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Shared Practices

An unpracticed faith eventually withers and dies, while a faith cultivated by Spirit-led practices blossoms into life. Shared Practices provide us with the spiritual means to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) together.

We desire to be whole-life disciples transformed by the way of Jesus. This goes beyond just knowing about Jesus and participating in a few church activities a month. Our heart at City Church is that every single aspect of our lives would be surrendered to the will of God, not our own, and that we would trust his vision for living well.

Jesus declared, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” In other words, with everything! Christ graciously redeemed us from sin on the cross and freed us to do just that. And by his life, he provided the perfect example of living in full submission to the Father. From solitude to Sabbath to prayer, he was always intentionally creating space to abide with the Father.

In these Shared Practices, we follow his way, his rhythms, making space for the renewing presence of God. Some of these simple practices will help us resist specific temptations and distractions while others will encourage us to engage our loving God, to take off sin and put on Christ (Romans 13:14). By practicing these together, we create a community of encouragement and accountability that is ideal for faith to grow deep roots and bear good fruit. Prayerfully join our pursuit of God through these Shared Practices.

Week 1: Scripture Before Screens

August 16-22

 

 

What?
Before opening a phone or computer, open and read the Word of God.

Why?
Refusing to check the phone until after reading a passage of Scripture is a way of replacing the question “What do I need to do today?” with a better one, “Who am I and who am I becoming?” Daily immersion in the Scriptures resists the anxiety of emails, the outrage of news, and the envy of social media. Instead, it exposes our sin, reveals our Savior, and forms us daily in our true identity as children of the King, dearly loved. (The Common Rule, adapted)

How?
Consider following a daily Bible reading plan. We have created a resource for you through Dwell if you do not already have a daily reading plan. If you’re new to this practice, you can also begin by reading a daily Psalm or just a chapter from the Old or New Testament.

Commit with another person to practice this discipline and hold each other accountable.

Week 2: Gather with Others for Worship

August 23-29

 

 

What?
Gather with a small group of friends or family on Sunday to sing, listen to the sermon, and pray together.

Why?
Our culture already tends to turn spirituality into a private matter, and the unfortunate nature of the current pandemic only heightens that problem. But God saves not just individuals but a “people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9); he calls us into a worshipping fellowship. Gathering to worship, responsibly and safely, fights our self-centered tendencies and binds us together on mission to glorify God with our whole lives.

How?
If you cannot or feel uncomfortable joining us at our in-person services consider gathering a couple friends or small group to engage with and participate in our online service.

Week 3: Kneeling Prayer

August 30-September 5

 

 

What?
Kneel three times a day — morning, noon, and night — to pray.

Why?
Words shape the world. Even small, repeated words have power. Regular, carefully placed prayer is one of the keystone habits of spiritual formation, growing our relationship with our Lord. By framing our day in the words of prayer, we submit our anxieties and desires to God and frame the day in love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (The Common Rule, adapted)

How?
When you first wake up, in the middle of the day, and before going to bed, kneel as an act of submission to God and offer a prayer. Pray a prayer, short or long, that frames that time of day.

For example,

  • Morning – Submit your day to the Lord and ask for his grace.
  • Midday – Pray for enduring faithfulness that you might glorify him always.
  • Evening – Thank the Lord for his provision and steadfast love.

Week 4: One Day Without Media

September 6-12

 

 

What?
For one day, refrain from all non-essential applications, including social media, sports, news, and shopping.

Why?
Scrolling, on any digital platform, rewires us to crave connectivity, the urge to place ourselves in the middle of all that is going on. But our mind becomes a landfill of mess, and we lose ourselves to anxiety, envy, and distraction, drowning out the voice of the Lord. Abstaining from media, reminds us that the world does not revolve around us but that the Lord holds all things together. By disconnecting from the noise, we are better positioned to connect to God.

How?
Set reminders on your phone the night before and the morning of. If needed, go into your phone’s settings and manually pause non-essential apps for the day. When you find yourself wanting to scroll, pray instead. Thank God that he governs the world by his own power, and ask that he align your heart with his.

Commit with another person to practice this discipline. Ask your partner to text you at the beginning of the day to remind you about your practice and a follow up text at the end.