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Prayer is the center-point of life with God. It should be woven into the fabric of our mourning routine, our weekly schedule. We should make time for prayer every single day. Even if we have to stay up all night. It is here where we get to enjoy the Father’s company. Prayer is our opportunity to interact with the Creator God and participate in his work of bringing redemption to earth. This practice will explore areas of prayer like contemplation, intercession, lament, unanswered prayer, imaginative prayer, and listening prayer.
Psalm of the Season
Reflection (4 R’s)
Silence & Solitude
In the chaos of the urban, digital age, it’s easier than ever before to “gain the whole world, and yet lose your soul.” How do we stay emotionally alive and spiritually awake? Among the ancient practices of the way, “Silence & Solitude” is the number one practice for apprenticeship to Jesus. Simply put, it’s a moment of intentional time in the quiet to be alone with God. In the modern era, this just might be the first step to a life well lived.
The Sabbath is a day blessed by God and set aside for rest and worship. For the Jewish people, the Sabbath began Friday evening and continued into Saturday afternoon, but today many followers of Jesus observe the Sabbath on Sunday. There aren’t any rules anchoring the Sabbath to a specific day of the week, we each experiment to find what works best with our lives and schedules. When that day arrives, it’s helpful to begin and end our Sabbath time with a tradition like lighting candles, pouring wine, or reading a psalm to remember our time of rest and worship is set apart from the rest of the week.
Every sabbath should be a weekly celebration, almost like a holiday. Holidays properly observed require preparation (Week 2). John's gospel refers to this as the “day of preparation.” Before the weekly tradition begins, before the candles are lit or the psalms are read, we go grocery shopping, clean the house, and clear errands from our to-do lists. For many followers of Jesus, powering down phones and computers for an entire day—no social media, no email, no internet—is a life-giving break from a world wrought with digital addiction.
With our day selected, our chores done, our digital feeds silenced, and our traditions established, we enter into a day of rest, worship, and intimacy with God (Week 3). Set aside a healthy window of time to spend in prayer and in the Scriptures, alone and/or as a family. Listen to the Spirit of God. Create an uninterrupted, quiet space to simply be with God as you work to tune yourself to his presence throughout the day.
As we settle into a consistent rhythm of rest and worship, we work to cultivate and maintain gratitude for the things that we have (Week 4). By drawing our awareness to the often overlooked gifts all around us—a roof over our heads, food to eat, relationships to enjoy—we draw our focus away from shopping and from conversations about things we don’t have.
Even after learning about and experimenting with the best Sabbath rhythms and practices, we realize that it takes time, and that it will inevitably evolve with each season of our lives (Week 5). What works well for a married couple may not accommodate a single person. Families with small kids will have expectations unique to couples who do not.
In each stage of life, our hope is to disrupt the business, the workload, the media overload, and the frenetic pace of life by slowing to a deliberate stop.
A day marked by rest and worship.
The end goal is that Sabbath becomes a regular part of the your weekly routine; you set aside one full day a week to rest and worship. And that you thoroughly enjoy this day, learning to delight in God, his creation, and your life in it, calibrating your body and soul to the rhythm of God’s Spirit, and then living out of that place all week long.
Fasting is a willing abstinence from food for a period of time. It is one of the most abused and least used of all the practices of Jesus. Yet for millennia, it was a core practice of apprenticeship. We live in a culture not only of food, but of excess, luxury, and addiction. For so many of us, the desires of our body have come to hold power over us. In the battle with our “flesh,” we have become its slave, not its master.