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  • Debbie Salter Goodwin

Discovering Spiritual Rhythms


Spiritual rhythms help us grow spiritually. If I have a rhythm in place as a seamless part of my life, it helps me become more receptive to God’s whispers, warnings, and encouragement. This is why I love spiritual rhythms.


What life rhythms work for you? What rhythms move you through your day without having to think about them? I can think of a few: brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating a meal, starting the car. These activities have a memory path in our brains that take over without deliberate thought. We don’t refer to instructions on the toothpaste to brush our teeth or consult the car manual every time we need to start the car.


In the same way that repeated activities become daily rhythms, we need spiritual activities to accomplish the same momentum. They create space where we show up for God, often without an agenda, and we recognize how He shows up for us.

What activities can become spiritual rhythms? Times to pray. Devotional reading, Bible reading or study, Bible meditation, worship are some examples. For each, when there is an unquestioned, non-negotiable time set into your life, you do them. As soon as any of them become an option to “vote” on, they are no longer a spiritual rhythm for you. Then, they simply find a place on a list of things you do if you “want” to or if you feel you “have time for.”


I have a morning rhythm for my writing days with spiritual rhythms that move me into my day better than anything else I have ever done. I share it as an example, not as a model.

1. Devotional or spiritual reading,

5-10 minutes.

I work through a devotional book and sometimes add a spiritual formation book. The brief reading stays with me better.


2. Journaling,

5-10 minutes.

I use questions like: Where did God show up yesterday? Where are God’s arrows pointing today? What am I learning? What do I fear? Guided questions keep this from being simply a brain dump.


3. Bible reading,

5-10 minutes.

This year I picked a New Testament book and read 2-5 verses each day, slowly. Then, I read them again. Slow helps me see details and ask questions about what they say for my life.


4. Schedule and planning.

5 minutes

After I spend time with God, I look at schedule. It always gives a clearer perspective about priorities when I do this last.


I don’t think about these rhythms anymore. Everything I need for them is waiting for me where I sit to drink my first cup of coffee. The rhythm takes me from there.


Your rhythm doesn’t have to be as detailed or as long. It can be as simple as a waking-up prayer time with God before you get out of bed. You could connect your shower with prayer. You could leave a Bible open where you stop and read. Or do the same with a devotional book. Experiment until something sticks.


I believe in the importance of spiritual rhythms. They keep my heart devoted to God. They keep me open to Him. Once they are in place, I am more aware that God is always with me, always waiting for a conversation, always ready to encourage or counsel or re-direct me. I hear him more and listen better.


So what rhythms do you have? What rhythms are you interested in trying? Maybe we could help each other as we begin this New Year. Just think of one to start or emphasize. Keep it short. Keep it simple. God is already waiting to make good use of a new way He can reach you. Don’t miss what He wants to show you. And always remember . . .




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