This month, the focus of our blog is on spiritual disciplines as Means of Grace. If you remember from last week, we talked about how our spiritual disciplines (prayer, solitude, study, service, etc.) should truly be a response to God’s love, grace and mercy in our lives. Today, we will focus on three inward disciplines: Prayer, Study and Meditation.
Prayer is a key aspect of what it means to be in a relationship with God. Prayer as a Means of Grace, is one of the ways that God shows His love for us. Not only that we can come to God, but that He is available and willing.
For those who are not far along in their faith journey, prayer can often be uncomfortable. Maybe you’re not sure how to pray, what to pray for, and worried that you’re doing it wrong.
I want to encourage you to find grace in your prayer life. God desires a relationship with you. He wants to walk with you throughout life, through the mountains and joys in life, but also through the valleys of challenging circumstances, disappointments, and pain.
Prayer does not always involve you always doing the talking. There are times of prayer for me, where I find space to be quiet - to be silent. There is incredible value in silence. “Be still and know that I am God.” QUOTE Find time in your prayer life to simply be still before God.
Are you dealing with grief after the loss of a loved one? Pray that God would give you peace and comfort. Are you having challenges with your kids? Pray that God would give you wisdom and discernment to know how to best navigate the situation. Is the person who sits next to you at work driving you up the wall? Pray that God would give you the grace and patience to deal with this person in grace and truth.
I have found that the more I pray for people, my heart changes towards them. As I am walking around the plants and offices, I am constantly praying for the people I come in contact with. I pray that the reality of God’s love and grace would be real in their lives, and that God would bless them. If I know that they are going through tough circumstances at home or work, I pray specifically that God would give them exactly what they need to be able to navigate it well and that God would be glorified through it.
How often do you pray for your family? What are some things that they are going through that you could begin praying for today?
What if you began praying for those that you work with? What about pausing for a few seconds before the next meeting you walk into and ask God to give you clarity and discernment for the decisions you are about to make?
Spending time in God’s Word is another inward discipline through which God offers His grace to us. God’s Word is just that…His Word. It is through the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit speaks into our hearts and lives. God’s Word is alive.
I would encourage you to not simply read to check your “Study” box. This warning is true for all of the disciplines. These are not boxes to be checked, but rather opportunities that God places in our lives for Him to enter into our day and for us to receive His grace through them.
I want to encourage you to study God’s Word for transformation - not just information. There are a lot of Bible scholars who know everything there is to know about the Bible, who have never made the connection from their head (what they know) to their heart (what they believe) and hands (how they live and act).
Ask great questions about God’s Word. What did this mean then? What does it mean today for me? I encourage you to always begin study with a simple prayer of, “God, I ask that You reveal in Your Word to me today what You would have me to see and understand.”
Meditation is a great way to move from simply reading God’s Word for information, to truly engaging in God’s Word for personal transformation – from who you are to who God desires you to become. Reading through the Bible is crucial to gaining a full picture of God’s story. Along with that, there is value in pulling out a single verse, a phrase, or even a word, and spending time meditating on it. It doesn’t end when you close the book, for as you go about your day, you continue to think about what God laid on your heart.
One of the most clear and impactful memories I have was when we were on vacation in the Domincan Republic two years ago. During my reading that morning, I was drawn to “The love of God”. I left the room and walked down to the beach before anyone else was awake. I sat down and watched the vast ocean and the waves crashing on the beach. It was a full moon and the tide was as strong as it had been all week. As I continued to meditate, I began to think about how God’s love compares with the ocean. It is vast. I can’t see the end of it. It is powerful. If I were to get out in it, it would be impossible for me to stay on my feet. To this day, when I see a picture of the ocean I immediately think about that morning and it reminds me just how deep, how wide, and how powerful God’s love is.
Maybe you have some challenging circumstances going on in your life. Study God’s Word and find Scripture that speak truth into those circumstances and meditate on them.
Meditation has its place in the workplace as well. How many times have you given an immediate response to a crisis or person that was destructive? What if, in the midst of everything, you took a minute to find a quiet place, take a deep breath, and seek God’s wisdom and direction? I think you could save yourself a lot of trouble by engaging in meditation and silence.