Tell Me About Spiritual Disciplines (Part 1)

Tell Me About Spiritual Disciplines (Part 1)

Below you’ll read of a handful of Spiritual Disciplines. First, before you take a read through that list, I’d first encourage you to listen to this Off Road teaching by Naty Severson where she explains the importance and value of practicing Spiritual Disciplines as a follower of Christ.

Each discipline is written by a different author, all attendees of Hope. Look for part two of this article December 2020.

What is Bible Intake?

The Bible is God’s Word to us. In Scripture, we are able to learn His character, His purposes and His truths, to see who we are, what we were created for and what really matters in this life. The Bible was written through the power of The Holy Spirit through about 35 authors, using all kinds of literature to tell one huge story of who God is and what He has done. All of this is accessible to us, as believers, as we begin the life long process of getting to know God through the study of His Word. What an amazing gift, to have the very words of God before us, in our own language! Consistent, intentional time in the Word of God is the best way to see the story arc of the whole Bible, and the vast beauty, knowledge, hope and stories within. It is through the study of God’s Word that we can be sure of all Christ has done for us, how the Holy Spirit continues to work in His people and guard against the deceitfulness of sin and of our enemy, Satan, who tries to twist the Good News and deceive believers. What a high honor to be called His ambassadors, let’s be sure we know first hand the message of the One we have been called to represent and share with the world.


How do I incorporate the discipline of Bible Intake into my life?

For practical purposes, I recommend following a daily reading plan that helps you track where you are at in the various books within the Bible. Many Bibles have these plans in them, or you can find them online and often have you reading from several different books in the Bible at one time, giving you a broad intake of Scripture. As you read, ask the Lord to show Himself to you in the text and to bring you to greater understanding and worship of Him through your time there. As you read, when you come to material that is confusing, seems insulting or makes your heart leap with joy, pause your reading to pray! Ask God to help you understand, to submit in love when you don’t, and praise Him for who He is and what He has done! Meditating on Scripture is the practice of thinking deeply on what you read, praying about it, perhaps memorizing it, slowly dwelling there, until the words sink deep into your heart and change your life. As we read the Bible, let us meditate on the Truth and beauty there until it changes us from the inside out through the power of the Holy Spirit! The goal should not be to check off all the boxes on your reading plan, rather, to have the organized accountability of being in the Word daily and the goal of becoming familiar with all of Scripture, not only parts of it.

In addition to daily reading and prayer, please consider regular intervals of more intense study of the Scriptures with other Christians and on your own. Digging deeply into a certain book or theme in the Bible with the help of pre-written Bible studies, commentaries and wisdom from trusted Bible teachers is an amazing way to see the depth and richness of Christ in Scripture. Studying the Bible with other Christians is a way to see how Christ’s Good News is embraced and lived out in the lives of others, and you will provide for one another new insight, accountability and perspective that is not possible on your own. Hope has many opportunities to study the Word together with other believers in Small Groups, in various men’s and women’s Bible studies and during “Ed Hour” Sunday School classes.

Being a student of the Bible is a lifelong undertaking, we will never “arrive,” but will continue to learn and grow through the Word until we go to be with Jesus in Glory. So open your Bible, read, study, pray and meditate. Ask God to reveal Himself through your time there, ask Him to change you, to challenge you, to make your heart sing for joy in the Lord!


Author: Meg Hintz


What is Memorization?

In the book Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines, pastor and author David Mathis says, When we learn the Scriptures by heart, we’re not just memorizing ancient, enduringly relevant texts, but we’re listening to and learning the voice of our Creator and Redeemer himself. When we memorize lines from the Bible, we are shaping our minds in the moment to mimic the structure and mind-set of the mind of God. (p.68)

The spiritual discipline of memorizing scripture is the most enduringly fruitful discipline available to us as followers of Jesus. By memorizing God’s Word and storing it up in our hearts, we fight sin, fuel our prayer life, and conform our minds and character to Jesus. In short, God uses Bible memorization to transform us to be like Jesus and to further his purposes.

How do I incorporate the discipline of Memorization into my life?

Early on in my Christian walk, I felt myself slipping back into sin, and struggling. I didn’t feel like myself, and I knew I wasn’t obeying God the way I am called to. The Bible became dull to me, and my heart felt far from God’s Word. The only passage that would still ‘cut to the quick’ was Ephesians 1, so I decided by the Spirit’s leading to memorize it.

