In the second blog of the series the Four “R’s” of Ministerial Self-Care, we take a look at the need for Spiritual Renewal…
When are you being spiritually renewed? How are you being renewed? Are you utilizing all the resources available to you for renewal?
Psalm 42:1-2(a) (NLT) – “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God…”
Isaiah 40:31-32 (NLT) – “Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
It doesn’t matter how long you have been in ministry or at which levels you have served, ministry is foremost a function of service to, for, and with God. This means that the presence of God is a must for the work we do. And while this may seem like common sense or a no-brainer, if many of us took an honest inventory of our days we would see that spiritual renewal is not so common.
Regular spiritual renewal is a must. We need the Holy Spirit to pour back into us after we have spent time pouring out into others. You can’t draw water from an empty well. And this is more than merely reading and praying as we prepare our weekly sermons. This is encountering God for ourselves first, and then also for others.
When I was growing up in church we learned a song that goes, “If you read your bible and pray every day you will grow, grow, grow. If you don’t read your bible and pray every day you will shrink, shrink, shrink.” Well there is more to being with Jesus and being renewed by the Holy Spirit than praying and reading our bibles. That is not to say those spiritual disciplines should be neglected at all, but there are many other spiritual practices that may appeal to us during various seasons in our lives and help us based on our personalities and what God is trying to speak to us.
Here are a few other ideas:
- Sitting silently and soaking in worship music. Allowing your spirit to be flooded with praise.
- Sitting silently with no sounds whatsoever. Just allowing yourself to be stilled and renewed by the silence where the still, small voice of God resounds.
- Listening to podcasts of other preachers, particularly preachers from denominations different than you as you shower or drive to the office. This will stretch and challenge you and pour the proclaimed word of God back into you, which we all need.
- Take regular retreats away. Did you know there are a number of retreat centers here in the Houston area that for as little as $20 a day they will give you a room, feed you, and let you stay overnight to walk, pray, rest, be ministered to, and other things?
- Trying drawing or writing out your prayers. Sometimes words and images can help us engage our emotions and the deeper places of our spirit than talking can. Grab a sketchbook or a journal and a pencil or some markers and see what happens.
- Try breath prayers. Breath in the name of Jesus and out your worries and concerns.
- Schedule reading time that has nothing to do with the sermon you are preparing for that week.
The point is that there are a number of ways we may not be accustomed to being renewed that are available to us but that we might find value in using to experience God deeply and differently.
We also need to schedule these times of renewal just like we schedule times of rest. Treat them as an appointment and don’t let them get interrupted.
At the end of the day we must be people who pray and read the scriptures, but also see what other disciplines we might want to use. The benefits will be innumerable for you, the ones you love, and the ones you serve. A deep and rich relationship with out loving God cannot help but spill out into all the other areas of our lives.