|Lake Erie shoreline|
One of my former seminary students wrote me and said: "You may not remember me but I took your spiritual formation and I fell off the wagon in my daily prayer and meditation! Are there any words of wisdom on how you have been able to maintain your daily commitment!"
Here's how I've been able to maintain my commitment.
1. Forty-two years ago I was feeling tired and burned out in ministry. I read Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. I felt moved to carve out time to get alone with God and talk with Him and listen. So, I did.
2. To my surprise and delight, God powerfully and personally met me. God spoke to me, and I journaled like a mad person. This made me want to meet alone with God more.
3. A desire, a fire, was kindled in my heart. I chose to tend it, to keep it burning. So I continued regularly meeting with God.
4. I began to see God changing my heart. Most of this was slow growth. It was real, enduring progress in the spiritual life. My journal became a record of all that God was doing within me.
5. My ministry more and more became God ministering to and through me. Being a follower of Jesus began to look and feel different. I liked the feeling. I liked what I saw happening. I saw that this was all on the part of God, what God was doing within me. I found my worship increasing as I easily gave glory and credit to God for any good fruit produced in and through me.
6. As the months and years passed by a "holy habit" was formed in me. A new, living, neural pathway was created by God, through which his living waters of grace and love and power flowed. I did not, and have since not, wanted to stop meeting with God to experience him. I meet with God regularly because God has met with me and transformed my desires, experience, and knowledge.
7. I heard there was supposedly a sign on the Alaskan highway where the pavement turned to dirt. It read: "Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next hundred miles." I have chosen a good rut. I live in the groove, swim in the neural highway that flows from the throne of God.***
My two books are:
Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.
Leading the Presence-Driven Church.
I'm working on:
How God Changes the Human Heart
Technology and Spiritual Formation
Linda and I then plan to write our book on Relationships.