In our last post What Are Spiritual Disciplines And Practices? we defined spiritual practices and stressed their impact and the importance of having a variety to draw from. In this post we will share some sources for spiritual practices as well as provide a link to 20 specific spiritual practices to consider adding to your spiritual growth regimen.
It wasn’t until I read Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline back in 1982 as a 30-year-old that I realized that people had been trying to connect with God using a huge variety of spiritual practices for thousands of years. Foster presented a dozen ancient spiritual practices that for the most part I was unfamiliar with and never heard about. I came to realize that many of the most beloved spiritual practices originated from the early centuries of Christian history. That in fact, Christians have been experimenting with and developing a remarkable variety of ways to connect with God since biblical times.
This prompted me over the next 40 years to set aside my denominational bigotry and learn and experiment with spiritual practices of other Christian denominations and faith traditions. For example:
- From the Roman Catholic tradition, I learned about liturgy, a new way of experiencing communion, The Daily Office, Stations of the Cross, The Prayer Labyrinth and Spiritual Direction.
- From The Eastern Orthodox tradition, I learned about the rich prayer dimensions of our faith such as Centering Prayer, The Jesus Prayer, Guided Prayer, Lectio Divina, Ignatian Prayer, and Icons as well as the celebrations of Lent, Epiphany and Advent.
- From the Jewish Hebrew tradition, I learned of the many Sabbath and Feast Day practices.
- From the Quaker tradition I learned several spiritual discernment practices.
- From the Methodists I learned about spiritual retreats and spiritual decision making.
- From the Episcopalians I learned of the Book of Common Prayer.
- From the Presbyterians I learned of The Nicene Creed, The Apostles’ Creed, The Heidelberg Catechism, and The Westminster Confession of faith.
Combined with the practices I learned from my Southern Baptist upbringing I compiled a significant breadth and depth of spiritual practices.
The Gift Of Variety
One of the gifts I’ve discovered while living in New Mexico is learning about the spirituality of Native American people. I am most taken by their openness to inspiration from a number of sources, such as community, ancestors, nature, dance, art, symbols, songs, chants, drums, and prayer. What they don’t have is a written sacred text. It seems that because they are not tied to a sacred text, they are freer to discover, honor, and celebrate the sacred everywhere and in everything and everyone. It is a reminder to me that creation is God’s first Bible and is a rich source for spiritual practices.
My wife and I have identified over 20 different hikes near our home that we rotate among from day to day. Most are dramatically different in length, topography and geology. The variety keeps us looking forward to each day’s hike. I find a variety of spiritual practices accomplishes the same thing.
The link below provides you with a set of spiritual practices that go beyond traditional practices yet are still rooted in the foundational disciplines of Scripture and prayer. I challenge you to dive in and experiment with some new ways to encounter God and nurture your soul. In my experience, these practices can touch a part of your soul that might never be touched by a traditional quiet time.
The intent is not that you will use them all immediately, or all of them ever, but that they would become tools from which to build your own personalized soul care tool kit. The hope is that you will be willing to get out of your comfort zone and try some of these practices and then begin the exciting journey of continually expanding the ways you connect with and commune with God.
Posted on April 4, 2023