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Discipleship is not a destination, it’s a direction.

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES SERIES

Week One: Spiritual Disciplines

Week Two: Silence & Solitude

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: WEEK TWO

Each drop down contains daily questions. Click the button below to print off a worksheet for the whole week.

Introduction

If we look at our walk with The Lord as a journey we can gain a unique perspective. Richard Rohr once said, “A good journey begins with knowing where we are and being willing to go somewhere else.” Where are you? Are you willing to go somewhere else? These two questions are the catalysts pushing us toward Spiritual Disciplines…toward Silence and Solitude in order to hear from God in new and exciting ways. 

During this pandemic, our normal everyday life as we knew it has come to a screeching halt. Some of us would even describe this time as a “dark night of the soul” kind of time. In Richard Foster’s book “Celebration of Discipline” he says, “The dark night is one of the ways God brings us into a hush, a stillness so that he may work an inner transformation upon the soul.” So, why not make these days of solitude count? Maybe in these days of sheltering in place we will gain new knowledge of what it means beyond this time, when life returns to a semblance of normalcy, to have in place the discipline of stepping away to shelter in place with God Almighty. 

I believe these disciplines can bring about a connection with The Father like none we have ever experienced. If God’s children would fully embrace stepping away with him in silence and solitude on a regular basis we could be free of ourselves and free to be fully present in the work God is doing in us! 

(Parents: For those of you that think this is impossible right now let me just say this: this time with your kids is a golden opportunity to begin helping them develop spiritual disciplines. What if you talked about this as a family and instituted a few minutes of “silence & solitude” as a family? Give them a scripture, a Bible Story or something else to think about then after your 15 minutes of silence have a conversation as a family. Opening the door for spiritual conversations is great for kids and for you. It can deepen relationships in ways you never thought possible!)

Monday

Today read the story of Elijah and Jezebel in 1 Kings 18:1 – 19:15.

Elijah found himself under a broom tree wishing for death immediately following a HUGE win. He was afraid of Jezebel right after God had done amazing things through him. He was literally sitting under the broom tree of fear and despair. 

• Where are you today? If you could name your broom tree what would you name it?

• Are you willing to go somewhere else with God?

• Where do you think God is asking you to go with Him?

 

Tuesday

As we said in our introduction, Spiritual Disciplines are things we do. They are actions we take. You see, it is one thing for us to talk about Silence and Solitude and another to actually put it into practice. So, what are some steps we can take to put this into practice? Over the next three days let’s look at some specific ways of putting this into practice. 

Take full advantage of the small moments of solitude and silence that pop up throughout our day. For example, set your alarm to get up before the rest of the house comes alive for the day. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, grab your cup of coffee and sit in silence alone with The Lord breathing a simple prayer, “Lord, I am with you today! Speak to me. I am listening.” Then sit and listen. Maybe the only time in your day when you are not bothered is when you are making a meal or even when you are getting ready for the day. Whatever that time is…make it count…use it to set your mind of The Lord and dwell in silence, alone with him. We like to fill every moment with noise…podcasts, music, news, etc…turn it off and turn your mind heavenward. Practice silently dwelling in His presence. 

• Ecclesiastes 3:7 says, “A time to keep silent and a time to speak.” 

• What time did you set aside today to “keep silent?”

 

Wednesday

Looking back at the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 you see God guiding Elijah to a cave to wait and watch for Him. Today, we will look at another way to put this spiritual discipline into practice in our lives.

Create a space in your home where you can steal away for a short amount of time in silence and solitude. It doesn’t have to be an entire room, it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be a chair that your family designates. When someone is sitting in that particular chair they are saying, “I need alone time right now.” Of course, this space does not have to be inside your home. It can be in your car, in your backyard, on your front porch, driving to and from work or even just sitting in your car in the driveway to escape the noise of your home! Wherever it is, be intentional. 

• Read Matthew 14:22-23. What were the steps Jesus took to be alone with His Father?

• What is your plan to put this into practice in your life?

 

Thursday

Begin practicing this time of Solitude and Silence with modest goals. Ten to fifteen minutes is a great place to start. Based on your personality, your availability, your family dynamics, etc…you may want to increase this time as you grow in this discipline. Ruth Haley Barton says, “The amount of time is not nearly as important as the regularity of the practice.” 

Once you have asked the hard questions of where you want to go, you’ve spent time identifying the small moments of silence and solitude, you have set a place for this discipline, and you have set a time goal for this practice now let’s talk about the content of this time. 

