No one hits a homerun on their first at bat.  All athletes know that greatness takes time, practice, and conditioning.  A player may spend hundreds of hours in a batting cage and lifting weights and running laps before a big swing first pays off.  We recognize that sports take practice.  As does music, dance, drawing and a myriad of other skills.  To master anything takes time, practice, and patience.


Why do we assume that it is any different with our spiritual lives.  Too often I hear people discouraged with their ability to pray, or study, or fast.  And that discouragement keeps them from practicing. Which means it keeps them from growing.  The spiritual life has its own set of skills that must be developed over time.  If we would pray well, we must first pray awkwardly.  If we would fast easily, the fast will at first be hard. To master anything takes time, practice, and patience. 

The great challenge of spiritual life is not to be perfect, but to begin.  Lent is an excellent time to pick up new habits or to deepen our spiritual skills.  This is a season of preparation.  We are looking forward to the resurrection and our life with Christ.  That means practicing the skills of that life.   

In worship we are exploring spiritual practices through the eyes of Christian writers from across the ages.  The readings we offer each week are drawn from Spiritual Classics a collection edited by Richard Foster who wrote A Celebration of Disciplines. Foster is a leading teacher on spiritual practices and a founder of Renovare which provides print and online resources as well as retreats and training in spiritual disciplines.  If you are looking to grow in your faith life I recommend both books or their Life with God podcast. 

I can say for myself that Disciple has pushed me to have deeper habits of study and reflection in this season.  It has brought me deeper peace and widened my perspective.  It has been a good reminder that practice is good at every level.  If we would master a skill we must first begin, we must be prepared to be bad at it, we must continue to grow over the whole of our lives.  This Lent, what practice would you like to begin or grow in your own spiritual life?



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