We just finished a sermon series titled, “Lost Christian Practices,” highlighting four spiritual themes: praying, hospitality, fasting, and resting. Within mainstream Christianity, there seems to be a need to recapture these practices because they’re essential for our spiritual development—and “lost” in the fullest sense. I personally benefited tremendously during this series, and I pray that, as a covenant community at RCC, we take seriously these means of grace that God has graciously given us to grow in our walk with the Lord. Let’s consider these disciplines.
1) Prayer (Genesis 4:26, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Perhaps, this may be the most basic activity that all Christians can partake in. We see in the Scriptures Jesus saying, “And when you pray . . .” (Matt. 6:5). He even gave us a framework of prayer in the Lord’s Prayer, which also can be found in chapter 6 of the book of Matthew.
But what is prayer? And how can we do this better so our prayers don’t feel boring? Prayer is humble communication with God. I highly recommend Don Whitney’s book, Praying the Bible, for more practical ways to cultivate your prayer life. But one way is to pray through certain sections of Scripture, especially the Psalms, which has rich theology that comforts our souls.
2) Hospitality (Romans 5:7)
I felt this sermon was very timely considering we live in the West where individualism plagues us! As Christians, we should be welcoming to our brothers and sisters in the Lord, but also to the strangers around us. What does hospitality look like in your context? How often do you have people in your home? For Meals? For recreation? For counseling? Do you find it interesting that one of the qualifications of an elder is to be hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2)? This sermon challenged me in ways that we should strive for hospitality.
3) Fasting (Matthew 6:16-18)
I had the privilege of preaching this sermon. I have to admit that it stretched me a bit, but God was faithful and I learned so much about this discipline. I had to repent of my lack of fasting, and I plan to be more committed with the proper heart motivation. I was fascinated by the different types of fasts in the Bible such as partial, normal, national, congregational, and private fasts in God’s word. There is also a self-centered approach that people take towards fasting which shouldn’t be part of our aim (Luke 18). May God grant us the heart to fast with a spiritual reason that draws us closer to him! A good resource for fasting is John Piper’s book, A Hunger for God.
4) Resting (Exodus 20:8-11)
This is another exercise that we often miss because we’re always on the grind. We are always working. We need time to rest for nourishment, refreshment, and enjoyment. One of our pastoral residents, Michel Duarte, preached on this important topic from the book of Exodus. One intriguing truth that rings in my head: ultimate rest is found only in Christ (John 15). Praise God for the rest that we have in Him, and the practical rhythms of Sabbath that we can partake in on a daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual basis.
Please don’t let just these four be the only disciplines we reclaim. Let’s commit to recapturing them all! Let’s examine ourselves to see if we are participating in these practices. If not, then why? Let God grant us the grace to glorify Him through the means of the many spiritual disciplines.
Sermons available on video.