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3 Practices to Follow Jesus and Cultivate Love

If you are curious about the spiritual life, and about following Jesus, here are three practices that can help you begin or deepen that journey:

  1. Lectio Divina.
    This is the practice of the slow, prayerful reading of short passages from the Bible. I would start with stories from the gospels and read a few verses slowly three times. The first time you read the passage, ask God to help you pay attention to one word or phrase. Then, after the second reading, ask the Spirit to reveal why that phrase stood out. Finally, on the third reading, ask how you can respond to it. Here are a few passages you can refer to as a start: any short portion of Matthew 5-7, Matthew 11:28-30, any portion of Luke 5, any portion of John 13-17.

  2. Silent Prayer.
    Silent prayer can be exactly that—simply sitting in silence in the presence of God. There are people who do this for twenty minutes, thirty minutes, an hour at a time. To be honest, that’s nearly impossible for me. My mind races to a gazillion other places and I get antsy and annoyed by my own distractibility really easily. So, if you are like me and the thought of sitting in silent prayer feels nearly impossible, you can also try to imagine yourself in the presence of Jesus for a very short period of time. Three minutes. Five minutes. Or you can take one word or phrase—Father, Peace, Savior, Be Still, Rest—and return to that word over and over again. And remember that every time your mind wanders from that image or word or phrase, you are invited to return to Jesus yet again. 

  3. Rest.
    Many Jews and Christians throughout history have observed the Sabbath, a 24-hour time of rest. For some of us, this feels impossible. But what about an hour? What about taking an hour on a Sunday afternoon and turning off all your devices and forgoing any sort of work and just delighting in the presence of God?

Jesus invites all of us to come and follow him. These three practices are all ways for us to take him up on that offer and make ourselves available to love.

More with Amy Julia:

S4 E4 | Spiritual Practices That Heal with Rich Villodas
S7 E2 | Anxiety: A Doorway to Your Best Self? with Curtis Chang
12 Tips | How to Start Reading the Bible

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