Maybe it’s all the back-to-school ads and articles, but August always feels like a fresh start to me. It’s the perfect time for reflection and resolution, even better than January. When it’s too hot to go outside, and you have lots of new shiny school supplies to organize — it just makes sense to jot down some goals for the new school year.
So let’s apply this same freshness to our spiritual lives. I don’t know about you, but summer isn’t great for my prayer time. Sleeping in and having fun usually take their toll on my spiritual self-discipline. But the fresh-start theory says that I can jump right in, right now.
1. Set your Bible somewhere visible. You’ll read it more if it’s not buried under last semester’s notes. Try to read a little every day, even just a passage or two.
2. Buy a Blank Journal. This will be your prayer journal for the year. Now we’re not going to be legalistic — if you don’t write in this thing every day you will not lose your salvation. No guilt! But keep it somewhere handy, and jot down a few prayers to God every now and then. Throw in some useful Bible verses. Maybe a quote you heard that really stuck with you. Don’t put pressure on yourself — you don’t need to write a novel. Sometimes even a list will do. “what I’m thankful for.” “What worries me today.” etc.
3. Buy or borrow a good Christian book. I know, you don’t have time to journal, read your Bible, and keep up with classes, much less read another book. But sometimes a new perspective is all you need to keep focused on God, and His work in your life. And remember, this is fun reading! No need to pull out the highlighter and index cards. Feel free to skim if you like — there won’t be an exam. Some of my favorites are: The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, and The Power of Positive Thinkingby Norman Vincent Peale. You could also check out my new book, The College Precipice (a shameless plug, but I had to do it anyway!).
4. Invite a friend to church with you. And if you haven’t been going to church, maybe ask if you can go along with a friend who does. Talk about the service afterwards. Talk about God. Bounce big spiritual ideas around.
So there you have it — my spiritual back-to-school list. I pray that God will bless you with an exciting spiritual life this year, as you make the effort to know Him better.
“Every man has two journeys to make through life. There is the outer journey, with its various incidents and the milestones… There is also an inner journey, a spiritual Odyssey, with a secret history of its own.” – William Ralph Inge