New Year’s is a great time to revitalize some habits that maybe fell away towards the end of the previous year! I know in my own life, the last few months of the calendar year are busy and it’s so easy for me to get out of routine. I think it’s ok to have seasons where you just enjoy life and all the parties that come with it, but there’s also a time for me to jump back into more structure and get back to some habits I find really helpful!
I wanted to share a few of my spiritual habits I want to refresh in the new year or just practice getting better at because they help set my days up for success and they keep me sane!
Sitting in Silence
This would fall under the category of “it kind of scares me, but I want to get better at it”. I’ve been listening to some podcasts and reading about the benefits of practicing silence in solitude (will share!) and there are so many benefits like giving your brain space to process emotions, helping to focus a wandering mind, interrupting busyness, and being able to connect with myself when I’m feeling scattered. Spiritually, I want to create more space to hear God and remind myself that I can just “be” and don’t have to constantly produce.
I will be doing a little silence and solitude challenge with myself in February to try to spend 30 days in a row in silence. I will start small at like two minutes and try to work my way up. I’m interested to see what changes I observe and will share my experience with you guys!
I’ve sort of been practicing this a little bit over the last year (here and there) in my effort to create space to hear God’s voice (listening prayer, as mentioned below). But I want to actually have time where I’m just sitting in silence without any sort of expectation from God. Literally, just sit and BE in His presence. It’s really hard for me to turn my brain off, so I usually have to have a piece of paper in case I think of something that *needs* to get off my chest and I have to set a time like I mentioned above.
This is something I really enjoy doing! The key is to train your rational mind to not be so loud, and allow your imagination to wander with Jesus. I typically set a timer for a block of time and write down what comes to mind.
I try to remove any pressure or expectations and try to not judge what I hear, but just scribble it down. Often, God gives me images in my imagination or impressions of words or phrases. Sometimes I will ask God questions and wait to see how he speaks. This practice has felt really restorative to my soul and a great way to practice hearing from God.
The first time I did this was in March of 2023 – I was led by a mentor through it. She asked me questions and I sat there and listened. Sometimes I repeated the questions out loud myself too. I was *blown away* by what happened in that experience. It was very surreal.
As someone who struggles with cynical thoughts as it pertains to the spiritual world, I’m still shocked by that experience. I had clear visions that didn’t really make sense, but I also could not ignore them. I fought my rational mind the entire time, which really helped me go deeper. Because my brain kept wanting to wrestle with my imagination and keep the experience in a box – if that makes sense? But as I continued to push against my rational mind, I was able to let go and experience an intimacy with God I never knew was possible. And it has only gotten better since that day! I practice some form of listening prayer almost daily – I cannot imagine my life without it.
I go back to the messages I believe God gave me on that day often. It was transformative for me and instilled a confidence in my soul that I desperately needed. I’m a child of God and I can hear His voice – He speaks to me! His sheep hear His voice (John 10:27).
Here are a few books that have been helpful for me:
- A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer by Rusty Rustenbach
- Can You Hear Me? by Brad Jersak
- Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard
Praying with my kids before meals
My kids and I share a simple prayer together before meals. We sing a simple “God our Father” prayer that takes less than a minute but it’s a sweet time to share with them. This time is important to me because the repetition is formative for my kids because they pause and thank God for what he has provided for us versus a posture of just consuming without considering where this provision came from.
Spending time in worship
It can be tempting to use my time with God to only ask for things or unload all of the “cries of my heart” to him. While I believe he wants to hear those things, we are also created to worship. I know if I don’t intentionally spend time focusing on worship towards God, it will cause my heart to wander and worship other things. Our hearts will want to worship something, so it’s important to consider how and towards what I am forming those affections because it can also hinder or deepen my intimacy in my relationship with God. I will link my worship playlist here in case you need a worship playlist to try this out!
No music in the car
I have been doing this for years, but I think it’s a great habit to get back into this time of year. I may never know the cool songs on the radio anymore, but this habit affords me quiet time when I’m alone. Our lives contain so much noise and this has been a great practice to grab a few minutes of quiet when I can’t schedule it in at other times during the day. I can use it to pray or just let my body calm down and have some peace and quiet.
Starting my day with declarative prayer
Did you know there were different types of prayer? I didn’t, but I have been reading this book by John Eldredge called “Moving Mountains” and I’ve loved the prayers he shares in his book. I took excerpts from his “Daily Prayer” and have been praying it each morning out loud, as well as printed a copy to hang in my bathroom.
In this book, there is a whole chapter about “consecrated” prayer. I personally was unfamiliar with that word until this summer, but in the book Eldredge says, “The act of consecration is ‘repairing the wiring,’ the first step, before God’s protection and provision can flow. It is the fresh act of dedicating yourself—or your home, a relationship, a job, your sexuality, whatever needs God’s grace—deliberately and intentionally to Jesus, bringing it fully into his kingdom and under his rule.
It seems so obvious, now that we state it, but you would be surprised how often this vital step is overlooked (and then folks wonder why their prayers don’t seem to be effective).” This has been such a great way to start my day and declare aspects of my day as dedicated to God. If you want to try it out, you can find the prayer here.
Saying a version of this prayer each morning has helped me enter my day in alignment with God’s word and promises. It reminds me who I am in Christ and that I have spiritual authority in and through my right standing with Jesus.
These habits are ones that I have enjoyed incorporating into my daily and weekly rhythms! If any of them resonate with you, take them and try them out. If they don’t, leave them! I would love to hear in the comments what spiritual habits you are trying out or adding back into your daily/weekly rhythms with God because you guys always have great ideas to share!
Brighton Your Day
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