“In his book Reaching Out, Henri Nouwen proposes that a healthy spiritual life includes three significant features—three legs of a stool upon which everything else rests. They include study of (especially, but not limited to) the Bible; prayer; and community. I encourage you to reflect seriously on the depth of your activity in each of these three vital areas of living life with God. These are not requirements you must fill to make sure God is happy… Simply put, these three dimensions of living facilitate vital changes in the stories of those people who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”*
I have found this thought to be true in my journey of ongoing transformation in Christ. These three activities have been the major pathways of growth for me individually and corporately.
Over the years, I have facilitated Bible study small groups, and in one current group, we are studying the book of Revelation. When we come together and talk about Jesus Christ, we experience times of wonder- holy moments you could call them.
Concerning prayer and community, I was moved by a recent experience of one of these groups. I had been doing some remodeling on my house and a few people had offered to help me. We worked hard in the morning, ate lunch, and worked on through the afternoon into the evening. But during lunch, we would read a Psalm together in a mode of prayer and then talk about the Lord together. This continued for about a week. It was so simple but so moving, and there was a strong sense of unity we shared.
This exercise reminded me that whatever your station in life, you can pursue the three legs of study, prayer, and community in simple life-giving ways. These three are not mainly discovered in a weekly church service, but they happen in the day-to-day activities of life among our individual spheres of influence.
“Nouwen rightly points out that if any one of the three legs is missing, the stool will not long stand… I invite you to consider the place each of these holds for you. If you sense that any of them seems to be absent or has fallen by the wayside, do not judge or condemn yourself. Simply begin where you are and consider taking a small step to re-engage yourself with that area.”
I encourage you, evaluate your lifestyle, discuss with a trusted friend, and identify the small steps you can take today to re-engage in the three legs in your own life.
*Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson