As we enter into January and the beginning of a new year that we fervently hope will be better than the one we are leaving behind, I’d like to share a few more ideas for new spiritual practices as suggested by my colleague in ministry, the Rev. Linda Kurtz, who serves at the First Presbyterian Church of Lexington, Kentucky. As we dream of a future in which we can all receive vaccinations and rebuild our lives together, I invite you to consider changing up the way you pray and seeing if one of these practices might enrich your conversation with God.
This faith practice is simple: We invite you to worship. Be intentional about setting apart time to worship God from your home. Create sacred space for yourself (and whoever you’re at home with) to worship. What does creating sacred space look like? Light a candle as worship begins to remember that the light of Christ cannot be overcome. Set out a bowl and pitcher of water, and pour the water into the bowl as worship begins to remember God’s grace.
Want other ideas? Watch this video by Stephen Fearing, pastor of Beaumont Presbyterian Church here in Lexington, as he talks about creating sacred space.
Now, in your time and space set apart, worship God.
Start a practice of making a prayer chain. Create a chain of prayer concerns during the week, either from newspapers or writing on strips of paper. Add to it as much as you like during the week. When you are done, lift each item on the chain up in prayer to God.
As this pandemic continues into another year, we are all in need of practices to help us make meaning from our experiences. We invite you to make a list of losses and a list of gratitudes. Having both lists can help us be honest about grief, keep us from minimizing important feelings, and prevent us from drowning in sorrow.
This article walks you through how to make these lists, and why it can help you. Though the article is framed for teenagers and young adults, the practice can work for people of all ages.
After you’ve made your lists, consider how all the items you’ve named — whether obvious or not — impact your faith. End your time in prayer, lifting what you’ve written to God.
Find yourself doing a lot of reading while self-quarantining? You can turn story time into a theological discussion! (Sounds intimidating. It’s not.)
Today, grab a book and consider how it interacts with your faith. Here’s a super easy way to do this with kids’ books. Visit the Storypath blog and search for the book you’d like to read to see if there is a post about it. Each post provides a related Scripture text and thoughts (and, usually, questions!) on how the book relates to Scripture. It’s a great starting point!
Don’t have a kids’ book on hand? Check out your library’s e-book offerings. Connect with a young family from your church or neighborhood and discuss together via Zoom or FaceTime. (They bring the book; you bring the questions!) Or, simply read part of any book and ask yourself: What religious themes do I sense here? What Scripture text relates to those themes or this book? How can it help me understand God differently?