Weekly Practice

Each week we will seek to consider Jesus life and teaching on how we can take up his way of life — unhurried. We recommend you work through it with others, like your life group, with friends or as a family. You might gather for a weekly meal with friends or neighbors, your roommates, whatever works. Get a group of people, set a time each week to share a meal, then talk and pray for about an hour. Transformation happens in community.


Week One Teaching — The Unhurried Life (audio)

Slow Me Down — Robbie Seay Band
Take a few minutes this week and listen to this great track about slowing your life down!

Invitation to Silence & Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton
Our primary resource for the series which includes an introduction to the practice and simple exercises to help you try it!

**The content for this series is based on teaching and materials created by Bridgetown Church & John Mark Comer and the book Invitation to Silence and Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton.

Week 1: The Unhurried Life

Read this overview

In our over busy, digital, distracted world, the first challenge we face in silence and solitude is simply our lack of ability to slow down and focus. To “be ourselves with God,” we must first learn to center our mind and body.

The goal of week one is to first identify a time and place that works well for you to practice silence and solitude, set a modest goal, and then start with the basics: begin with a breathing prayer, and then just spend some time abiding.

It sounds easy, but, like all good things, it takes practice. So be patient with yourself and God, and enjoy the journey.

Begin with silence and prayer
5 min

Gather together as a LifeGroup, as a family or find time along in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Invite the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time. Then spend a few minutes in silence.

Why silence? Because we live in a busy, noisy world, under a non-stop assault of distraction. In the midst of all the chaos, it’s hard at times to hear the voice of God, and that of our brothers and sisters. Even when we gather, we want to wait and hear what the Father is saying to and through each of us, and respond in turn. A great way to do that is to begin each time with silence and prayer.

Debrief the teaching in small groups
20 min

If you are in a Lifegroup of seven or more, divide into small groups of 3–4 people each (ideally same gender).

Spend a few minutes catching up on life…Then talk through the following debrief questions:

  1. Did you listen to the week one teaching on The Unhurried Life? What did you think?
    (If not, take some time to listen this week on iTunes or via ApostlesHouston.org/sermons)

  2. Do you feel like busyness and distraction are impacting your ability to follow Jesus? If yes, what would it look and feel like to slow down? (Note: The point of this question is honest conversation, not guilt or shame.)

  3. Why do you think we are so resistant to the idea of “slowing down”?

For groups/families — Is there a time when God said or did in you life through an experience with silence and solitude? Share it with the group/family.

Open to the Bible together
10 min

Read Matthew 11:28-30 and talk about the following questions:

  1. Who is Jesus talking to in these verses? What does Jesus assume about his listeners?

  2. Eugene Peterson’s paraphrases Jesus words in Matthew 11 as “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.? Can you identify with this? What are symptoms that this might be true in your life?

  3. Why does Jesus use the image of a yoke as an invitation to rest? What does it mean to be yoked to Jesus? How would that give rest?

Discuss/consider this week’s practices
25 min

Again, Eugene Peterson paraphrases Jesus invitation by saying, “Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”  If we want to experience the life Jesus is offering, we need to take up the lifestyle of Jesus. 

With these practice we wanted to establish practices or disciplines in our life that will help us slow down enough to be spiritually healthy and to become more aware of God’s presence.

Consider/discuss the following practices that could help you slow down your life. If you were to pick one to start with, which one would you choose and why? Which would be the hardest for you and why?

Practice Sabbath — Set aside one day a week just to be not to do. Consider turning off your phone, don’t check your texts, don’t email, don’t do any work. Read, sleep, pray, play, eat, be with family, be with friends, do what is life-giving for you.

Fixed Hour Prayer — Set aside a few times a day to sit still and pray. It’s the same idea as Sabbath, built it speed bumps. It doesn’t need to be long. A few minutes of quiet prayer in the morning before anyone else is up. A few minutes in the afternoon. And a few minutes at night. You can use a simple prayer like, “Lord you are here with me, help me to be here with you.” And just sit and wait. Practice Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Schedule an ideal week - This is where you take a blank weekly calendar and you schedule out what an ideal week would look like — work, rest, play, LifeGroup, worship, prayer, family, etc.  And your aim is to make sure you weekly schedule matches up with your values and priorities. And sure things come up and no week is ideal, but it’s your aim to follow this ideal schedule and it can help you say yes and no to different things.

Simplify your life — The aim is to strip your whole life down to what really matters.  Start with money and possessions and eliminate clutter, extra stuff, clothes, shoes, toys.  Then you do the same thing with your activities - subscriptions you don’t need or use, do I really need Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime and cable tv?  You get life down to the core of what really makes life with Jesus life to the full and go all in on those things. 

Slow down your life — Find little ways to try doing this and be creative. Here are some ideas to get you going and that you might want to try:

  • Drive the speed limit (but not on the freeway you’ll get hit)

  • Come to a complete stop at a stop sign

  • Arrive 10 minutes early and don’t take out your phone

  • Go for a walk, not for exercise but just for a “stroll”

  • Practice the ancient spiritual discipline of “single-tasking” - this is from way back in the early 90s. You only do one thing at a time. So don’t watch tv, check twitter, and catch up with your spouse while eating dinner. 

  • Journal - get your thoughts down on paper

  • Turn your smartphone into a dumb phone - there is an app for this that actually just turns your phone into a phone

  • Spend time reading 

  • Make a meal with someone

  • Turn off music and podcasts in the car

10 min

Spend some time praying for one another and for our community!