Why spiritual practices or disciplines

From its beginning the church linked the desire for more of God to intentional practices, relationships and experiences that gave people space in their lives to keep company with Jesus. These intentional practices, relationships and experiences we know as spiritual disciplines or practices. The basic rhythm of disciplines or rule for the first believers is found in acts 2:42: "they devoted themselves to the  apostles teachings (a practice) and to  fellowship (relationships), to the breaking of bread (an experience) and to prayer (another practice). The desire to know and love God fueled these disciplines.  In the book of Acts we learn a variety of ways the first century believers made space for God as they face difficulties: the discipline of compassion, the disciplines of witness, intercession and attachment; the discipline of service; the discipline of fixed our prayer; the discipline of fasting; the discipline of discernment.  From the desert fathers and mothers we learn the disciplines of silence, solitude, contemplation, spiritual direction and attachment. At other points in church history, we learn disciplines of memorization, devotional reading, service, simplicity, hospitality, meditation.  In modern times will began to keep company with Jesus through journaling, self-care,  care of the earth, conversational prayer, accountability partners, small groups, mentoring and inner healing prayer.

Still Point

Still Point is our spiritual practices learning center.  Below are a few examples of the spiritual practices featured in our learning center.  For more information,  please contact our pastor, Alan Griffin, at agriffin46528@comcast.net or at 574-533-7845

  • Labyrinth

    The labyrinth is a serpentine path used as a spiritual tool to help those who walk it grow in their relationship with God.  While they walk it, pilgrims might offer the time to God or meditate on a pressing question, a breath prayer, or a passage of Scripture.

    The winding path leads toward the center, toward God, toward wholeness and integration.  Many person find it meaningful to remain a while in the center, praying and meditating.  The journey out is a preparation toward offering one's gifts to others and to the larger world. "


    ~The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation


    To learn more please explore the following documents


    Walking_the_Labyrinth.pdf

    introduction_to_labyrinth.pdf

    Instructions_for_Walking_the_Labyrinth.pdf

    20_minute_sabbaths-walking-labyrinth.pdf



  • Centering Prayer

    Centering prayer is not something new. It is in ancient Christian form of prayer that joined meditation on a word of Scripture with prayer. It is a simple way to center one’s life in God’s presence. In the 1960s and 1970s, three Cistercian monks, Thomas Keating, Basil Pennington and William Meninger, sought to revive this ancient form of meditative prayer. Centering prayer is distinctly different from practices of Eastern meditation that attempt to clear the mind of all thoughts. Centering prayer allows for the recognition of thoughts and gently releases them into the hands of God. This form of prayer relies on the awareness that the Holy Spirit resides in the one who prays, connecting them heart to heart with God. 


    To learn more please explore the following documents:  


    Centering_Prayer_Quick_Start_Guide.pdf

    The_Method_of_Centering_Prayer_from_Contemplative_Outreach.pdf

    Centering_Prayer_Practice.docx

    Centering_Prayer_4.pdf


  • The Jesus Prayer  or  Prayer of the Heart

    "The Jesus Prayer" refers to a short prayer, the words of which are: 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,' constantly repeated. The Jesus Prayer is known to innumerable Christians as a form of devotion that can be used at any moment, whatever the situation. The main emphasis is on the repetition of the prayer; it can be said while sitting, walking, or working, silently or aloud.

    " More than any other prayer, the Jesus Prayer aims at bringing us to stand in God's presence with no other thought but the miracle of our standing there and God with us, because in the use of the Jesus Prayer there is nothing and no one except God and us."

    Adapted from "The Jesus Prayer" by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom



    To learn more please explore the following documents:

    The_Jesus_Prayer_.pdf

    The_Jesus_Prayer_or_Prayer_of_the_Heart_.pdf

    The_Practice_of_Prayer_of_the_Heart.pdf



  • lectio divina

    For centuries the discipline of lectio divina (divine or spiritual reading) has been used as a means to help the truth of scripture sink into our hearts. Lectio begins in scripture and ends in prayer, is used by indi­viduals or groups, and is comprised of four steps. One moves through these steps in a natural progression, following the leading of the Spirit rather than the se­quence of the steps.



    To learn more please explore the following documents:

    A_Short_Guide_to_Lectio_Divina.pdf

    lectio_divina_contempletive_ourtreach.pdf

    Lectio_Divina_for_Group_Use.pdf



  • prayer of examen

    For thousands of years those who follow God have examined themselves in order to evaluate their faith­fulness in following. The psalmist meditated on God's word and made certain that he would not follow the way of the wicked (Psalm 1). Jehoshaphat charged his appointed judges to "consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD" (2 Chron 19:6). The Apostle Paul evaluated his own life and actions to ensure that he was not just "running aimlessly" (1 Cor 9:24-27).


    In the 16th century Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founder of the Jesuits, developed an approach to as­sist every Christian in the discipline of self assess­ment. Ignatius himself was known for practicing this examination three times each day. In the morning he reflected on the previous night's conclusions and re­affirmed his course for the new day. At noon he con­sidered the events of the morning and at night, the events of the afternoon. Each examination was about 15 minutes in length and covered five topics succes­sively. Ignatius' model is a pattern of prayer cen­tered around acknowledging, asking, admitting, re­penting and resolving.


    To learn more please explore the following documents:  


    Practicing_a_Spiritual_Examination.pdf

    The_Prayer_of_Examen.pdf

    20minutesabbaths-examen.pdf

    The_Prayer_of_Examen_guided_version.pdf


  • sabbath  --  observing a day of rest

    The fourth commandment reads: "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work." (Exodus 20:8 – 10). The Jewish understanding of Sabbath embraced a special 24 hour rest time that was different from every other day of the week. Other days of the week were given over to work, but the Sabbath reminded people that they were finite. They could not constantly be on the go. There were limits to their energy. And to honor these limitations was to honor the infinite God, who himself worked and rested.


    To learn more please explore the following documents:


    Sabbath_day_of_rest.pdf

    SabbathKeeping.pdf

    Keeping_Sabbath_Dorothy_C_Bass.pdf

    Wisdom_and_Sabbath_Rest.pdf