If you've been a Christian for longer than a minute then you've probably been told that you need to pray and read your Bible every day. It's drilled into us as soon as we learn to talk. But just like eating the same Ramen every day for lunch, it can get a little stale if that's all that you do with God.
So, what are the other options? To quote the great Elyse Meyers: "Great question. I would love to tell you."
Let's take a look at Matthew 26:26-29.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
In this passage, we see that Jesus is asking us to remember his sacrifice through drinking wine and bread. To find out more about this, you can check out my other blog on the subject: Why Do Christians Eat Jesus During Communion?
Traditionally, communion has been practiced by believers since Jesus started it 2000 years ago. Many times it starts with a confession and prayer, remembering what Christ did for us and it’s done together as Christians - not typically on our own. Typically, this is done with the church so grab your partner, roommate, or kids and ask them to take communion with you.
2. Be Still
When was the last time you just sat in silence with no distractions? It's so rare in our society. We constantly have to be entertained by something, even in church. So for this one, I'd encourage you to go to a park or even better a state park and go for a hike by yourself.
Then, practice being still before God.
Below, I've listed some verses to read to help focus your mind but for the majority of the time just let your mind be still. Notice how God is keeping all things together and how is in total control. Be attentive to detail, and see God’s creativity in the big and little. Don’t listen to anything except the sounds of the outside, and bring a journal to write down any thoughts that you want to remember and a physical Bible (this will help you from getting distracted on your phone.)
I'll be the first to tell you that it can be hard to stay still. Every time I practice this, my to-do list comes to mind, so let's plan for that. If things come to mind that you need to do, write them down in the journal and have peace that you can go back later and see your list of things if you need them.
Resist the urge to fill the space with words.
“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne,”
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
“Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
3. Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina (which means divine reading) became a tradition of monks back in the sixth century and is practiced across the world today. This is a unique way to study scripture by taking it bit by bit and giving space for God to speak to us through it.
It was developed by Benedict of Nursia in the 6th Century. In the 12th century, it was formalized by Guigo with four steps: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.
In Benedict’s famous Rule for Monks (480 – 547) he urges us to listen to God’s word “with the ear of our hearts.”
Here's how it works:
Reading. Read a short passage slowly and carefully.
Prayer. Have a loving conversation with God.
Meditation. Think deeply about a spiritual reality within a text. (What do you see, hear, etc? Who do you relate to the most? What does this show you about Jesus?)
Contemplation. Rest in God's presence.
Action. Go and do likewise.
Try it with Luke 10:38-42
Want to know more about this? Check out this resource: How To Do Lectio Divina
4. Scripted Prayers
This may seem like cheating but reading already-prepared prayers can be helpful. They can express things that maybe you couldn't put words to.