Have you noticed relationships take effort to maintain? I am sure you can think of people who were once close friends but with whom you no longer have contact.
Just as friendships require maintenance, so our relationship with God our Creator and Heavenly Father requires….well, discipline. I have found that spiritual disciplines are essential for maintaining a strong faith in the Lord. Regular Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance are a privilege, but also necessary, for a healthy relationship with God. (I do realize there are seasons of life where not all of these disciplines may be possible due to health or other circumstances beyond our control. When our children were babies and toddlers, I found it difficult to maintain a regular time of Bible reading and prayer.)
Reading God’s Word is how we learn to know God’s heart and will for us and the world. Prayer is how we communicate our heart to God. Church is where we give and receive encouragement and support from fellow believers, worship together, and hear God’s word discussed and explained.
I have found it is valuable to have a plan for Bible reading and prayer. In the past, I have read through the Bible in a year by using The Message and The New Living Translation One Year Bible. I have found it valuable to have a prayer list for praying for others. You may assign various needs to different days of the week. For example, Sunday- pastor, church needs and leaders, Monday- missionaries, Tuesday- unsaved friends, Wednesday- shut-ins or elderly friends, Thursday- extended family members, etc. The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent have guided me in areas to pray for my husband and children.
I also believe that God has given us all unique personalities. We feel God’s presence more in various settings and through different mediums. For me, when I sing and play the piano or direct a choir, I feel like I have truely worshipped. I also feel close to my Heavenly Father when I work in the soil or walk outside early in the morning. For you it may be serving someone, teaching, studying, dance, painting, or some other activity.
When I neglect spiritual disciplines and the activities I have mentioned, I begin to notice subtle changes in my attitude towards God and others. When I am faithful in maintaining my relationship with God the Father, I reap the benefit of spiritual growth, peace, and His guiding presence in my life.
With the slower pace of winter, it is a great time to start or recommit to spiritual disciplines and maintaining our relationship with God our Creator.
How about you? Have you found spiritual disciplines helpful? If so, what kind? When do you feel God’s presense most?