The spiritual disciplines are the practices we utilize to form habits that cause us to more freely live in God’s grace. They should be consistent with Scripture, tradition, reason and history. Reading the scripture, prayer, solitude, meditation, fasting, and many others constitute the spiritual disciplines. Often as ministry leaders, we practice these things as part of our leadership; leading prayer, reading and studying the Bible to prepare a sermon or lesson, but this is not the same thing as personal practice. While God speaks to us through these items, our practice in these moments is focused on others and not our own connection and relationship with God. We can only give what we have and if we are not connecting with God regularly, caring for our soul and practicing the disciplines, we often lead out of our own energy, personality and skills rather than our relationship with God. This one is difficult for ministry leaders, because they feel guilty spending time with God. Spending time with God is our job. I take one day every month to be in prayer, solitude and the disciplines. It’s a workday in my book. I have had supervisors who agree and who disagree, but it’s a huge boundary for me, one I have been willing to quit ministry leadership positions over. As the Scriptures point out, it is God who anoints our head with oil so that our cup may overflow. It is out of that overflow that we lead and do ministry.
We all have habits, personally, professionally and spiritually. Are you building habits that build your relationship with God?