We are constantly amazed at the number of comments we receive over the simple “Ideas and Exercises” section of A Spiritual Formation Workbook. And people are always asking for more suggestions on how to actually practice the five traditions. So here are a few additional hints.

Contemplative: The Prayer-Filled Life

1. Try falling asleep in an atmosphere of prayer. Brother Lawrence reminds us that “those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.”
2. Prayerfully read some of the sayings of the desert fathers and mothers. These stories are not meant to have an “answer,” rather they are to open us to the possibilities of a life with God. (You might start with: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Benedicta Ward, trans. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1975. Also consider: The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton. New York: A New Directions Book, 1970.)
3. Spend some time this week listening to contemplative music designed to quiet you, settle you, deepen you. (Compact discs and tapes from the Taizé Community, John Michael Talbot, and the Monks of Weston Priory are especially helpful.)

Holiness: The Virtuous Life

1. Like any good “athlete for God” ask yourself: “What area of life am I especially weak in, and what spiritual discipline would work to overcome this weakness?
2. Thomas á Kempis notes that “Habit overcomes habit.” So ask yourself: What habit is destructive to my life with God, and what habit of righteousness could I develop that would help to overcome it?
3. Allow a trusted friend or small group to pray over you for an increase of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Charismatic: The Spirit-Empowered Life

1. Think of a person who has experienced more of the power of the Holy Spirit than you have. If possible, arrange your life to be around this person to see what you can learn.
2. Think of a person who has experienced more of the grace and mercy of the Spirit than you have. If possible, arrange your life to be around this person to see what you can learn.
3. Read The Journal of George Fox as a way of better understanding how a Spirit-Empowered life works.

Social Justice: The Compassionate Life 

1. Donate your time to baby-sit for a single mother who could use a little time away from the children.
2. Check out a local nursing home for any person who does not have visitors. Visit him or her and see what develops. You may be in for some delightful surprises; remember the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”.
3. Read Tom Sine’s Wild Hope (Dallas, TX: Word, 1991) or Donald Kraybill’s The Upside-Down Kingdom (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1978) and see what you can learn. Do not be afraid to disagree and debate with the issues raised in these books—it is how we grow.

Evangelical: The Word-Centered Life

1. Read through an entire book of the Bible in one sitting. Often our Bible reading is so fragmented that we miss the flow of a book. For the New Testament start with Luke, then Acts, Romans, Ephesians, and Revelation. In the Old Testament read Esther, then Job, Hosea, Jonah, and Habakkuk.
2. Memorize one of the better-known psalms like 1, 15, 23, 100, or 150.
3. Take one day and consciously pray inwardly for every person you encounter that they somehow will be introduced to Jesus.

Starting Soon: The 2018-19 Renovaré Book Club

How do we read for transformation, not just information? Choose books that stir the soul and have an enduring quality. Then read with God and others at an unhurried pace, attentive to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach. The Renovaré Book Club is designed for transformative reading. It runs October 2018—May 2019.

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