Spiritual Practices, Part 4

So far, in this series of posts, I have led in Centering Down, Prayer of Examen, and Lectio Divina. Please feel free to return to these, and if it is helpful, follow my lead until you can do them on your own without my guidance.

This week, I am taking a break from leading practices to introduce the idea of a more in-depth practice and share a personal example. A rule of life is a widely accepted and encouraged spiritual practice across Christian history and denominations. Writtings encouraging a rule of life first appeared about 300 years after Christ through the writings of the desert fathers and became most well known through the monastic community under St. Benedict 1500 years ago. His rule was an agreed-upon daily rhythm of prayer for the community. Future monastic communities would follow suit as would other Christian communities and families.

Today, the idea of a Rule of Life sees revised popularity.  A "rule" is different than goals or resolutions. It meant to be a guide for your living to help you abide more fully in the love and presence of Jesus. The original Latin word for rule, was the idea of a trellis to help grapes grow away from the ground, free of predators and diseases so that it could bear maximum fruitfulness.

I have been familiar with this idea for many years, but it wasn't until I was required to make one as part of my seminary education, that I came to see the immense value of having one.  

I will link a few resources to read more about creating your own Rule of Life at the end of this blog. You can keep this simple, or you can go into depth prayerfully considering your life, God's actions in it, and your desires to live for Him in various aspects of your living.  I was required to do the more in-depth version using the book I link below, and I can tell you that I am glad I did. The benefits of contemplating all the book leads you to consider are beyond just having a Rule of Life.

The main idea of a Rule of Life is to prayerfully consider, write down,  and then commit to a way of being with God in your relationship with Him, in your health, in your relationships, in your church community, and your work.

After you have articulated your rule, you can get creative with how to keep it before you. Because I am a visual person who likes both to shoot and edit video and create music as a hobby, it made sense for me to articulate my Rule of Life through my music and video I took of places I love to pray at and people I love. I then edited this video to be just a few minutes long so that I know I would view it often as part prayer and part reminder of my rule.

Each person should determine what expression of their rule makes the most sense for them creatively and practically that will enable them to keep their rule before their eyes and hearts.

I hope I was able to whet your appetite to look further into this practice and to consider starting the process of making your own Rule of Life. For those of you who begin, I have no doubt the rewards will be rich. If you have any questions or would like to share any experiences along the way, please comment on this blog or write me at [email protected]

My rule is life is a series of core values that I feel the Lord is drawing me to and creating within me. I decided to write this out as a prayer.

As way of example, here is my Rule of Life written out as well as the video I made:

"My Father, with Your grace and for Your glory, I seek to daily join the work of Your Holy Spirit in my life. That I may become...

  • Become Open - to the leading of God’s Spirit in all spaces and times, to the ways He may want to me to engage in His revelations, to see my life as a prayer unto Him.
  • Become Grateful - to notice beauty and take it in, see the goodness of God’s hand within people, God’s creation, man’s creations and within situations. Allow myself to feel thankfulness and joy for these things.
  • Become Relaxed - release tensions, nervous energy, any tight grips, any sway towards dogmatizing.
  • Become Welcoming - show hospitality physically, spiritually and emotionally.
  • Become Generous - with help, encouragements, with compliments, with my time, with friendship.
  • Become Invitational - to invite people to step into this “with-God” life, to experience a new life through Jesus, to call out to Him, to come to church.
  • Become Curious, - to discover the depths of people’s hearts, thoughts and hunger. Engage the minds and hearts of others in order that they may discover for themselves, the wisdom of God and the rhythms of His presence with them.
  • Become Patient - to create space in conversations for people to find their own an-swers by praying, waiting & releasing. Recognize the giving of answers too quickly circumvents this process.
  • Become Celebratory - worship hard and worship often. Call attention to and celebrate the good that people accomplish.
-Vincent Donnachie, pastor of RCC

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