Ways to Build a Stronger Spiritual Life

Because we live in a culture that increasingly leans toward commercialism, materialism, and secularism, it is not always easy to keep the soul nourished.

The challenge of these days, when times are not hospitable to spiritual growth, is how to nurture, feed, heal, restore, and renew the soul. Here are some practical suggestions for building a stronger spiritual life:

Be a river, not a swamp. 
The Bible says: “Rivers of living water will flow from the heart of those who believe in me” (John 7:38,). Remember, it is the mountain stream that carries fresh, life-giving water because it flows out. However, the swamp is stagnant and life-devouring. A swamp collects and retains water that comes its way. Don’t be the kind of person who seeks to accumulate much before allowing a little to flow through.

As Christians we are to let blessings flow through us and on to others. When we hoard and dam the blessings in our lives we are in danger of becoming spiritually stagnant, emotionally detached, and intellectually cynical. Resolve to break up the dam and let blessings flow like a river. The freshness is in the flow.

 Be like Moses-speak words of blessing.
One of the most beautiful and compassionate passages in the Bible contains these words of blessing pronounced by Moses:

May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace
(Numbers 6:24-26).

Get creative with language, and speak words that will uplift, encourage, hearten, and bless other people. As you build them up, your own spirit will get stronger.

Nurture a shared prayer life.
Increase the amount of time you spend in prayer by sharing in prayer with others. Some ways to do this include:

Letting friends know you are always available for prayer.
Attending regularly held prayer groups.
Participating in a prayer chain.

Restore someone’s faith.
Today, make time to heal a wounded heart, to extend kindness to someone who really needs a friend, or to help gather up pieces of a broken dream. Today, do whatever you can to radiate God’s unconditional love.

 Be a grateful person.
Start every day with a morning prayer of gratitude to God for the gift of a new day. Do this even if the day ahead appears ominous. Conclude every day with an evening prayer of gratitude to God for the gift of the preceding hours. Do this even if you’ve had a very tough day.

Serve.
Look for ways to serve the community, especially tasks that promise no reward. John 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Read and reflect on the action of Jesus in John 13:1-5.

 Cultivate a little solitude.
“Solitude makes us tougher toward ourselves and tenderer toward others; in both ways it improves our character,” noted philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Spend some time away from the crowd and the noise of life. Set aside a few minutes to be alone-just you and God. In quietness we turn our minds away from the problems of life and fix our thoughts on the mind of God.

 Fast and pray.
Prayer linked with fasting was often done by people in the Bible. Ezra 8:23 reports: “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” The next time you are asked to pray urgently for someone in difficulty, consider combining your praying with some fasting.

Turn worries over to God.
This is a clear teaching of Scripture: “Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you” (Psalm 55:22). Do this each time a worry crops up.

Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit that I may always be holy-Saint Augustine.

(By: Victor M. Parachin)