Podcast 23: Rhythm of Life

podcast rhythm of life rule of life spiritual disciplines spiritual practices unhurried living Nov 12, 2017

Alan and Gem discuss developing a personal rhythm of life. It’s a practice they both have worked on over the years in their own spiritual journeys.

In fact, the ideas shared grow out of a training piece Alan has shared with hundreds of leaders over the years. It’s one of the ways we can rise up out of the hurried and compacted world in which we live into a place of greater perspective and freedom.

That’s always one of the ironies of freedom: It is not really something you can pursue directly. Freedom is the indirect fruit of discipline.

Below the Podcast Player you will find links to the books, apps, questions and rhythms of life they mentioned in the podcast.

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Crafting a Rule of Life, by Stephen Macchia
Sacred Rhythms, by Ruth Haley Barton
Soul Feast, by Marjorie Thompson
Spiritual Discipline's Handbook, by Adele Calhoun


Clear App (Gem creates Categories using "Lists" and then adds people's names as "tasks" within the "Lists")
Clear Demo Video (A brief overview of how to use it)
Note: This is not a prayer list app. It is a to do list app. Gem just uses it to suit her needs. This is not a paid endorsement. Just sharing some cool info.


WILLIAM WILBERFORCE - “[at 53 years of age] When not unavoidably prevented by company or House of Commons, to take an hour, or at least half an hour, for private devotions, including Scripture reading and meditation, immediately before family prayers…” (flexibility in structure).

“[at 63 years of age] To-day I began the plan, to which by God’s grace I mean to adhere, of having my evening private devotions before family prayers. For what is this they have too often been sadly hurried, and the reading of Scriptures omitted. I have therefore resolved to allot an hour…” (Revisiting past intentions that have faded. Long obediences require many revisits). (Pura, Murray Andrew. Vital Christianity: The Life and Spirituality of William Wilberforce. Toronto: Clements Publishing, 2003, p. 63)

“[Regarding Sabbath] I am persuaded that to withdraw the mind one day in seven from its ordinary trains of thought and passion, and to occupy it in contemplating subjects of a higher order, which by their magnitude make worldly interests shrink into littleness, has the happiest effect on the intellectual and moral system. (Rhythm not just about multiplying spiritual activities, but also opening up spaces in our busy lives for rest, refreshment, restoration like in the practice of Sabbath). (Pura, p. 60-61)

MOTHER TERESA - 30 minutes of meditation daily. Twice daily examen of conscience. (Reflecting on the last number of hours for where we might have welcomed grace or resisted grace. Not self-condemning, but in a simple spirit of learning and growth). 30 minutes spiritual reading daily. In regards to personal retreat: 1 day per week, one week per month, one month per year, on year per six back at the motherhouse “where in contemplation and penance together with solitude she can gather in the spiritual strength, which she might have used up in the service of the poor.” (Mother Teresa. Come Be My Light. New York: Doubleday, 2007, p. 345).


  • Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
  • Remember always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation, not victory.
  • Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
  • Pray daily to be used by God in order that all might be free.
  • Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  • Seek to perform regular service for others and the world.
  • Refrain from violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
  • Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
  • Follow the directions of the movement and the captain of a demonstration. (Thompson, p. 140).


A few key questions that Ruth Haley Barton raises in her book Sacred Rhythms:

  • How do I want to live so I can be who I want to be?
  • Another way to approach this is to ask the question of desire. “How has God uniquely designed me?
  • What do I really want?
  • How badly do I want it?
  • Am I willing to rearrange my life for what my heart most wants?
  • What spiritual practices and relationships have seemed to be most powerful in meeting the desires of my heart?

More Questions from Alan and Gem...

  • What activities or experiences help you draw near to God?
  • What/who matters the most to you?
  • What activities or engagements make you feel most alive?
  • What is nourishing or encouraging you in your walk with Christ these days? What is draining or discouraging you in your journey with Him?
  • What are some of the daily, weekly, monthly or annual patterns in your life that fit well, sustain you and motivate you?
  • Where do you most desire to see change in your life? Where do you feel hopeless to change?
  • What spiritual practices are you drawn to, whether current ones or new ones?
  • What rhythms of life have you already been seeking to practice in your daily, weekly, monthly, annual patterns? By God’s grace, what do I want to keep doing? What do I want to stop doing? What do I want to start doing?
  • How might I start all this simply and small?
  • What particular spiritual practices might be especially helpful to me in this season of my life.
  • How might this be a Spirit-initiated and Spirit-guided process?