With Challenge Your Soul going on this month, I wanted to make sure I got out at least one article on spiritual health. Spiritual health is an aspect of our health that can seem so distant from us at hectic times in life, but, when we really stop to think about it, we realize it truly is the core of life! Our purpose, our ultimate life goals, our morals and values, and the person who we want to be remembered for all fall into the category of spiritual health.
I am a Christian, and so my spiritual health involves connecting with God on a daily basis to stay aligned with his desires for my life. For those of you who don’t have faith, religion, or a belief in a higher power, this article can be insight to what prayer life looks like if you’ve never examined what a relationship with a higher power might look like. For those of you who do have faith, religion, or a belief in a higher power, my hope is that this technique and the examples I provide may provide you with a few insights or snippets that you may be able to utilize in your own spiritual life. Now, there are so many subjects and techniques I could have chosen and so many that I haven’t heard of before, so please share any insights you have below in the comments to help strengthen others’ prayer life (or spiritual practices in general) as well!
I make a habit of connecting with God on a daily basis, at least once. I make it my goal to walk with him as readily as I possibly can with the goal of living life as if God were constantly by my side (a tough goal to attain, but I will keep relying on him to help me attain this!). When I have more time and ability to focus, I like to break my prayer down into four categories. The acrostic used for these categories is ACTS. A- Adoration, C- Confession, T- Thanksgiving, S- Supplication. I find that if I separate my prayer into these categories, it helps me to organize my thoughts a lot better, and it also ensures that I won’t forget things that I want to incorporate in my prayer. This acrostic is used in many different Christian circles and is modeled after the Lord’s Prayer. I’ll briefly outline what each category entails as well as give examples of different subjects you may want to personally explore in each section.
A- Adoration: Take time to truly appreciate the amazing being that God is. Honor the fact that he made everything you see, touch, smell, hear, and… are! Revel at how he created us to live a life that is perfectly completed with him by our side. Worship in awe for the feelings, the experiences, the people, the sites, the wonders, and our surroundings in general that are all from our maker. Every cell and microscopic atom that compose life were formed by him. Every cloud, storm system, mountain range, and planet are his works as well. We can’t even begin to understand him because we are limited to our knowledge of this world and how things work on earth. The dimensions we know and the way things work are not limitations that God has to work under. He knows and created each unique human being that has ever walked this earth and knows every thought that ever went through their head. We are so small and limited compared to him! And he is a good God, too. He does not wish hardship on us or bestow it upon us himself, rather he makes good out of the bad and offers his guiding hand as a lifeline for us to move through it. And the best thing of all that you can take the time to praise him for is sending his holy son to earth. Not only did he send him to die for us, but to walk an entire life in a human’s shoes just to be an example that we can more readily follow. And, when he did die, he rose again to ensure eternal life for each of us. He loved us that much! Just take the time to praise God for all that he is and does for us.
C- Confession:God already knows what your sins are, but confessing them to him helps you to reflect upon these sins, to learn from them, to receive God’s forgiveness, and to move past them, guilt-free. Consider making a go-to list of things that you are trying to improve that you can review during this portion of the prayer. It might be impatience, worry, and comparing to others. Or it could be stress, lack of follow through, and lashing out. Whatever your vices, re-visit them in some way. In confession, don’t hold back anything. God knows what is in your heart; you can’t fool him. Use this time to really examine what you’d like to change and what you know you’ve done wrong. Heal from these mistakes and form a plan, with God’s help, for how to move forward in correcting them and not making them over and over again. Overall, ask for forgiveness and receive it. Feel the weight being lifted off of your shoulders!
T- Thanksgiving: Then, move on to thank God for this forgiveness. Thank him for guiding you back to him and reconnecting with you. Thank him for his son’s death and resurrection that erases all of your wrongs and gives you the hope of eternal life as a focal point of life! Thank him for your family, health, financial stability, job, transportation, security, home, clothing, food, clean water, plumbing, electricity, technology, conveniences that some only dream of, support system, hope for the future, joy, love, literature, entertainment, music, your church, his word to study, pastors and good influences in our world, peace in our country, and, ultimately, for walking by our sides every step we take in life!
S- Supplication: Here is the part of the prayer where you ask God for things. This part of prayer can often trip us up because asking for what we want may not be what God wants for us. Some see this as God not answering our prayer, but he answers all prayers, it just may not always be in the way we want him to. In these instances, trust that he knows what’s best. He may not give us what we want because he’s trying to teach us a lesson, save us from something, or give us something even better!
A few things you can focus on in this portion of prayer include: asking to be a beacon to others, pointing them to God, ask to be all you can to those in your life and to help them in the ways they need, ask that you may see what God wants you to learn from them as well, ask for help in guarding your heart, soul, and mind, ask for help in transforming your thought process so you can readily seek God’s help and guidance in every moment possible throughout the day, ask for calm, positivity, reassurance that God is there, empathy, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Ask for help in living for God rather than man, for following where he leads you and keeping an open mind, for bringing glory to him in how you treat and take care of your body, for living life with passion, wisdom, and courage in him. Ask for specifics that are on your heart and add “if it be your will, and, if not, help me to see what your will is and to follow it and learn from it”. Also pray for others in your life. Have a list that you can revisit and reassess each day to add thanksgiving or change as their lives and needs change. Overall, ask for God not to grant wishes, but to fulfill his purpose and for you to see and accept the good he intends with it.
Prayer is a powerful tool that connects us to God. It strengthens our relationship with him, it brings us peace, and it brings his loving hand into others’ lives as well. Praying with other believers, in congregation at church, or in groups of any number is powerful as well. Incorporate this as often as you are able! But, as an individual, try to connect with God in a deep, meditative, and focused time at least once a day. But, also, connect with him as often as you can throughout the day. Make a habit of informally praying and having conversation with him in every situation you can. He has a sense of humor! I can think of several times I have talked to him, and he’s answered my prayers readily in funny ways through the lyrics of a song, my daughter’s words, or a happenstance of some sort. He is a great God to be in relationship with… he created you and knows you better than anyone else! Find fulfillment and peace in his love as often as you can. This is how human beings were created to live!
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss: The Science of Losing Weight and December’s Challenge: Social Media Blackout!
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Challenge Your Soul is November’s challenge! If you are joining me, I hope you are enjoying improving your spiritual health and aligning your daily life more closely with your ultimate purpose.
December’s challenge is going to be: Social Media Blackout! I may get out my last blog on weight loss, but otherwise, will be restarting challenges and more blog posts in the new year. I hope you all have a happy and safe holiday season!
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi