Working out your Way of Life
Working out your own Way of Life can help you to be more intentional about your spiritual growth - if you really want it to happen, you'll take steps to ensure that it does.
If a Way of Life is to make a difference to our lives, then it needs to be:
- Specific - How? When? Where? With whom?
- Practical - What help or resources will I need?
- Realistic - Don't take on too much or set impossible goals. Develop a pattern that is achievable.
To help you shape your Way of Life, here are some tools you might wish to explore.
These are two different ways to get started. See which of these might suit you best: -
- Do a stocktake of how you live your life now. This will help you to see where any gaps are, and any areas which might benefit from more attention. Download the simple questionnaire here, created by Alan Hargrave (formerly Canon Missioner of Ely Cathedral).
- Many people find it helpful to do a review of the day, week, month or even year. One method of doing this is the Examen, an exercise developed by the Jesuit order. For a straightforward explanation of how to use this tool, follow this link.
Some people feel the need to face up to the ways in which they have fallen short of what God wishes for them, and to be assured of God's forgiveness. As well as the general confession and absolution in the service of Holy Communion (the Eucharist), it's also possible to have a private confession and absolution (also called the ministry of reconciliation) for those who seek it. If you feel you would like this, please speak to your parish clergy, or to a duty chaplain at the Cathedral (10am-4pm in summer months only).
When taking a new path or commitment of some sort, it often helps to have companions who will guide and encourage you along the way. Spiritual direction/accompaniment/prayer partners can be arranged. Follow this link to see details of support available within the diocese.
Growing as a Disciple is 10-week course which includes an introduction to the bible and is run in various venues across the diocese throughout the year. Follow this link for more details.
Think about planned giving maybe even tithing your disposable income giving to church and to charity. See hereand here for more details.
Developing your prayer life
How, where and when do you pray? The national Church of England website has some suggestions if you're just starting out with prayer. What works best for you? Can you commit to making time to pray regularly? The diocesan website has resources to help you. Think of prayer in different ways: alone, with others, in church services, in silence, on prayer walks, imaginative contemplation, quiet days and retreats, arrow prayers, practising the presence of God (the text of Brother Lawrence's book is available here), Dwelling in the Word. Daily prayer apps include those from the Church of England, the Northumbria Community, JustPray, Sacred Space, etc.
Developing your Bible study
If your church has a bible study group, think about joining it (or if it doesn't, think about starting one!). There are lots of resources available for bible study groups. Or if you are not able to get to a group, you could use one of the range of apps now available, such as those from the Bible Reading Fellowship.
These books which you may find helpful in shaping your Way of Life:
- Alan Hargrave, Living Well: finding a "Rule of Life" to revitalize and sustain us. SPCK, 2010
- David F Ford, The shape of living. Fount, 1997
- Examples of groups or communities which have developed a similar rule of life:-
- Ely Cursillo
- British Anglican Cursillo Council
- Northumbria Community
- Iona Community
- the Community of St Etheldreda (in the Diocese of Ely)
- Third Order of the Society of St Francis (aka Franciscan Tertiaries)