Teaching Tools: Spiritual Disciplines


From The Shape of Faith to Come by Brad Waggoner

  • Only 16 percent of Protestant churchgoers read their Bible daily and another 20 percent read it "a few times a week."
  • 23 percent "agreed strongly" with the statement, "When I come to realize that some aspect of my life is not right in God’s eyes, I make the necessary changes."
  • Among evangelicals, 70 percent have identified their primary spiritual gifts through a class, spiritual gifts inventory or some other process.
  • In the past six months, 29 percent of respondents said they shared with someone how to become a Christian twice or more, 14 percent once and 57 percent not at all.
  • 47 percent of Protestant churchgoers admitted to just "going through the motions" often during the singing and prayer portions of worship services. One-quarter strongly disagreed that they merely go through the motions.
  • Fasting was perhaps the most neglected spiritual discipline, with 80 percent of respondents saying they had not fasted during the past six months.

Reading Resources:

Quotable Quotes:

"A farmer is helpless to grow grain; all he can do is provide the right conditions for the growing of grain. He cultivates the ground, he plants the seed, he waters the plants, and then the natural forces of the earth take over and up comes the grain…This is the way it is with the Spiritual Disciplines – they are a way of sowing to the Spirit… By themselves the Spiritual Disciplines can do nothing; they can only get us to the place where something can be done." ― Richard J. Foster

"The greatness of prayer, involving as it does the whole man, in the intensest form, is not realised without spiritual discipline. This makes it hard work, and before this exacting and consuming effort our spiritual sloth or feebleness stands abashed." — E.M. Bounds

"To know Christ is the way to grow in holiness. Christianity is not a religion of rules. It is the religion of the divine example. Try to follow the blessed steps of the most holy life. Take His advice. Ask yourself, in the moment of perplexity or temptation, what would He do if He were here? Nothing else will so surely lead us into the way of holy living." — George Hodges

"The pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us." — Jerry Bridges


Randy Alcorn discusses spiritual disciplines and legalism

Book Excerpt:

Excerpted from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney

The spiritual disciplines are those personal and corporate disciplines that promote spiritual growth. They are the habits of devotion and experiential Christianity that have been practiced by the people of God since biblical times…Whatever the discipline, its most important feature is its purpose. Just as there is little value in practicing the scales on a guitar or piano apart from the purpose of playing music, there is little value in practicing spiritual disciplines apart from the single purpose of that unites them. That purpose is godliness.



  1. says

    I would call those percentages at the top of the post rater “liberal”, I would expect to see them even worse.
    What is really sad, is that the most corrective action they will ever get is comments on blog posts, reviews and discussions on Brad’s book, and maybe an executive mention or two at corporate organized “retreats” or “conferences”…
    As I sit here typing, I keep stopping to go over and over again in my mind how to deal with the rampant apostasy in the majority of the current incarnation of the New Testament Church.
    god Money is lord now, and I beat my head against the desk daily trying to figure out how to pry him out of the church.
    You seem to be the only one who genuinely notices the problem Thom. I patrol other SBC related corporate blogs, and it is a church game of book writing promotions, sales pitches, and anything else Mammon, with a sprinkling of “token” concern for a few “talking points”.
    I sit and watch on Twitter, as these same folks (if you want to know who, just look at who I follow) with sales pitches, world travel notes, vacations, retreats, conferences, and their well off families and themselves being “tweeted” on. But….
    Independent member churches that feed the money to Nashville are starving and dying, yet trying to stay faithful to Lottie Moon & Annie Armstrong commitments…
    I am so close to picking up a stick (which I have, I started a new website, but I am waffling on throwing everything I have at it) and going to war with the moneychangers and pharisees.
    Do me a favor Thom, next time you find yourself in a large enough executive meeting to get the word passed, suggest that everyone “tone down” the Mammon on Twitter, and on webogs. I realize that business is business, but maybe a little less obvious on the god Money first, self worship second, and ol’ whatshisname Jehovah third or fourth depending on the current political climate.
    I am sorry I had to say this, but it needs to be said, and here is the only place I feel that someone will even spend a minute or two contemplating it.
    So back the problem at hand… A “tent revival” isn’t going to do it, I thought about packing the kids up, and taking off into the streets for good, but that isn’t fast enough of results to stop the downhill slide. Giving up and hoping the rapture will come soon is what I would like to do, but know better. Writing yet another “christian” book about it just plays right into god Mammon’s game. So that brings me back to the stick and table flipping.
    Every day that goes by, I just see those stats at the top of the post just getting worse, and as the Doors said… “the time to hesitate is through”. I guess I have waffled long enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *