Holy Rhythms. I like the way this sounds. Something about it draws me in and kindles desire within me.
2020 was a year of distraction, isolation, political and racial turmoil that caused me to tether myself to the LORD more tightly. I noticed a deep desire growing in me for holiness and to reform my day and week into rhythms that would foster holiness. My wife, Serina, was experiencing the same thing and it became a topic of an ongoing conversation between us. So, we changed some of our spiritual rhythms and way of life, seeking to nurture holiness more intentionally. This led us to create more space in our day for silence and solitude, a deeper anchoring in God’s Word, new prayer and worship walks at a nearby river throughout the week, and even pulling back from social apps. These became holy rhythms that have kept us tethered to God and nurturing the holiness we longed for. We are taking these into 2021.
I was reading and reflecting on 1 Peter where he writes, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:13-16)
Peter uses the Greek word ‘hagion’ for holy, which means to be set apart BY God and FOR God, to partake in His holiness, and sacredness. The Holy One, Jesus, has set us apart BY His death and resurrection. We are called to then be set apart FOR God as we live, breathe and have our being in Him while living in the world, a world that Jesus said is evil, dark, and doesn’t know Him or the Father. Peter is inviting God’s people to live with awareness, anchored in the Truth and prayerful as a means to living into the holiness we are called to.
As I’ve met with countless Christian leaders, missionaries, nationals, and friends the past 20 years, I’ve heard over and again three rhythms that seem to have the biggest impact in forming holiness. Silence and Solitude. God’s Word. Prayer. A close friend once said, “I am closest to God and most my true self when I have sustained rhythms in these. When I drift, lag, or drop them, distance and my false self emerges.” This is also true for me.
In Silence and Solitude, we step away from the world, our busy schedules, and all the chaos that fills our hearts and minds. We allow the “dust” to settle so we are able to see and hear more clearly the voice and presence of God. We are able to see ourselves more quickly, too. A quiet soul is ready to hear God’s voice and have a meaningful conversation with Him.
How can you incorporate silence and solitude in this new year?
In reading God’s Word we anchor ourselves in the truth and strengthen our souls by meditating on Truth as a person (Jesus) and the words of truth He has given us. Our heart and mind are renewed, and we are ready to offer God’s words to others. The more anchored and formed we are, the more faith, hope, and love we authentically possess. God’s Word brings about solid footing and a peace the world cannot offer us.
How can you anchor yourself more deeply in God’s Word,
balancing study, reflection, and response?
In prayer, we listen for God’s voice and the needed words for the moment. We examine our heart before God, deal with the realities of what we see in ourselves (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and grow in self-awareness while discovering God’s presence is with us all day. The prayer of examen is especially helpful with this. In prayer, we make our requests known to God. We give thanks. We confess our sins. We share our deepest desires. We worship and adore Him.
What can you change to foster prayer in new, fresh,
and more meaningful ways each day and during your week?
Rhythms that bring us into a quiet awareness, God’s Word, and prayer are what ultimately ground us to move into the world missionally with life, grace, and truth.
As we begin 2021 it’s a good time to evaluate our daily and weekly rhythms. We may need to make some adjustments, develop new ones or simply remain intentional with the ones we have. I want to call us to consider incorporating these Holy Rhythms as well as others that are helpful, that we may be set apart for God, offering love, life, and liberation as Jesus did. This is our mission and it begins with God’s holiness being formed in us.
Spend some time prayerfully discerning what God is saying to you about your rhythms:
• How am I really doing in being holy as God is holy?
• Are the rhythms that I have fostering holiness? A life of grace and truth?
• What do I need to stop doing? What new rhythms do I need to begin?
By Chad Hollowell, Director of Member & Leader Development