April 3, 2022
As I write about here, I have discovered a great deal of value in “bookending” with practices such as prayer, devotions, meditation, breathwork, silence, gratitude, service, purpose, tapping, and more. These practices help me build my spiritual fitness and put on the armor of God each day.
For this reason, each morning and evening, I lead my entire family through the Spiritual Disciplines Journal routine that I describe here. But I also have another spiritual practice that I perform even before our family routine.
Each morning, after I wake, wash my face, drink a giant mason glass jar full of water and minerals, and do all my silly Ayurvedic self-care routines (such as coconut oil pulling, tongue scraping, gargling, and jumping up and down on a trampoline), I venture down into the basement, sit on my organic hippie-dippie meditation cushion, and proceed with the following:
First, I put on a good Spotify worship playlist. (I'm currently digging the channel “Soaking Worship.”)
I then light incense and a candle (for reasons I describe here).
Next, I do one to three rounds of seated breath work, which is basically Pranayama-esque fire breathing Wim Hof style, with big inhales and long exhale holds. This does a good job of “charging up the body” with energy, especially when combined with the music in the background.
Then I pray, and for this opening prayer, simply pour out my heart to God, or sing a song of worship, or pray a prayer from Scriptures, such as the Psalms. (If you don't know how to pray, you may want to begin with something like this, and here are ideas/examples of other good prayers from the Bible.)
Next, I read a passage from a devotional (currently I'm reading My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers), and study the passage in the Bible from which the devotional reading is derived.
Then I pray again, but this time, pray just a bit more “in the head” than that initial prayer “from the heart.” I open the Notes app on my phone, where I keep a list of everyone I've committed to praying for or events, needs, issues, and people I want to pray for, and I spend time praying over each of those situations, sometimes a few and sometimes all, depending on how good I was at getting up early enough in the morning that day (hint: getting up early for this is important to me, and I recommend you consider being just a *little bit* more tired during the average day if it allows you to worship God and care for your eternal soul each morning!).
Finally, with a blank journal open in front of me, I sit in silence. I'm simply listening for the voice of God, whether that voice comes as a response to my prayers, or as a specific message for me that day.
I then blow out the candle and incense and venture upstairs where a precious cup of coffee or tea awaits me. Yep, that's my carrot on the end of the stick, and I always prep the water and coffee/tea prior to heading into my devotions, so that I know it's there waiting for me afterward. It's those simple mental tricks, my friend, that make a habit stick.
So to review my full morning devotions routine:
…wake up and prepare my body…
…end my practice with a “carrot” such as hot coffee or tea.
Why bother sharing this all with you?
First, in the style of my books Fit Soul and Endure, I write these types of things so that you can get ideas for buttressing your own spiritual foundation. Nothing would please me more than to know that you were able to discover through my writings not just body and mind optimization, but also spiritual optimization.
Second, I would be quite grateful if you were to respond in the comments with the following, as I'm always seeking good recommendations:
- Your favorite devotional.
- Your own devotional practice (I love studying and learning from the practices of others, such as a recent devotional I found on “spiritual biohacking” entitled Biblical Secrets To Heal Your Body & Soul by Kathleen Hampton).
- Your favorite book of prayers, either a new prayer for each day of the year or specific prayers for specific occasions, such as holidays, health needs, business/work-related items, simple praise, worship, etc. (This is a big one for me as I haven't found a good one yet, but someone may know!)
Feel free to leave your comments, questions, and feedback below. I read them all!
21 thoughts on “Devotions”
Is your upcoming spiritual disciplines journal compatible with the Catholic faith? Reading your description, it sounds very similar to Ignatian Spiritual Disciplines!
Lectio 365 is another great app to assist with praying through the Bible. Morning and evening prayers. Check it out!
Another devotional I receive via email every morning M-F is The Park Forum. https://theparkforum.org/
Really appreciate your openness with your faith journey, Ben! I’ve read your post on Purpose Statements 2-3 times now and shared with others. Thank you!
I am a Benedictine Oblate of St Meinrad Archabbey. The Monks at St Meinrad incorporate chanting into each prayer for the day. They will teach others how to do it, as well. If you are ever near St Meinrad in Indiana, I highly recommend spending some time at the Archabbey. I am a physician assistant and wife in addition to being an Oblate. The other set (there are several books as part of a set) of books I recommend is In Conversation with God
This is great. I lost my job a few months ago ( not willing to defile my conscience and take an experimental injection) so have a lot more time in the morning. I’ve been going through a couple of devotions, I spend time in prayer and do a little journaling. I’ll listen to scripture while I do my Wim Hof breathing. Usually a short 10 minute skipping session just to get moving. But it takes upwards of 2 + hours. It’s been awesome, and I’m thankful for this luxury of extra time, but I’ve been thinking I need to streamline it. This gives me some ideas. Thank you.
My go to devotions I’ve been using are from Faith rxd and Samson Society.
