3 Spiritual Practices to Try This Week
November 19, 2018
Spiritual practices can seem like a daunting addition to our busy schedules. They say it takes something like three weeks to form a habit, too, so even if you start a spiritual practice of—say—daily bible reading, or prayer walking, can you stick with it long enough to form it into a habit? Maybe some remarkable folks among us create habits out of these disciplines, but I think it’s safe to say that many of us struggle to create space for regular spiritual practices in our busy lives. And then once we have made the space, we quickly forget about them.
Spiritual practices don’t have to be interruptions to your routine. Here are just three suggestions for things you can try this week that won’t require you to find extra time or go anywhere special.
1. A Palm Prayer
The palm prayer is a simple gesture prayer that can capture the spiritual act of releasing burdens to God and receiving grace and blessing from God. One simply holds their hands out in front of them, faces their palms down for a period of time, and then faces their palms up.
You can pray with words while doing this if you like. For example, with palms facing down, I might pray, “God, I give you to you the anxiety I’m experiencing right now.” With palms facing up, I might pray something like, “God, I receive the peace of your Spirit.”
But you don’t have to use words. You might just welcome a brief moment of internal silence, and hold your hands palms down for a beat, and then turn them up for a beat. Try it. You can even hold your hands under your desk at work.
2. A Warm Cup Prayer
Use your existing routines, and turn them into brief spiritual practices. Do you enjoy a ritual hot beverage in the morning? If so, try this:
Hold your cup of coffee/tea/hot water/hot cocoa, and allow your hands to feel the warmth of the cup. Can you, for a moment, imagine this warmth to be the warmth of the Spirit of God, radiating into you through your hands? Before you sip your coffee, notice the warmth.
Raise your cup to take a sip. As you do, can you imagine that the content’s of your cup are the life-sustaining nourishment of God? As you drink, welcome the life-giving nourishment of Jesus, who compares himself to food and drink. You can say words with this prayer too, if you want. But you don’t have to. Just allow the drinking of your cup to evoke for you the act of being nourished by a warm, energizing, sustaining God.
3. A Touch Prayer
This spiritual practice requires a tiny amount of pre-planning, but is the briefest practice of the lot.
Choose a spot in your home that you pass by often. Perhaps it’s your fridge, or the area next your front door. Now choose some kind of symbol of faith you connect with God. Maybe it’s a traditional cross, or some kind of art work; maybe it’s a memento that represents a relationship you’re grateful for, or a photograph of a time you remember God’s presence. Let this symbol be of your choosing. Take your item—your faith anchor, we’ll call it—and hang it in the spot that you chose.
Try briefly and gently touching this anchor with your fingertips when you pass by it, whenever you remember it. If your anchor is next to your front door, briefly touch it as you leave each day. As with the other prayers, you can certainly pray with words as you do this. But you might also just remember whatever feeling of connection to God and other that this anchor evokes in you. Allow yourself that daily moment of feeling-memory.
There are, of course, so many spiritual practices we can add into our schedules, some more time consuming than others. But sometimes these brief moments we take to simply notice our need for God, or our connection to God, can be the richest spiritual practices of all.