re grateful for just before you fall asleep each night. Collect a jar of things you’re grateful for each day or week to read at the end of the year. Keep a gratitude journal. Be specific. Write someone else a letter that expresses what you’re grateful to them for. 

Worship music 
There are some amazing worship songs, many have been recorded and can be listened to on streaming platforms and YouTube, both contemporary and traditional. Sometimes when we have no words to utter, the lyric of a song will lift us up before the Creator in worship. We shouldn’t underestimate the power of music.

Spend time in God’s Word
With studies showing that less than half of Adventists are reading God’s Word regularly, it might be time to be more intentional about it. Reading once or twice a week has no real impact on us. But four times a week can measurably improve our quality of life in a number of areas.  

Do you have any intentional, regular opportunities to serve? Your neighbours, your community and your extended family can all be impacted by your service. Find ways to impact your world and you might just find your own heart moved. 

As Dr Darren Morton, author of Live More Happy, says, “Blue and green should often be seen.” Getting into the bush, near the ocean, even a local park, can break up the artificial, man-made landscapes we’re surrounded with. There is a reason why in the Bible, God is found, first in a garden, then on mountains. Nature is a great place to go to find the fresh air, natural beauty and closeness to creation needed to hear from the Creator. 

Dr John Francis didn’t speak for 17 years after extending a decision to stop talking for one day. While a vow of silence might be a bit extreme, there is definite benefit from getting away from noise pollution, which has been shown to negatively impact human health. In the quiet of the early morning, in nature or in a prayer closet, find time and space that is quiet and away from distractions to “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  

Sabbath should be one of our favourites. Yet it can become routine, and we can lose some of the value if we aren’t intentional about it. Do you seek delight and joy on Sabbath or do you get caught in rushing around for the church service? Look for new ways to connect with God and people and Sabbath well. Perhaps consider a digital Sabbath away from screens and social media. 

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