ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Christian Practices and Habits for 2014: You can Succeed if Thoughtful and Realistic

Updated on December 31, 2013

Is It Really All That Bad?

Back in the 1990’s when accountability groups were all the rage, I remember being in a group when a brother said, “I know I wouldn't have my daily quiet time if it wasn't for the fact that I’m in a group where you all are asking me the hard questions.”

Even then I knew this was not quite right. Is reading the Bible and prayer such an onerous drudgery that the only way one is able to get through it is the dread of being called on the carpet by a group of burly in-your-face men? What happened to “sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb?”

I have come to believe that if spiritual disciplines are drudgery and a burden, then I am probably doing something wrong. I am going about my walk with the Lord with a wrong attitude or in the wrong way. The angst of Evangelicals “I don’t pray as much as I ought” is more about unrealistic expectations and lack of a plan than being a spiritual deadbeat. We long for the spiritual milk of the Word. Being in prayer is turning our hearts back to the one we love. This is not difficult. If it is, then I need to rethink the way I am going about it.


Finding A Fulfilling Process

I think sometimes we can get tripped up over method. I have friends who love exercising in the gym. Others look forward to playing tennis. Tennis would be a burden for me because I really don’t know how to play. I tried the gym but decided I really don’t like lifting heavy things. For me, exercise is jogging with the dogs. It invigorates me and I always feel uplifted. Of course, there are cold, damp mornings where I have to push myself but once I get out and get going, I am refreshed.

Now, if I tried to run a marathon every morning, I would soon get discouraged and give up or if I didn’t get out for at least a half an hour, it would probably get meaningless and I would get bored with it. I had to come up with an exercise plan that was sufficiently challenging for growth, and was balanced with other responsibilities and demands.

Taking spiritual disciplines in this spirit, what do they look like for you in 2014? Instead of saying “what are my resolutions for 2014?” let’s just cast a picture of the practices you want to grow into in the coming year. It may not be perfect and it may take some effort and some experimentation to get it going. But we should all be exercised in our Christian walk and for the most part, it should be a delight.


Some Questions To Get You Going

  1. What does my time in God’s Word look like? For one, it may be learning the gospel of Mark, reading commentaries and studying the book for an hour or two each week. For another, it may be reading a short passage of Scripture daily very slowly out loud, letting it speak to the heart, and journaling about it. For another, it may be reading three pages in a Bible (without chapter/verse references) each night straight through.
  2. What does my time of prayer look like? For one, it may look like taking a set time at a certain special place each week such as a den or a chapel to pray over prayer lists. For another, it may be taking a walk at lunch twice a week to pray. For another, it may be a set series of prayers of devotion, surrender, and consecration prayed from the heart each morning while enjoying first light and a cup of coffee.
  3. What does my worship and contemplation of God look like? For one, it may be making use of worship or sacred music, focusing in on the words while one drives in the car. For another, it may be memorizing inspirational passages of Scriptures, Psalms, hymns or prayers and using these to set our heart on God. For another, it may be writing original hymns or poems about God to be prayed back to Him.
  4. What does my service to others look like? For one, it may be volunteering to meet a known service need in church or community. For another, it may be seeing a need and starting a ministry or responding with your family. For another, it may be anonymous gifts of kindness. For one, it may be being available to counsel, visit and encourage the downcast or dropping people a note in the mail. For another, it may be working with your hands, fixing or building things where others can’t.
  5. What does my repentance and confession before God look like? For one, it may be becoming more intentional of doing personal inventory, comparing one’s heart against the Ten Commandments or the Seven Deadly Sins (and seven Virtues) and asking God’s forgiveness with thanksgiving. For another, it may be honestly sharing one’s internal thoughts with a trusted spiritual mentor or director.
  6. What does my thought life look like? For one, it may be dealing with unchecked mental fantasies about food or sex by quickly turning to short prayers when these appear in the mind. For another, it may be dealing with a consistently angry or critical heart by reflecting on a gratitude list and asking for the grace to forgive.
  7. What do other areas of my spiritual growth look like? There are other areas not discussed such as evangelism, service on our jobs, shepherding and disciplining of others, parenting etc.

You're Response

How do you feel about your Christian spiritual practices and disciplines?

See results


Spiritual disciplines are a process. Trying to be the Michael Jordan of the prayer world will lead to frustration. However, if you just get things going, take a day at a time and are willing to refine - throwing away what doesn't work and emphasizing what does, this will be a good year for spiritual growth.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)