In Ruth Haley Barton’s book “Invitation to Solitude and Silence” she says, “Ask God to give you a simple prayer that expresses your openness and desire for God. Choose a prayer phrase that expresses your desire or need for God these days in the simplest terms possible. It is best if the prayer is no more than six or eight syllables so that it can be prayed very naturally. Pray this prayer while sitting alone in silence.”

Now, distractions will happen…it’s inevitable but when something interrupts your silence and your mind is pulled away, use this prayer to bring you back to your time alone with God. 

Psalm 119:10 would be a great verse to adapt into a simple prayer for this time. “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments.” 

This could be prayer this way: “God, I seek you, let me not wander.”

Today, ask God to help you develop this prayer of focus…the prayer that will help put your heart and mind in a place to sit alone in silence with God and listen. 

Write your prayer down in a safe place.

Friday

As you settle into this routine you can set an alarm on your phone to end your time or you can be more organic with it and just sit until you feel like you are released. The way to end your time of silence is with a prayer of Thanksgiving and a time to journal what you feel like you learned from God about yourself or about Him in this time. 

Psalm 28:7 is a great example of giving thanks!!! Read this scripture and let it be an inspiration to you for praying a prayer of Thanksgiving! 

Now…let’s put it all together. Sometime today or over the course of this weekend put everything you have learned about the Spiritual Disciplines of silence and solitude into practice. Be sure to record what you have learned. 

The challenge now is to put this into the regular rhythm of your life. Is this a once a day practice for a short period of time and then a once a week longer period of time? Record what your goal will be in regards to this Spiritual Discipline…then consider using your google calendar or your alarm on your phone to remind you to be still, silent and alone with God on a regular basis! 

SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: WEEK ONE

Each drop down contains daily questions. Click the button below to print off a worksheet for the whole week.

Introduction

Spiritual Disciplines are the tools in our spiritual toolbox that help us build a deep relationship with God. They are activities not attitudes. They aid us in an inner transformation of the heart resulting in an external transformation. In a nutshell Spiritual Disciplines propel us in our endeavor as believers to look more and more like Jesus.

We are beginning our deep dive into Spiritual Disciplines with Meditation. Now, don’t let this word confuse you or cause alarm. Eastern Religion has hijacked this word and used it in an unbiblical way. The Eastern Religion version of meditation is about “emptying.” In contrast, meditation in The Bible is about “filling.” Yes, we empty ourselves of distractions but we are making room for The Holy Spirit to fill us. Specifically, we meditate or in other words, focus on The Word of God in order to be filled with the presence of God, transforming us from the inside out.

Monday

• Read Isaiah 26:3. What does this scripture have to do with meditating on God’s Word?
• Read Psalm 1:2. When are we to meditate on God’s Word?
• Read Psalm 119:15. What is the definition of precept? What do you think it means to “consider” the ways of God?
• Read Philippians 4:8. How could meditating on God’s Word change the way we think?
• The discipline of Meditating on God’s Word is really about asking two questions:

  1. What is God saying?
  2. What am I going to do about it?

So, now let’s put this spiritual discipline to practice! Over the course of the rest of the week read the verses provided for you in the list below, sit with them in a quiet place, pray that God would speak to you as you read His Word. Don’t just read the scripture once. Read it a few times. You can write it on a note card and read it occasionally throughout the day as you have a minute. Think about it throughout the day and write down your thoughts. 

What difference does this portion of scripture make in your life? What is God saying to you? What is it teaching you? How is it challenging you? What are you going to do about it? What action steps will you take to put whatever He is saying to you in place in your life?

Tuesday

• Read Psalm 119:9-11.
• What is God saying to you?
• What are you going to do about it?

 

Wednesday

• Read Philippians 4:10-13.
• What is God saying to you?
• What are you going to do about it?

Thursday

• Read Isaiah 43:18-19.
• What is God saying to you?
• What are you going to do about it?

 

Friday

• Read Philippians 1: 3-11.
• What is God saying to you?
• What are you going to do about it?

Closing

C.S. Lewis once said, “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” We have said several times, instead of counting the days, make the days count. Making these days count will be easier when we make a decision about what we want the destination on the other side of this to look like. Who do we want to be when this is over? Declare the better things ahead! Claim them! Make your walk with Jesus a priority during this time and embrace new disciplines in your spiritual life.

I will post an opportunity on Facebook for interaction with these scriptures each day. I cannot wait to see what God says to you through this time and what you are doing with it! Thank you for going on this journey with me! -Crystal Colp