Spiritual Practices Explained 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: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Discuss the Episode
- Spiritual practices are activities we engage in to help us
experience God in our daily lives. Don and Lauren discussed some
practices that are common among us, such as prayer, Bible study,
fellowship, and corporate singing and worship. Describe specific
benefits and struggles you have had with spiritual practices.
- Lauren says that the Gospel calls us to “live in our bodies well.”
Most of us are aware that our sexual behavior affects our faith. Do you
think our eating and exercise habits affect our relationship to God? If
so, when are they beneficial? When are they harmful?
- Lauren states that we are to be disciples in everything we do, and
that our daily activities influence our relationship with God. Do daily
activities like shopping, commuting, or sleeping move you toward or away
from God? How could these activities be done in such a way to
experience God within them?
- What are your thoughts on spiritual practices? Are there practices
you are doing or would like to try? How can communities encourage each
other in spiritual practices?
Reflect on What Others Have to Say
Underline and mark ideas you would like to discuss.
Spiritual disciplines…are designed to help us be active and effective
in the spiritual realm of our own heart, now spiritually alive by
grace, in relation to God and his kingdom. They are designed to help us
withdraw from total dependence on the merely human or natural (and in
that sense to mortify the “flesh,” kill it off, let it die) and to
depend also on the ultimate reality, which is God and his kingdom.
Willard, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our
Hidden Life in God
are intentional ways we open space in our lives for the worship of God.
They are not harsh but grace-filled ways of responding to the presence
of Christ with our bodies. Worship happens in our bodies, not just our
heads….Offering our bodies to God lands us smack in the middle of our
weakness and limits. We don’t have unlimited energy, time and personal
resources. We are finite. We need to be realistic about what our body
can do and sustain…Spiritual disciplines are ways we give our bodies to
unhurried rhythms of grace. They are ways we unhurry our souls before
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices
That Transform Us