A Sampler of Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Formation Program

Spiritual Formation Retreats

An integral part of LEYM’s Spiritual Formation Program is for each participant to take on the regular practice of a spiritual discipline for the year. Here are some suggestions.

Centering prayer – Choose a meaningful word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s presence and action. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly, and silently introduce the word. When you become aware of thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the word. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Eating mindfullyDescription

Examen a method of prayer from the Jesuit tradition

Fasting – search the web or see www.cru.org/train-and-grow/devotional-life/personal-guide-to-fasting


Guided Meditation – see UCLA’s free guided meditations

Ignatian examination of conscience – how-to can be found in Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn

Journaling – see journaling

Lectio Divina – a method of engaging with scripture or other writings in a meditative way; see LEYM.org/spiritual-formation/lectio-divina

Listening to meditative music

Meditating – instructions can be found on the web. For specific exercises, see, for instance, Four Meditations to Activate Your Chakras and Inner Wisdom

Memorizing scripture, prayers, poetry

Morning prayer – Start the day by greeting God and giving thanks, using a set phrase such as “Today is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it” or spontaneous words

Movement / Dance

Practicing awareness of the Presence – Turn your attention away from daily activities. Empty your mind of daily cares. Take a deep breath and relax. Sit quietly and allow the emptying of your mind and its replacement with the awareness of God’s presence. More extensive instructions can be found on the web.


Reading spiritual journals, biography, autobiography, memoirs – Suggestions: The Journal of John Woolman; With Head and Heart by Howard Thurman; The Genessee Diary by Henri Nouwen; Something Beautiful for God: Mother Teresa of Calcutta by Malcolm Muggeridge; One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Reading and/or studying the Bible or another text – Friendly Bible Study Method

Silent or spoken grace before meals – During silent grace, you may hold hands with the others at the table if you wish


Spending time in nature

Spiritual direction/guidance – You will need to find a spiritual director

Spiritual friendship – An ongoing relationship for mutual spiritual support; see LEYM.org/spiritual-formation/spiritual-friendship

Walking a labyrinth

Walking meditation – see directions

Yoga / Tai Chi

More suggestions can be found on Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s web site

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Patricia McBee explores Quaker Disciplines in this QuakerSpeak Video

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Related Organizations

  • American Friends Service Committee - afsc.org
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation - fcnl.org
  • Friends General Conference - fgcquaker.org
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