Sometimes, someone who is seeking God is struck at once and is forever convicted that God is God, that Jesus’ presence saves, that the Holy Spirit is available for comfort and guidance. Sometimes, someone’s faith is fixed in an instant, and then does not waiver.
For many of us, we must practice seeking God, practice relying on the teachings and life of Jesus, and practice relying on Spirit to lead us, moment by moment and day by day. Many of us can’t remember to pray between Sundays, but we want to pray. We don’t find time for kindness or mercy, but we’d like to think that’s the kind of people we are meant to be. We forget that receptiveness for Spirit is often tied to generosity of hand and heart.
At Hope Central Church, we have many spiritual practices, for the opening of our eyes, for the melting of our hearts, for the growing of our faith – for the accretion of experience that leads to enlightenment that may, if we are lucky, lead to belief, to ultimate meaning, to union with the Divine.
This page is devoted to those practices – to daily devotions, acts of mercy, and helpful resources so that we may grow in spiritual depth.
- Pray daily by making requests of God or praising God. Pray for yourself and others. Pray using words and gestures that make sense to you. Pray by shouting at God. Pray by sitting still and doing nothing. Pray by reading a Psalm and imagining the words are your words. Try to say God’s name as many times a day as you can. Pray in the shower or on your way to work, while singing to a child, or while putzing in the garden. Pray by walking or painting or singing or journaling or doing the dishes, imagine the activity as divine.
- Sing alone or with people, or drum.
- Do yoga. Get a massage and thank God for your body and other bodies.
- Write in a journal for 10 minutes or for 3 pages everyday.
- Make a gratitude list.
- Give your time away to someone who needs you.
- Give yourself some time because you need you.
- Give money away.
- See a spiritual director.
- Read scripture daily. Read something that is interesting to you, comforting, something that makes you mad, or follow a daily lectionary.
- Read poetry, Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Nikki Giovanni, Howard Thurman, Rumi, Hafitz. Google them, you’ll find whose poetry are prayers for you.
- Ask a child whom you trust about God.
- Learn to notice systems that offer death, and change them by challenging the system. Interfere with racism, classism, homophobia daily.
- Turn everything over to God (and community) that can’t be managed by you.
- Give yourself to the 12 step program that you need.
- Dare to be willing to be well.
- Teach Sunday School.
- Come to church, not because you’re expected, but spiritual knowledge and health accrues.
- Daily devotions from The United Church of Christ that are sometimes funny, always progressive, are often what is needed for the day.
- Pray the News.
- Subscribe to daily devotions from Fr. Richard Rohr. Rohr is a Franciscan priest, author, and mystic at the Center for Contemplation and Action.
Bibles and Books
For our public worship, our congregation uses inclusive language translations of the Bible:
- The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version, based on the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Oxford University Press, USA, 1995
- The Inclusive Bible: the first egalitarian Bible, Priests for Equality, Rowman and Little Field, Lanham, Maryland, 2007
- The Message, the Bible idiomatically translated by Eugene Peterson is vibrant and readable, NavPress, 2002.
- The Jewish Annotated New Testament, Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Z. Brettler, editors, Oxford University Press, 2011.
- The Complete Psalms: The Book of Prayer Songs in a New Translation, Pamela Greenberg, Bloomsbury USA, 2010
- The Book of Psalms, Robert Alter, W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.
- Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms, Norman Fischer, Viking Adult, 2002.
Books of Devotions:
- People’s Companion to the Breviary, Vol. 1 and 2, Carmelites of Indianapolis, 1997.
- Feasting on the Word’s Daily Feast, Year C, Kathleen Long Bostrom, Elizabeth F. Caldwell, Jana Riess, Westminster/John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.
- The Divine Hours, pocket edition, by Phyllis Tickle, Oxford University Press, New York, 2007.
- Prayer, a History, Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 2005.
- A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Karen Armstrong, Ballantine Books, 1993.