Best Practices for Spiritual Health

Guest Blogger, Pastor Gordon Carpenter 
Pastor Gordon Carpenter has been involved in ministries of spiritual formation and direction, as well as adult education, for much of his adult life. He has been at the core of that ministry at Living Word for 15 years.

Gordon will have several posts to help you develop your own spiritual habits of devotion.

One of the most important things we do for our spiritual health is spend time alone with God on a daily basis, which traditionally is called a Quiet Time. I like to call it “having a morning cup of coffee with God.” For over 50 years I have been getting up early in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand to meet with God. Here’s several practical suggestions for doing this.
ONE: It will require discipline!
Having a Quiet Time is a spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines are habits, practices, and routines that we cultivate and use for the purpose of becoming more Christ-like.

TWO: Start now!
I’ve heard every excuse and good intention but there are none. If our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in our life, we will do all we can to meet with him daily.

THREE: Find the right time for you.
The Bible doesn’t prescribe a particular time to meet with God, although Jesus set aside time early in the morning to be with his dad (see Mark 1:35; Luke 4:42). Choose a time during the day when you are most refreshed and able to be alert. Choose a time when you can be alone and with the least distractions.

FOUR: Find the right place.
Find a quiet place where there no distractions. No phones (unless you’re using a Bible app). This place will become associated with where you meet with God and will become your sacred space.
FIVE: Start small. If you are just beginning, don’t start with massive steps.  
Start with 10 minutes a day and be consistent. Hopefully, the more you do it the more time you will want to be with God. Remember, that is the goal of our Quiet Time—to meet with our Lord!

SIX: Connect with God in a meaningful way.
The basic elements in a Quiet Time are the Bible and prayer. Living Word’s daily devotionals and daily prayers can be a great resource for your Quiet Time.
God speaks primarily to us through his Word, so you want to spend time reading and reflecting on his Word. I like to think of it as God’s love letter to us.

Often as you reflect on God’s Word it will move you to want to talk with God. This is prayer.
We speak with God and God speaks to us through prayer. The next post will be focused on prayer.

SEVEN: Prepare your heart.
Before you start, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your time and quiet your mind and your heart to hear from God. Ask the Holy Spirit to point out words or phrases you need to hear and to make appropriate connections of the Word to your life.

EIGHT: Take our core classes on the Bible and prayer.
If you want to go deeper and get more instruction on Bible reading, consider taking Shaped by the Word, which will be offered in April. Our core class on prayer, Prayer: Opening Our Hearts to God, will be offered in March.

Start now.
One day at time.
One day after the next.
Every day.

That's all for this post.
The next post will be on prayer.

Pastor Gordon
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