Monday, 16 July 2012

Spiritual Disciplines

The following is from an introduction to a book on the spiritual disciplines:

"It's not uncommon for an accomplished musician to be able to sit down in front of a new piece of music and play it through without a hitch. To make it seem easy, as if it required no effort. Yet the "freedom" to play with such skill comes only after years of disciplined practice. In the same way, the freedom to grow in godliness—to naturally express Christ's character through your own personality—is in large part dependent on a deliberate cultivation of the spiritual disciplines. Far from being legalistic, restrictive, or binding, as they are often perceived, the spiritual disciplines are actually the means to unparalleled spiritual liberty." (Buddy Owens on Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Don Whitney)

Freedom then, comes from submitting to the 'restrictions' of a disciplined spiritual life. This is why a Rule of Prayer is a good place to start. Here is one I found on the net - although I can't trace where - and which I commend to anyone wanting to experience the freedom of what it means to live like Jesus:

A prayer rule is the outline of our daily prayer routine. It is important to have a thought out rule. Casually going to your place for prayer and simply talking with God is not the best way to begin to develop your prayer life. We will find that we end up babbling in front of our God. We can take advantage of the centuries of wisdom and being by using proven prayers that will lift us up in our way of communicating with God.

A prayer rule should first specify the place and time of prayer. Then it should outline the sequence of your prayers and the specific prayers you will say.Remember always consult with your spiritual father about your prayer rule. He will help you develop one that fits best your level of prayer.
Below is an example of a beginners prayer rule.
Outline for Morning and Evening Prayer
Place: In the icon stand in the spare bedroom
Time: 6:30am and 11:00pm for 20 minutes each time
Begin by lighting a candle, and making three prostrations and then stand quietly to collect yourself in your heart.
Introductory Prayers - Prayer to Holy Spirit, Trisagion Prayer and Lord's Prayer
One of six Morning or Evening Psalms
Intercessions for the living and the dead
Psalm 51 and confession of your sinfulness
Doxology and the morning or evening prayer
Personal dialogue with God
Jesus prayer - repeat 100 times.
Reflect quietly on the tasks of the day and prepare yourself for the difficulties you might face asking God to help you or in the evening reflect on the day and the difficulties you ecountered and how you dealt with them.

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