Living with Jesus is Hershey Free Church's way to describe how we connect with God in a fuller and richer way. Practicing spiritual rhythms in a consistent manner nourishes the soul and creates the opportunity for transformation. Below are suggestions that can be beneficial in helping you take next steps on your spiritual journey.
Take the Connect with God inventory which will help you discover your spiritual pathway to a deeper relationship.
Spiritual disciplines are often misunderstood. It’s important to realize that God is not asking you to promise greater allegiance through a disciplined life or living out a fake spirituality. He is asking you to love him for who he is, which is to reflect the life of love that he modeled for us. “The entire reason for our relationship with Christ is love. It is not to try harder. With love as the central discipline of Christian living, all other practices are welcomed as dear friends rather than toilsome acquaintances.” (Philip Nation, Habits for our Holiness)
Because we value spiritual disciplines as a means to transformation, we are suggesting a few practices that could be beneficial on your journey of faith.
PRAYING SCRIPTURE: USING THE PSALMS AS A FOUNDATION FOR PRAYING SCRIPTURE
Praying scripture is one way to avoid unnecessary repetition when you pray and can also help your mind from wandering as you pray. A good way to begin the habit of praying scripture is to start with the Psalms. An important point to remember is that praying scripture is not the same as studying scripture. Praying scripture is more fluid and provides freedom in how the verse moves you to pray. Ben Patterson stated, “By praying the Psalms back to God, we learn to pray in tune with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” The Psalms are a good place to begin because they were inspired by God for the purpose of being sung to God. Trust that the Spirit of God will use the Word of God and provide the opportunity to pray powerfully and honestly from your heart.
How to pray scripture using the Psalms:
· Begin by reading the Psalm.
· As you read each verse, allow the Spirit of God to direct your prayer.
· There are two ways to pray:
· Pray the Psalm verbatim.
· Paraphrase and Personalize the Psalm.
Example: Psalm 1:2—“But who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.”
One way to Paraphrase and Personalize this verse would be to say, “Father, help me be someone who takes joy in your word. Spirit, work in me to help me take the time to reflect on the truth of your word so that I apply it to my everyday life.” Another way might be, “Lord, I pray that my children would enjoy reading your word and would reflect on it in a way that it produces life change.”
Consider reading and praying through one Psalm each day to create a rhythm of prayer that uses the Word of God and the Spirit of God to pray with intentionality, purpose, and power. Use the following chart as a guideline. Each day will provide the opportunity to pray through one of five selected Psalms. At the end of one month, you will have prayed through 30 different Psalms. (If you choose, you could read a Psalm each day for 5 months.)
Choose from one of these Psalms listed for each day of the month:
1: 1, 31, 61, 91, 121
2: 2, 32, 62, 92, 122
3: 3, 33, 63, 93, 123
4: 4, 34, 64, 94, 124
5: 5, 35, 65, 95, 125
6: 6, 36, 66, 96, 126
7: 7, 37, 67, 97, 127
8: 8, 38, 68, 98, 128
9: 9, 39, 69, 99, 129
10: 10, 40, 70, 100, 130
11: 11, 41, 71, 101, 131
12: 12, 42, 72, 102, 132
13: 13, 43, 73, 103, 133
14: 14, 44, 74, 104, 134
15: 15, 45, 75, 105, 135
16: 16, 46, 76, 106, 136
17: 17, 47, 77, 107, 137
18: 18, 48, 78, 108, 138
19: 19, 49, 79, 109, 139
20: 20, 50, 80, 110, 140
21: 21, 51, 81, 111, 141
22: 22, 52, 82, 112, 142
23: 23, 53, 83, 113, 143
24: 24, 54, 84, 114, 144
25: 25, 55, 85, 115, 145
26: 26, 56, 86, 116, 146
27: 27, 57, 87, 117, 147
28: 28, 58, 88, 118, 148
29: 29, 59, 89, 119, 149
30: 30, 60, 90, 120, 150
SOLITUDE: CREATING SPACE FOR GOD
The discipline of solitude is a way for you to take a break from the normal pace of life and provides you with the opportunity to hear God, to feel the deep emotions that are hard to express, and to name your longings and desires. It is a place where no one person can fix or fill another and where we cannot fix ourselves. Instead, it is a place where only God can fill or satisfy our deepest longings and desires. Solitude is the opportunity to unplug and withdraw from the noise and busyness of life. Solitude is a place where God meets us and communes with us, much like he did in the Garden with Adam and Eve.
· Choose a time when you can be alone for at least 30 minutes, preferably more.
· Choose a place where you are comfortable and feel safe from distractions and interruptions.
· Settle down, breathe deeply. Become more aware of your desire to be present to God.
· Notice what is true of you. Are you restless? Are you celebrating something? Are you grieving the loss of someone or something? Is there a question stirring? An emotion
that needs expression?
· Don’t try to “fix” what you’re thinking or feeling. Instead, surrender it to God and trust him show you what’s next. Rest in him. Trust.
Practice this rhythm routinely and create a habit of solitude that creates the space for you to listen more intently to the Spirit of the Lord and grow in discernment.
CELEBRATION: ENJOYING SELF, OTHERS, LIFE, AND THE WORLD
We don’t often speak of the discipline of celebration, but it is an important part of the character of God. God celebrates. He takes delight in his creation; even in the midst of brokenness, he brings hope and healing. Hope and joy are the antidotes to the despair of this world and should distinguish the Christ-follower from those who don’t know Jesus. Celebration is a way of engaging in actions that orient our spirit toward worship, praise and thanksgiving.
· Identify what most connects you with God. Is it nature? Listening to Christian music? Participating in corporate worship? Being with friends? Being alone? Take time to
participate in what connects you with God, and take time to celebrate how your life was touched and encouraged.
· Look for ways to celebrate the people around you. Say something uplifting to them. Tell them that you’re thankful for them. Encourage them through words and actions.
· Read Zephaniah 3:17. Then be still and listen. How does God celebrate you? Celebrate the God who celebrates you. Intentionally ask for the gift of appreciating yourself the way that God does.
· Read Zephaniah 3:17 and think about others in your life. How does God celebrate them? Intentionally ask for the gift of appreciating them the way that God does.
· Take time each day to celebrate someone or something from that day.
Make this rhythm a regular habit in your life to create an attitude of delight in each day and each interaction.