What Do You Practice?

I recently reviewed a book about daily practice (The Power of Daily Practice by Eric Maisel–Book Review).  Maybe you think you don’t have one.  The truth of the matter is, we all practice the things that are truly important to us.  For example, I love to read, and even if I don’t have time during a busy day, I read my book for a while in bed before I fall asleep. When my children were small I always read them a bedtime story, because reading is important to me, and I wanted them to share my love.  A while back, I became concerned because my blood sugar was inching toward the “prediabetic” range.  Staying healthy is a goal I have, so I took a class that encouraged me to count calories and exercise.  I’m still doing that.  These sorts of things are daily practices, and when we practice we form habits, and become more proficient in those things.

 

So, I’m asking our readers to think about the things they practice — if not daily, then regularly.  Is attending worship on your list?  Reading the Bible?  Prayer? Serving others?  If we are Christians, these things should be valuable to us, and we should be practicing.  If you are working or have young children, it may take some thought and discipline to fit them into your schedule, but it can be done.  After all, don’t we find time to prepare food and eat?  These things are our spiritual food and they are needed to nourish our soul and give our lives meaning.

Here are some suggestions I’ve learned from my own experience with establishing  a practice:

  • Start small.  If you have limited time, setting a goal that is too high will lead to frustration and quickly giving up.
  • Have a cue to remind you of your practice.  For example, I spend 10 minutes in prayer after I shower every day;  I read my devotional while I’m having my morning tea.
  • If you mess up, don’t give up.  Just start again tomorrow.

There are many rewards from having a daily or regular practice.  You’ll be healthier spiritually;  your faith will mature;  you’ll find you are accomplishing more for God, and maybe encouraging others!  Start one today!

For more on spiritual disciplines, see these posts:

Piety Part 1- by Jim Edgel

Prayer Disciplines Part 1

Lenten Discipline

 

The Power of Daily Practice by Eric Maisel–Book Review

You will probably disagree with the world view of this author (he espouses a contemporary philosophy called kirism).  However, in my opinion, there are still a couple of good reasons to read his book.

First of all, as Christians, most of us have, or hope to have a daily practice.  This could be prayer, meditation, reading the Bible, or journaling.  The general information given by Dr. Maisel about starting and maintaining a regular practice is quite helpful.  He begins with elements of practice;  things such as initiation, regularity, discipline, honesty, intensity, innovation, self-trust and completion.  The second section lists different types of daily practices;  creativity, recovery, performance, health and so on.  Some may not be of interest, but others will.  Finally, he enumerates the challenges we may face in sticking with a daily practice:  restlessness, conflict, lack of progress, personality, circumstances and more.  After each listing there are some questions to ponder.

The second reason to read this book is to get a taste of kirism, because it is exactly the kind of philosophy described in another book I reviewed recently (The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman–Book Review).  Here are some examples of what Dr. Maisel believes:

“… there is no single or singular purpose to life…”

 

“Meaning, rather than being something to search for … is in fact a sort of subjective psychological experience….”

 

“It is possible … to upgrade our personality and become our desired self.”

What a perfect description of “psychological man” and the type of “logic” that is now rife in our society.  It’s all about you.  You create your own meaning, and you can even create your perfect self.   It was fascinating to see this very clear illustration of Trueman’s analysis.

VERDICT:  3 Stars.  The information provided may help you develop and maintain a daily practice;  ignore the philosophy.