Tuesday, June 16, 2009

some questions about spiritual disciplines

I've been asked to lead a seminar on spiritual disciplines for a woman's day at my old church. Carmelina Read will be speaking and I can't wait to meet her in person!

I'll be talking about Bible reading, prayer and encouragement, why we find them so hard, and how to make them part of a busy life: how to use 30 minutes, 15 minutes or even 5 minutes to spend time with God. I'll probably talk a bit about other "spiritual disciplines" like meditation, memorisation, reading Christian books, enjoying God's world, and acts of service.

I'd love you to be part of this by giving me your ideas. The seminar will probably also inspire a series on spiritual disciplines on this blog, so start thinking. You can only make it better!

It's over to you:

1. What are the main obstacles which get in the way of you reading the Bible or praying? (They could be external e.g. distractions or internal e.g. guilt.)

2. How have you found reading your Bible and praying has changed during different seasons of life?

3. Have you got any hints about how to read the Bible and pray when life is busy and stressful? (e.g. where, when, how long, useful resources)

4. How important is the encouragement of other Christians to you? How do you make sure this stays part of your life?

Thanks for your input!

image is from Heart Windows Art at Flickr


Fiona said...

Hello, Jean. I used to make time to read my Bible and pray first thing in the morning, but for the last few years (since having children) I have found that having a Quiet Time in the middle of the day works best for me. My children have a rest time for about 50 minutes, during which they are to play quietly and individually and not talk to one another or to me, and I sit down with a cup of tea and have my Quiet Time. This system is working well generally.

I am aiming to read through the Bible in 18 months, so read 3-4 chapters each Quiet Time (normally about 5 times a week), and each time I pray through the CMS Prayer Diary as well as a personal prayer list, and for members of our church.

I am in a Prayer Group with 3 other women (one of whom is currently overseas as a missionary) which I find really helpful in terms of encouragement and accountability.

I am also often encouraged by reading the Bible to my children each evening. Their questions and comments often mean that I see new things in God's word, which is exciting.

Fiona McLean

Jean said...

Thanks, Fiona, good to hear from you. I especially appreciated your helpful suggestions about rest-time - thanks!

Cathy McKay said...

Hi Jean,

I have a short series in draft "preparing to grow with my newborn" ready for release just before our baby in a few weeks. You can expect a few links here!

It seems you, Nicole and I have a theme going!

Look forward to your series, but for now I am too spent to contribute!!

Jean said...

All the best, Cathy, and I look forward to what you have to say!

Linda said...

Hi Jean

I found this talk on Quiet Times (which the Americans call Devotions) by Dr John Barnett recommended in last week's Sermonaudio weekly email very helpful.

He sets out a 6 point approach that he believes anyone can use to get more out of their Bible reading. I've heard some of the tips before in other talks but not all and Dr Barnett explains them very clearly. Since I listened to the talk last weekend I've been trying to put the approach into practice.

You may need to register with Sermonaudio to download the talk.

Looking forward to reading your posts on this important topic.

I continue to really enjoy your posts which I read most days and appreciate the time and work you put in to writing them. They frequently challenge me, for example your recent posts on the use of technology really got me thinking about my usage. I have benefitted recently from declaring one day a week, Sunday, technology free even when the use of that technology is fun!

Hope you and your family have a good weekend.


Jean said...

Thanks, Linda, I checked out that talk and found what he had to say helpful and challenging, including some of his other talks on prayer and spiritual disciplines (I read them in PDF - faster than audio!). Thanks for the tip!