Works of Piety – Individual

Today, we’ll look at the first part of the Works of Piety, or as I like to think of them, the healthy eating part of our spiritual life. I would not recommend trying to add all of the Means of Grace into your daily routine at once, pick one or two to work on between now and the start of Lent (March 6).

Individual Practices – reading, meditating and studying the scriptures, prayer, fasting, regularly attending worship, healthy living, and sharing our faith with others

Individual practices are those that we can do without anyone participating with us. When we’re beginning a new practice, it is sometimes helpful to learn and develop it with others first until we have formed the habit.

  1. Reading, meditating and studying the scriptures – when we spend time in the Bible each day, we can connect with God in a special way. God comes alive through the stories of His redemptive work over time and the Holy Spirit can speak through the old stories to us today.

If reading the Bible on a regular or daily basis is new for you, LUMC has two suggested plans to start with. With the Bishop’s plan you will read the entire Bible in a year. With the LUMC reading plan, you will get more of the highlights version.

  1. Prayer – Try spending a few minutes each day in dedicated prayer time. It doesn’t have to be a long time; the point is to separate yourself from distractions and direct your attention toward God. I find that lighting candle helps.  Using the Lord’s Prayer as a template, can be a good starting place. If you’ve never done it, spend time just thinking about the words, the order and structure of the prayer.
  2. Fasting – is a practice from ancient times used when people needed to completely shut out the demands of living and focus their complete energy on prayer. Today, we often skip a meal or give up something that distracts from our time with God.
    In March, the youth will participate in the 30 Hour Famine, a time when they will fast while learning about hunger and poverty issues in the world, as well as spiritual practices. You are welcome to come and participate as an adult or join in spirit.
  3. Regularly attending worship – it seems odd that this is considered an individual practice, but even in a crowded sanctuary, worship is the practice of paying homage to God. It’s about our heart and mind.  Something I learned many years ago, is to take my calendar out and put worship on it in order to make it a commitment. It becomes easier to make it a priority, if it’s on the calendar.
  4. Healthy living – as a spiritual practice, this seems strange. Our bodies are gifts from God to be used to serve and worship Him. When we take care of our bodies, we honor the gift and enable ourselves to serve.
  5. Sharing our faith with others – what does it mean to share your faith? I used to think it meant to either share my “testimony” or to tell people what I know about Jesus – usually people who didn’t ask.  I’ve never been particularly fond of either concept.

Have you ever known someone who manages to spread their negativity?  I think sharing our faith should be like that, only more positive.

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