A List of Practical Spiritual Exercises


The Holy Spirit must begin our transformation at the level of our desire. But reading about this and understanding it is not enough. We must put our understanding into action. Similarly, if an athletic trainer explained the dynamics of human anatomy and how all of the training machines work, then tailored a training regime just for you, you would have useful knowledge to improve your health. But that knowledge alone would not change you. You need to use that knowledge to do the exercises the trainer prescribed for you.

Just as we must exercise our physical body to develop strength and maintain health, we must do specific exercises intended to reform, inform, and train our mind, desires, and will. These are the “must have,” required, no-exceptions exercises of spiritual growth. Enabled by divine power, they make our mind and will into the weapons Paul says we need to wage war against the strongholds of thought that control us and sinful desires, temptations, and spiritual enemies. What are these exercises?

  • Worshiping regularly with a covenant community of saints
  • Serving others through speaking and working in the name of Christ
  • Hearing, reading, and studying Scripture
  • Confessing sin and prayerful conversing with God
  • Submitting to authority
  • Practicing silence and solitude
  • Intentionally living a mission that includes helping others become disciples

Most of these exercises are not natural for us. It takes time for us to grow accustomed to them and make them into habits.

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This excerpt has been adapted from Conversion and Discipleship.

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