Open Your Heart
The goal of spiritual formation is to have our hearts (the core of who we are) become more like the heart of Jesus. This happens as God pours His love out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5) who transforms our lives to become more like the life of Jesus as we gaze upon God's glory (2 Cor. 3:18). The focus of this week is to open our hearts to hear from God, and experience His love and transforming power.
Formational Practice: Silence
Our formational practice this week is silence. We often live rushed lives filled with lots of noise. Therefore, it can be hard to hear God's voice or feel like He is near to us. And hearing from God is hard when we don't slow down enough and pause the other voices in our lives to hear from our Heavenly Father. This week we will focus on spending time in silence to open our hearts to God and hear from Him.
Spend at least 5 minutes each day sitting in silence to open your heart to God, hear from Him, and enjoy being in His presence.
Sitting in silence can be awkward or uncomfortable, so here are some recommendations:
Sit in a comfortable position and relax your body.
Take a few moments to "prepare" for this time of silence, recognizing that God is present with you in this moment.
Express to God that you are ready and willing to hear from Him. You can even show this openness by placing your palms up and open on your lap to indicate that you are ready to receive from the Lord what He has for you.
If your mind begins to wander during this time of silence, you can quickly jot down the thoughts that come up on a piece of paper nearby so you can stay open to God. You can always come back later to the thoughts or reminders that came to mind and you wrote down.
You can "ease into" this time of silence by reading your Bible for a couple of minutes.
Try and find moments or breaks throughout the day to sit in silence. Wake up 5 minutes earlier or leave for work 5 minutes earlier to create this space to be with God.
Other formational practice ideas:
Take this week to fast from social media and/or news
*I want to highly encourage this social media/news fast. It goes along very well with silence because we are silencing the voices online that can so easily distract and overwhelm, and intentionally creating space to hear from God.*
Spend some time by yourself away from other people (I would recommend at least an hour). Take only your Bible and some pen and paper. Enjoy the time with just you and God through silence, prayer, reading your Bible, journaling, meditating on Scripture, etc.
Communal practice ideas: A short "retreat" with others in someone's home or backyard.
GC ideas: Go outside together to be in God's creation.
Consider taking a walk as a group and paying attention to the sights, sounds, and colors of nature, sitting quietly as God speaks to you through "the Book of Nature."
Watch a sunrise or sunset together.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands...their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1, 4)