The Deeply Formed Life

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


“Contemplative Rhythms”

In these devotionals, we’ll explore five values in which we need to be deeply formed: (1) contemplative rhythms; (2) racial reconciliation; (3) interior examination; (4) sexual wholeness; and (5) missional presence. 

First, in the face of our present-day crisis of speed, distraction, and superficial spirituality, we need to know there is a way that has been tried and tested through the centuries. It’s the way of the monastic, contemplative life.

The Bible is replete with examples of people who lived a life shaped by solitude, silence, and a slowed-down spirituality. Today, let us consider Jesus.

Our Lord cannot be truth­fully understood apart from his deep commitment to a monastic kind of life. Jesus was regularly active in preach­ing, healing, casting out demons, and far more; but his life would be self-contradicting apart from the long hours spent with the Father in silence and solitude. One could make a strong case that the fully human Jesus was able to live the life he did because of the constant time and en­ergy put into being with the Father in prayer.

Over and over in the Gospels, Jesus conveys the power of God, and then he returns to be in communion with the God from whom that power flows.

Isn’t this what you yearn for? Aren’t you tired of living at a pace that blurs out beauty, peace, or joy? The speed we live at does violence against our souls. The inner and outer distractions mini­mize the capacity for us to see God’s activity around and within us.

Yet God is committed to our transformation. He is not in the business of simply improving our lives; he wants to infuse them with his life. Every day, he moves toward us in love, reaching, seeking, and pleading with us to pay attention. This is the essence of contemplative rhythms—the goal of monastic life. 

We have to open ourselves to God’s way of being; that is, we have to leave but enter back in through another way. Like the apostle Paul said, we are invited to “live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, msg). 

Go off by yourself to a quiet place for a minimum of one hour, spending that time in silent prayer and listening to God.