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Exploring the habits

The diocesan Rhythm of Life is shaped around habits that Jesus asks us to do.

Sammi Tooze

Discipleship Adviser & Strategy Enabler


“Abide in me as I abide in you. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.”

John 15.7-9,11

As followers of Jesus we are all called to live and grow as disciples. We are invited to abide in the presence of God, to be nurtured as we sit in Christ’s company, to grow inwardly and give outwardly, enabling us to live Christ’s story in our day-to-day lives.

If we are to live Christ’s story and be part of a growing and flourishing church across the whole of the Diocese of York, then we need to abide in Christ. A Rhythm of Life is movement to enable us to live as missional disciples, and a pattern of holy living which helps us to become more like Christ. It is a simple commitment to specific actions that can help to focus on our faith and release us to live more fruitfully.

Based around seven things that Jesus asked us to do, our Rhythm of Life invites every individual and every community to adopt these patterns of holy living to abide in Christ and become more like him. We hope that each of us can adopt these habits, and that every church will teach them so that we can all grow as missionary disciples of Christ.

The Habits

Our Rhythm of Life is shaped around seven habits:

To pray is to make our hearts ready to experience the love of God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Praying regularly will help us to develop a spiritual rhythm. A discipline of prayer changes the way that we think about our lives, because it creates new habits of heart and mind. Prayer opens us more deeply to the transforming grace of God. We enter into God’s presence, allowing the Holy Spirit to pray in us.

The Bible is a space in which Christian people expect to encounter God. There are many ways in which we can engage with scripture – through reading and listening, through apps and collectively study, and even through music. Throughout the Bible, God speaks to us through telling stories, and as we reflect on these they shape who we are as beings made in the image of God. We find ourselves in God’s story, and learn to then live that story on earth.

One of the key features of Anglican identity is our worship. As we gather, our words, music and action offers us the opportunity to express our faith, learn about God in a particular way, and to be formed by all that we encounter. Worship is therefore transformational – we meet with God, we’re transformed by that encounter, and we’re sent out as changed people. Being part of the worshipping lives of our churches is also about belonging – as relational beings, we are invited into a community of faith, and that community is a place that we love, worship, pray, and grow together.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to love one another. The Rhythm of loving one another points us to think about missional discipleship as we engage with social action, racial justice, radical hospitality and invitation. It’s important here to also think about what it means to love ourselves – as beings made in the image of God, perhaps one of our challenges is to consider what that love of ourselves and God within us looks like.

Living generously as Christian people is grounded in gratitude, it’s scientifically proven that grateful people are happier and more generous. But more than that – living generously is about recognising that all we have has been given to us by God, we are merely stewards of the materials and possessions in our care. A pattern of living generously encourages us to think about climate and creation care, such as how we make ethical decisions about what we buy and how we recycle. There is also something really key here about joy – generosity is an outpouring of God’s love, it is a joy to give to people and things that we love, and that in itself becomes a witness to our faith. 

The Rhythm of sharing our faith with others can sometimes appear daunting on face-value, but it is not as complicated as we might think. Sharing our faith with others can be a wonderfully freeing, creating and enjoyable thing to do, and often it is simply about finding the tools that enable us to open those doors. There are so many ways in which our very way of living exudes our faith and shines from us, what we might call our ‘everyday faith’ – as St Francis is famously attributed saying, “preach the gospel at all times, where necessary use words”.

The final part of our Rhythm of Life is to have patterns of rest. This is commonly one of the most challenging parts of the Rhythm of Life, particularly with the many distractions of modern culture. This Rhythm brings us back into a space of re-creation and restoration. Having a pattern of rest is essential for good physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing – and therefore not something we should only do when we have real need of it, but something we enjoy as a healthy and regular pattern, intentionally making space for things that bring us joy.