God met me in this process. I would listen to Ephesians when I was driving in my car. I must’ve listened to it for 2 months straight, both ways in my commute! I would recite it while I was walking my dog, working hard to get it word-perfect. I would pull my phone Bible out of my pocket after each verse to check my progress, adding one verse at a time. And in the course of three months, I ended up having not only Ephesians 1 memorized, but having all of Ephesians memorized. What grace from God! This catapulted my walk with Christ, and has provided me so much growth, and blessing, and conviction in the years since. It was truly one of the greatest investments I have ever made. I am a totally different person because of memorizing God’s Word. Scripture memorization is transformative. It will change your life, because it is the very words of our Creator speaking directly to us.


Practical Considerations

Here are some practical considerations for memorizing Scripture:

  • Memorize Word perfectly – seek to get each word correct.
  • Say the verse or verses out loud repeatedly.
  • Listen to the passage often, and try to parrot it back.
  • Write the verse out, carry it on a notecard in your pocket, and look at it often.
  • Say the location in the Bible as you memorize. For example, say “Psalm 32:1” before and after you recite the verse.
  • Learn what the verse means.
  • Finally, tell people like your small group that you are doing it! Encourage them to join you or hold you accountable. Then, share with them how the passage is changing the way you think about God or live in his ways.

Scripture memorization is a great blessing and means of grace given by God, as it is written,

 “Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.”

(Psalm 1:1-2 ESV)


Author: Paul Stiver


What is Meditation?

To meditate can mean: ponder, speak to oneself, mutter, imagine, muse, revolve in the mind, and reflect. There are also many types of meditation. The one type that comes most easily for us is worry. Worry is negative meditation. To meditate on something positive requires practice. Nobody does it naturally without training. What we are seeking when we meditate on Scripture is communion and friendship with God for its own sake. A believing, prayerful, and receptive reading of Scripture is an act of communion with the triune God, who is really present to the reader through and with the biblical text.

Just as a patient receiving radiation therapy may not feel, see, or taste anything during the radiation treatment, yet later experience a cure from cancer, so it is that the Spirit, influencing our spirit through the biblical text, can do a real work in the soul beyond our conscious awareness. That is why mediation is a practice – the experience of being transformed may or may not involve at a particular time a sensible awareness of the divine presence or transformation.

It is the Spirit of God who reveals the things of Christ to us and illuminates them in our hearts and minds. Words alone without Spirit can dry us up; Spirit alone without the words of Scripture (and the fellowship of the church), can blow us up; but with Word and Spirit in proper balance, we can grow up in our knowledge and experience of the loving presence of God. When we approach the written Word, we can have the sense of being in control of the text and using it for our own purposes, but our first obligation is to place ourselves in the presence of God and his Word in an attentive, receptive, and noncontrolling stance, and to wait to hear God’s voice.

How do I incorporate the discipline of Meditation into my life?

Here is a practical application of meditating on God’s love taken from the book “Meditation and Communion with God”:

“Reflect for a while on the following texts: Zephaniah 3:17, Luke 15:20, and Romans 5:5. Reflect on the fact that God takes joy in you, his beloved son or daughter; picture yourself as being joyfully welcomed home and embraced by your dear Abba Father  and rejoice!”

Author: Josh Brook

What is Prayer?

In its simplest form, prayer is talking to God. Prayer is an activity that we get to participate in to enhance and cultivate our relationship with the God of the universe. Prayer is how we can practice believing that God is who we say He is.

How do I Incorporate the discipline of Prayer into my life?

I tend to have an ongoing conversation with God throughout my day. There are other times, like when I sit to have my devotions or go for a walk that I go through an outline of praise, thanksgiving, confession and then requests. I begin with praise and thanksgiving, because when it is hard to pray about a situation or I’m feeling far from God, it helps remind me who God is and what he has done. When I list his attributes I am reminded WHO it is that I am talking to. Thanksgiving reminds me that He answers ALL of my prayers, even when it is a “not yet”, or a “no”. I find it helpful to keep a prayer journal, to record prayers and the answers. Prayer is the place to engage with God over the condition of my soul and the souls of those he places on my heart. Prayer will always be hard work because you are fighting the enemy whenever you do it. It is helpful to remember that when you fail to pray, the enemy, Satan, wins.

Author: Suzanne Dube

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