Living the Practices Leaders Guide
Special Considerations for the Spiritual Practices Episodes
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Disciplines of Withdrawal
Keeping a Sabbath
Disciplines of Engagement
Study (Spiritual Reading)
Join the Conversation
Record thoughts and questions here that come up as you watch the
episode. Explore them later with the group.
to God’s Word: Colossians 3:1-17, 4:2-6
Discuss the Episode
- 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
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
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
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.
Peterson, The Jesus Way
Resources for Further Growth
- The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden
Life in God, by Dallas Willard
- The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God
Changes Lives, by Dallas Willard
- Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth,
by Richard J. Foster
- Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, by
Richard J. Foster
- Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That
Transform Us, by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
- Receiving the Day: Christian Practices for Opening the
Gift of Time, by Dorothy C. Bass