Archives For Spiritual Practices

Gratitude, like its sister virtue humility, hasn’t always come easily to me. I admit there was a time when I was more focused on what I didn’t have than what I did.

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As a child I recall feeling this as a child at any time when gifts or goodies were distributed. “How come she got a bigger piece of pie than I did? What a cheesy gift. Nobody ever thinks about what I might like.”

Rather than seeing the good things that were all around me, I had a penchant for finding the one bit of inequity or unfairness in my life and use that to fuel my feelings of ingratitude. No wonder I often felt sulky, temperamental, and unhappy.

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Thursday night prayer meeting is the highlight of my week, more important to me even than Sunday worship. Possibly that’s because I am more relaxed and better able to enter the experience. Even so, it is a solid rock on my calendar and I rarely miss.

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What makes this hour rich and powerful is the prayer of a handful of mature brothers and sisters. They pray with the passion and intensity of that poor woman accosting the unjust judge. Their intercession is marked by reality and urgency, as if they know they are doing something of first importance.

When they pray, I want to pray too. And I want to know what they know so I can pray as they pray.

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Prayer is the most basic and widely practiced of all spiritual disciplines. Adherents of nearly every religion—and many nonreligious people—pray. About 84 percent of adults do it every week.

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Most of our prayer is some form of asking for help, which could be why it often becomes repetitive, stale, and boring. In time we feel unable to hear the voice of God.

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I had been a sporadic journaler for years when my wife, Heather, suggested I try the discipline of daily writing using the free platform 750words.com.

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I was reluctant at first, listing all the reasons why I, a writer, didn’t need to write every day.

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My wife, Heather, discovered the discipline of daily writing while completing a graduate degree in creative writing. A favorite professor urged her to write at least 750 words a day, and Heather enthusiastically gave it a try.

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I liked the idea but was skeptical it could work for me. I had my reasons.

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Here is a thoughtful post by Mary DeMuth, an author and speaker whose blog, Your LIfe Uncaged, is about discovering the secret to impossible joy.

Irecently watched a famous pastor exegete an Old Testament passage. I hollered to Patrick (my theologically astute hubby) to watch it with me because I started feeling ill at ease about it.

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We watched, then cringed, then talked.

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Pursuing God every day through personal spiritual disciplines is the backbone of Christian spirituality. This is the single most effective thing you can to do know God more intimately, experience his presence, and grow spiritually.

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Yet many people find the pursuit of God a difficult habit to establish. I know I did.

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