LENT 2014 Spiritual Disciplines
GUIDE TO STUDY:
1) Read John 8:32, Romans 12:1-2 and Philippians 4:8.
2) Repetition: Read any selection(s) of scripture several times through. Sheer repetition can transform our thinking and subsequently our behavior.
3) Concentration: Focus carefully upon the readings, especially the subtle phrases and turns. Imagine hearing them spoken, living at the time they were written. Concentration and imagination guide us into interaction with the text.
4) Comprehension: Critically evaluate the message(s) of the text, searching for the deeper meaning. Comprehension moves us beyond “What does it say?” into “What does this mean?”.
5) Reflection: Identify what significance the text may have for your current situation. What does the text ask you to believe about God and about yourself? Reflection encourages us to apply new revelation in how we think and live.
GUIDE TO ACCOUNTABILITY:
1) Identify an accountability partner(s) who will agree to covenant of mutual spiritual accountability on a weekly basis for at least 4 weeks.
2) Form a covenant to report to each other weekly based on the following:
– Acts of Compassion / I will actively seek to express compassion for all people and all creation.
– Acts of Justice / I will seek justice and equality for all people and practice forgiveness and reconciliation wherever possible.
– Acts of Devotion / I will spend time daily reading scripture and offering prayers for our covenant members and myself.
– Acts of Worship / I will faithfully join in corporate worship each week unless prevented, and present my talents and gifts for use in God’s work.
3) When you meet together, read Matthew 7:3-5 and James 5:13-20.
4) Each week, members will report on the four covenant areas (above). Members will seek to listen and respond with honesty, humility and a spirit of encouragement. Meetings should close with prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and strength.
GUIDE TO SERVICE:
1) Read Matthew 6:1-4, Matthew 25:35-40, and Philippians 2:1-13.
2) Prayerfully consider the particular gifts God has given you to serve others. Pray that God would guide you to identify where your gifts could meet other’s needs.
3) In looking for ways to serve, consider the needs mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 25: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned.
4) Serve with a friendly, compassionate, generous and humble spirit, remembering that true service is always other-centered.
5) After serving, meditate on the following questions:
What did I learn about myself?
What did I learn about the persons I served?
How did I experience God?
GUIDE TO PRAYER:
1) Locate a space, indoors or outdoors, with limited distractions, and spend a few moments in silence to center your attention.
Read Matthew 6:1-15, Psalm 84 and James 5:13-16.
You may kneel, sit or walk as you pray.
Your hands may be folded or your palms may be turn upward.
Your head may be bowed or lifted up.
2) ADORATION – Begin your prayer by addressing God, describing God’s characteristics and expressing God’s goodness.
3) CONFESSION – Pray for forgiveness for yourself and for the capacity to forgive and love others, as God does us.
4) THANKSGIVING – Give thanks to God for the many expression of God’s grace to you in your life. Name specific blessings, recognizing all good things come from God.
5) SUPPLICATION – Present needs for yourself and others to God, asking for God’s will to be done through healing, direction, provision, that God’s Kingdom would come on
GUIDE TO FASTING:
1) Schedule your fasting. If you are not accustomed to it, consider eating a heavier meal prior to fasting.
2) Read through Matthew 6:1-4, 16-18, 25-34.
3) In the place of the time you would have spent eating, locate a space with limited distractions, and spend that time in silent meditation, reading scripture and prayer for yourself and others.
4) Take the money you would have spent on the meal and set it aside for our Lenten offering that will offer help feed the hungry.
5) Allow your hunger pangs to remind you to pause and offer a prayer that you would hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness.