Many of us set New Year’s resolutions as a result of where we were last year and where we hope to be a year from now. While resolutions about exterior things like health and wellness and finances are good, consider setting a New Year’s resolution that can affect the trajectory of your spiritual growth. Our hope is that each person that attends New North has an increased hunger for the presence of God in their inner lives which will flow into their actions. Below are some Spiritual disciplines, or practices we think will help all of us increase our dependence on Jesus.
First, spend fifteen minutes, five days a week, reading God’s Word.
We believe God’s word is living and active and has the power through the Holy Spirit to transform us. In order to hear God’s voice above the ruckus of everyday life, we need to be able to recognize it. Part of the way we do that is understanding how he has spoken to people and through people in the past. In other words, knowing and meditating on scripture prepares us hear God’s voice in the rhythms of our life. We also know the Bible is intimidating! It is 66 books, and full of genres and authors that all are unique. While the message and story is consistent, often we don’t know where to start. Along with the Bible reading plans listed below (available through YouVersion), we have found The One Year Bible to be most effective in staying soaked in God’s word.
- The One Year Bible available on Amazon
- "Spiritual Disciplines & Evangelism" Bible reading plan on YouVersion
- "Convergence: Spiritual Practices" video series on RightNow Media*
- "Enjoying Jesus – 12 Experiences that Will Draw You Closer" video series on RightNow Media*
*We've made RightNow Media available for free to every New Norther. To make your free account, click here.
Second, center each day with prayer.
Prayer that invites God into our actions, our feelings, our disappointments, and our joys also prompts us to depend on him for the things that are out of our control, and remember his devotion to us. Prayer is the lifeline of every follower of Jesus, but cultivating a rich prayer life takes practice! In an attempt to ask God to become a part of the rhythms of our actions, we have pieced together a daily prayer guide. Spending time in the morning to dedicate ourselves to God reminds us that he is in control, we are not. Setting aside five minutes in the middle of the day for prayer postures our heart toward Jesus and again lets him clear out what is distracting us from life in him. Ending our day with what is traditionally called the Examen opens up our feelings, our motivations, our triumphs and our failures to him and allows him to wash us with his grace and compels us to love him more. We hope this ritual is the tip of the iceberg as we deepen our dependence on and expectations of our good God.
Click here for the digital version of our Prayer Guide.
Third, cultivate a culture of rest.
It sounds simple, but we believe that one of the best ways you can live differently than your neighbors in the Bay Area is to designate time for Sabbath rest – even if you are not tired! For some reason, rest and laziness have become synonymous with each other and we are very good at bragging about how busy we are. The busier the better in the Bay. But God has created within us limits that should be understood. We have limited time and energy, limited creativity, and even limited willpower. By setting aside time to rest, our hearts are forced to remember that God orchestrates our time and our priorities, the world does not. Limits are a beautiful gift meant to keep us at the feet of Jesus where we receive what is best as sustenance.
One way to practice rest is through meditation. Many religions use meditation as a part of their practice as a way to empty the individual. Christian meditation is different. Christians empty themselves only to fill themselves again with God’s truth. As GK Chesterton said, “The object of opening the mind, like opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” Meditation is a way of emptying ourselves of the noise of our day and allowing God fill us again with his presence. This is a centering and rewarding practice.
Below is a recommended resource for Christian mediation. We recommend listening to the meditations at any time you find yourself alone and long to hear from God — in the car, in the shower, before you go to sleep, when you have a pause between activities. Some of them are longer meditations, and some are as short as five minutes.
The Invitation Podcast: https://www.invitationpodcast.org