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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    ministries / Spiritual Life

    Spiritual Disciplines

    Spiritual disciplines are a means by which we ‘get away’ with Jesus, ‘walk’ with Jesus, ‘learn’ from Jesus. Spiritual disciplines are a way of placing ourselves before God so that God can transform us, so that we are on a path where change can occur. They enable us to recognize and be aware of God’s presence, to listen for God’s deep desire for us, and to find ourselves in that place where God is able to affect change in our lives. The word ‘discipline’ often has a negative connotation in our present culture, but it’s basic meaning is “to train by instruction and exercise”.  Athletes accept that discipline is essential to successful participation in a sport; it may not always be easy, but it is necessary. Practicing spiritual disciplines is not always easy either, but it is indeed necessary if we seek to ‘keep company’ with Jesus and to ‘recover the life’ God desires for each of us.

    The words spiritual disciplines and spiritual practices are often used interchangeably, but they are distinct. Spiritual practices make us better at spiritual disciplines.

    The traditional Christian disciplines include: Meditation, Prayer (which includes Listening), Fasting, Study, Simplicity, Solitude (and Silence), Submission, Service, Confession, Worship, Guidance (group and individual spiritual direction), Hospitality, and Celebration. 

    Videos of Spiritual Disciplines

    Click here to watch all the Spiritual Discipline videos, including:

    • Introduction to Spiritual Disciplines
    • Sacraments of Spiritual Discipline, Part 2
    • Sacraments of Spiritual Discipline, Part 1
    • True Service, Part 1
    • True Service, Part 2
    • The Sacraments as a Spiritual Discipline
    • The Spiritual Discipline of Study, Part 1
    • The Spiritual Discipline of Study, Part 2
    • The Spiritual Discipline of Worship, Part 1
    • The Spiritual Discipline of Worship, Part 2
    • Prayer, Part 1
    • Prayer, Part 2
    • Meditation
    • Lectio Divina Revisited
    • Simplicity, Part 1
    • Simplicity, Part 2
    • Spiritual Guidance, Part 1
    • Spiritual Guidance, Part 2
    • Fasting, Part 1
    • Fasting, Part 2
    • Confession, Part 1
    • Confession, Part 2
    • Solitude, Part 1
    • Celebration, Part 1
    • Celebration, Part 2

    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."