I basically read at least one chapter or a psalm, then write down what i want to repent for, and what i want to pray for. Often if i don’t have time ill listen to the youbible version, at the moment exodus from “the message “ .
I usually start my morning with 20-30 minutes of yoga and use the shavasana time to call on the Holy Spirit. Then I journal my gratitude list to God, do a self examination, and bring my prayers and petitions to the Lord. I also use the hallow app and do a couple planks to some of the 1-2 minute prayers. Finish up with daily devotional (right now Jesus Calling and All God’s Creatures) followed by the Bible in a Year Podcast with Father Mike Schmidt’s.
Thank you for sharing this, and making God first and foremost. I read the Liturgy of the Hours everyday. It takes a devotion to this as there are six different prayers to pray each day, relying heavily on the Psalms. I am a Benedictine Oblate of St Meinrad Archabbey. The Monks at St Meinrad incorporate chanting into each prayer for the day. They will teach others how to do it, as well. If you are ever near St Meinrad in Indiana, I highly recommend spending some time at the Archabbey. I am a physician assistant and wife in addition to being an Oblate. The other set (there are several books as part of a set) of books I recommend is In Conversation with God. I would also recommend books by CS Lewis (Mere Christianity, for example), and books by GK Chesterton. Streams in the Desert is another great devotional book when going through difficult times.
I love Dr. Bhaswati Bhattacharya’s book Everyday Ayurveda!!! I often revisit her book when I need a quick reset and refocus! Great read!
Man, I love that you share this type of stuff with your audience. It’s helped me grow spiritually, and just as we love to learn about all of the physical bio hacks and routines of people, it’s just as intriguing to learn about peoples spiritual practices regardless of faith. I feel there is something to learn from all. I too find a lot of benefit from an Ayurvedic style routine as you describe. I love reading devotions by Dr. David Jeremiah to start the day, study the scripture associated and allow the voice of God to speak me how to personally interpret as a unique vessel for God, in which I have been writing the dialogue of now for a little over a year and had turned into a devotion. It’s crazy how God works in us in ways we have never dreamed, but my morning spiritual practice has now turned into transcribing a couple thousand words compromised of interpretation of scripture, quotes and prayers, all from the spirit. I’ve actually been doing it while bathing in red light in recent but definitely took notes from some of your ways of setting up carrots as anchor points. I do feel most do not address the cleansing of the bowels in spiritual practice but is very much a huge sacred part of it for me, especially in being a “guteral” Manifesting Generator. I clear my bowels as part of my routine in a practice I now call “Toilet Yoga” in which I combine breathwork, meditation, reflexology and yogic stretching all while on the toilet in which clears my bowels as I’ve never experienced before. It too derived from a spiritual place and I followed the instructions in which are now part of my daily routine, as I have found that when the bowels are cleansed, it provides a clarity and heightened spiritual experience with God. Very similar to what I’ve experienced with breathwork but a totally different and revitalizing feel. It’s my way of “Biohacking my bowel movement” and actually considering writing a short “easy to digest” book on it to share with people. Any one else notice BM’s being spiritual? Or enhancing connectedness with God in morning?
Interesting toilet yoga thing Derek. You ever ‘written out’ our protocol? I’d be curious to know more.
Thanks man! It’s been transformative for me and totally came from following the spirit to connect with the body and has now turned into a daily ritual.. I actually got illustrations back last week to couple with the protocol. I’ll certainly share a rough draft when I get it dialed in for some feedback. 🙏🏻
yeah please share!
I so appreciate what you share Ben. I follow many of these same practices. Starting my day out right is essential. My favorite devotionals are C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening and Paul Tripps New Morning Mercies. Favorite prayer book is The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan prayers.
Can never go wrong with Spurgeon. I read the same book.
Thanks for sharing – always learn something from reading your posts.
Are you still doing the Tibetan rites as part of your routine? I have been doing them for a few months now and curious if you have an update from your experience.
I still sprinkle those rites in, yep.
Thank you for sharing spiritual fitness more. It has been life changing for me and my mental journey. I’m interested in trying a candle burning/incense while I pray to God.
I have a book of prayers by my bed called The Valley Of Vision. It’s a collection of puritan prayers for different situations or feelings.
What a great start to the day!! As an Orthodox Christian, after my morning prayers, I try to say the Jesus prayer throughout the day to stay close to the Lord. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me, a sinner”.. if you get a chance, look into St Joseph, the Hesychist or Elder Ephraim of Arizona. Great spiritual fathers from the recent past. Also, visit the monastery between Phoenix and Tucson. You’ll feel like you are walking in the clouds.
Just a thought.. enjoy your content and plan on heading to Utah for full body stem cells this year.
My father Gary Greenfield is Orthodox, so I am familiar!
I found the app, Hallow. I listen to the daily gospel and then poke around the app for various prayers. I have the monks singing in the background while I’m praying. It’s wonderful. I do need a more structured prayer time like yours however. thanks for sharing your routine.