THEME: Finding a Rhythm
BREATH PRAYER: Jesus, help me slow down and experience Your goodness
- In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
- Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
- Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
- Read these words slowly (aloud or silently):
“The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.”
Pray this week’s breath prayer and pause for a few moments of silence.
To keep the Sabbath holy is to set this day apart from all others in your week. It is a gift the Lord has given us to slow down, rest, renew our spirits, and recognize His work in our lives.
A critical component of Sabbath is stopping. That’s a 100% word. By definition, you can’t “stop” but still keep going a little bit. Think through specific activities you normally engage in that are tiresome or stress-inducing for you, including (but not limited to) your weekday job, house or school work, preparing meals, difficult conversations or personal interactions, and general hurriedness.
Simply “stopping” without doing the work of preparation can be foolish or even dangerous, so the practice of a holy Sabbath involves prayerful preparation. Sabbath preparation involves thinking through how you’ll resist the temptation to produce: leaving your computer off, completing homework or projects in advance, cleaning the house and preparing meals ahead of time, telling other people you’ll be unavailable that day.
Today, we will make a plan that will enable us to experience a future Sabbath in all of its fullness.
- To begin, consider your schedule for the next few days and choose a day to set apart for a Sabbath rest. Ideally, choose a full 24 hours. Write down your Sabbath day in your journal, and ask the Lord to help you honor that day and keep it holy.
- Ask the Lord to bring to mind anything else He would have you stop doing on your Sabbath. In your journal, make a list of things that you intend to stop doing for your Sabbath.
- Review the list you just made, and write down any things you might need to do ahead of time that will enable you to be free from doing these things on your Sabbath. For instance, if you are going to stop doing dishes on your Sabbath, you may want to have all dishes clean and your dishwasher emptied by the time you go to bed before your Sabbath.
Resting on the Sabbath means we not only stop doing these things, we stop worrying about them, too. If it makes you anxious to stop working or producing for a full day, consider what compels you.
- Review your “stop doing list” one more time. What are you afraid might happen if you take a day off? Take these concerns to the Lord, writing about them in your journal.
- A significant aspect of Sabbath is planning space to rest. What might you do on your Sabbath that would be restful and refreshing? Think through activities that encourage you to slow down, such as a nap or an early bedtime. Also think through things which involve “active rest,” activities that bring you joy, peace, and life. For some, this could be gardening or hiking, for others it might be reading or riding a bike. What could you do during your Sabbath that might bring you rest? Write those items down in your journal.
- The Sabbath is a gift, and gifts are delightful. They are opportunities to take delight in the life God has already given us, rather than working toward something “better” in the future. Is there anything you could do during your Sabbath that would help you enjoy your life as it is today? Perhaps spending time with a friend or family member, enjoying quiet time in your house or in a public park, etc. What could you do that would help you enjoy the gifts God has given you? Write those “delights” in your journal.
- Finally, Sabbath is an important time to contemplate, simply paying attention to where God is at work around us. Is there anything you could do to notice and welcome God’s presence in your Sabbath rest? Perhaps a moment of prayer in the morning, or lighting a candle to mark the beginning of the evening. Is there anything special you could do to set this day apart as holy and different from normal? Write those items in your journal.
- If there are any activities that you want to be part of your Sabbath, think through any preparation that is required, and make a short list of how and when to prepare.
Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) about the experience of preparing for your Sabbath.
Closing: Thank the Lord for the gift of the Sabbath. Ask for His help in resting from your labors and keeping the day holy. Jesus, help me slow down and experience Your goodness.