Living the Practices Leaders Guide


Special Considerations for the Spiritual Practices Episodes

  1. Spiritual disciplines are means of grace; that is, they are ways to help us be active and intentional in our relationship with God, now alive to Him by grace.  They help us withdraw from relying on ourselves and engage in dependence on God.  Although the understanding of spiritual disciplines is growing, some members of your group may be fearful or suspicious of the language of spiritual disciplines, fearful that they may become ends in themselves and become a form of works righteousness.  If this is the case, emphasize that these practices have no value in themselves, only as they help us actively love God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
  2. The theme of this DVD is experiencing God in the everyday.  These spiritual practices only have meaning if they help us interact with God in our daily lives, and make us more aware of how our daily activities affect our relationship with God.  We are conditioned to think that many of our daily activities are “secular,” having nothing to do with God.  Help your group to reflect on how their daily activities (sleeping, commuting, shopping, eating, working, etc.) actually do have an influence on their relationship with God.
  3. Suggest the following exercise to your group.  At the end of the discussion of the first episode, have each member of the group pick a spiritual practice (ideally a new one they currently are not doing) to implement for the remainder of the time you will be discussing this DVD.  In the last two meetings, have each one share their experience with the practice; struggles with doing it, things they learned about themselves, and how God used it in their life.  Below are some of the main disciplines:

Disciplines of Withdrawal

Keeping a Sabbath

Disciplines of Engagement

Study (Spiritual Reading)
Physical Exercise


Join the Conversation

Record thoughts and questions here that come up as you watch the episode.  Explore them later with the group.

Listen to God’s Word: Colossians 3:1-17, 4:2-6

Discuss the Episode

  1. As indicated by the Psalms, we can expect to experience the full range of human emotion in our life with God and in the use of spiritual practices. Lauren singles out boredom as her main struggle. What struggles do you have? How might you go “deeper with God” amidst that struggle?
  2. Don asks Lauren about the danger of pride or legalism in the use of spiritual practices. How can we discern the difference between spiritual practices used as a way of entering into life with God and the danger of seeing them as a way of earning favor with God?
  3. The Gospel calls us to faithfulness in every aspect of our daily lives, even in the routine. How can the regular use of spiritual practices help us be faithful to God in these areas?
  4. As Lauren suggested, describe areas of vitality and what current practices are being used among your group or church. Next, discern what sin or brokenness the community is struggling with, and what spiritual practices might help with those struggles.


Reflect on What Others Have to Say

Underline and mark ideas you would like to discuss.

First, we must accept the circumstances we constantly find ourselves in as the place of God’s kingdom and blessing.  God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are, and if we faithlessly discard situation after situation, moment by moment, as not being “right,” we will simply have no place to receive his kingdom into our life.  For those situations and moments are our lives.
Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God

In the midst of our daily activities, whatever they may happen to be, we should find reverberations of eternity—of the kingdom of God…. Others come to similar conclusion by talking about family life not just as a context for exercising the spiritual disciplines but as a spiritual discipline itself.  This is true, for family life generally shapes the quality of a person spiritually more than almost anything else.  It is not just what takes place during the “quiet time” which is determinative here, but how one responds to the still, small voice of God and the quiet shaping work of the Holy Spirit in and through the ordinary demands of the home.  Much of the same can be said of friendship, another spiritual discipline as writers from Augustine through Jeremy Taylor to C.S. Lewis, have acknowledged.
Robert Banks, Redeeming the Routines

But Jesus as the truth gets far more attention than Jesus as the way.  Jesus as the way is the most frequently evaded metaphor among the Christians with whom I have worked for fifty years as a North American pastor…We cannot skip the way of Jesus in our hurry to get to the truth of Jesus as he is worshiped and proclaimed.  The way of Jesus is the way we come to understand the truth of Jesus, living Jesus in our homes and workplaces, with our friends and family.
Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way

Resources for Further Growth

  1. The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God, by Dallas Willard
  2. The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives, by Dallas Willard
  3. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, by Richard J. Foster
  4. Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, by Richard J. Foster
  5. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
  6. Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the Gift of Time, by Dorothy C. Bass
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