Spiritual Practices To Sustain Us

Oct 12, 2016

The Simple Way began because a group of people were motivated by something deep within. The action they took was a direct response to what they witnessed, experienced, and believed about God and the world. And this is why we still exist twenty years later. Because people continue saying yes to the deep within and responding with their active lives.

This kind of living is at times tiring and heart wrenching. So it’s important to find spiritual practices that guide us back to the Holy within, the life force that both sustains us and motivates us.

This practice looks different for all of us. For some, it means praying, reading scriptures, and attending church, while others rely on nontraditional structures or notions of God.

Below are 14 ways we engage with our lives and the world around us while remaining connected to the Holy.

Collective Prayer

We gather weekly to pray. Sometimes we use the Common Book of prayer, and sometimes we just share what’s going on and pray together.


Whether we walk to work, to the park, or to intentionally be present, walking in the neighborhood gives us time and space to engage with neighbors, absorb the realities of our neighborhood, and hold our community to God. Our prayers become really visceral in this practice.


We coordinate meals every month, but we also invite others to sit with us and share a meal when we have extra.

Individual Prayer

Personal prayer takes different forms, such as centering prayer, breath prayer, lectio divina, imagination prayer, welcoming prayer, or praying in color.

Local Congregation Attendance

Joining a body of others seeking justice and God helps ground our work, while reminding us we are a small group in a large community of Jesus followers.


Each day, we care for our friends and neighbors. It may look like a bag of food, a sleeping bag, or helping with difficult paper work or a resume. This practice always begs us to slow down, pay attention, linger, listen, and to laugh.

Sacred Listening

Sacred conversations may require us to create space and listen more than we talk. They may invite us into awkward pauses, but there’s richness in the silence, in the presence, and in just being with each other.


Moving our bodies is important in our spiritual practice. We use the rhythms and movement of running, yoga, or kickboxing to notice our points of tension and to help us listen for what we most need.


Books and articles can offer us support, encouragement, and challenge. We read and discuss them together to help us practice critical thinking and to invite new voices into our lives, prayers, and practice.


Activity gets us out and doing things together: cleaning up the block, handing out food, helping people move. We are in places with other people, which invites listening, sharing, and memory making. We join vigils and protests to use our feet and our voices to fight injustice and to beg others to sit up and listen to the oppressed.

Appreciating Arts

Theater our kids write and perform, local art markets, and art exhibits use colors and images to connect us to God and to each other. We try to make space in our life and work for creativity, and we paint murals in our neighborhood to bring color and art to the dullness of brick and concrete.


We use silent, contemplative spaces to allow our gaze to turn inward and towards God.


We are intentional with our friends and neighbors, and we cultivate deeper relationships with the folks who’ve committed to our shared values and life here. These relationships give us stability and help us sustain our lives.


Growing is generative work that lets the gardener push her hands deep down in the soil as a reminder of work that happens in the dark. And when we enjoy the fruits of the labor, we revel in the greenness, the life, and the sustenance that comes.

Connecting to God and others is a constant practice of paying attention and engaging the world in different ways. These are some examples we have found to nurture and connect to the Spirit working deep within us. I hope they might encourage you or give you fresh ideas as you seek the Spirit’s working in your own life.


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