Solitude and simplicity are often used by God to draw us closer to Him. This is especially true of the ascetic spiritual temperament.
Below are 2 links to VIDEOS of this sermon. Due to technical issues, there are 2 segments to this sermon.
Additional Discussion Questions
1. Describe in your own words what you understand the ascetic life-style to be? What parts appeal or not appeal to you about being an ascetic?
2. Do you know anyone who you would characterize as an ascetic? What is it about the person that make him or her an ascetic?
3. Can you think of a time when you spent one or more hours in complete silence (sleeping doesn’t count!)? If so, what was the situation? What did you find yourself thinking about during that time? If not, what would you be thinking about if you were to spend an hour in silence?
4. Have you ever gone on a spiritual fast? From what did you abstain? For how long? Was it a positive or negative experience? Share this with the group. What are the benefits of fasting? Why is it so hard to fast?
5. Read verses 1-4. How would describe the passion of the psalmist from these verses? Tell the group about a time you felt like this. What would it take for you to feel this way again?
6. Read verses 5-7. Can you identify with the idea that life is a pilgrimage (or journey)? How can such a perspective affect the way we live our lives?
7. Can you think of time that you went (figuratively) through the Valley of Weeping? What did you learn about God or yourself through that experience? Did it make you stronger or weaker as a disciple of Christ?
8. Read verses 8-9. How would you describe your prayer life? What is the focus or subject matter of the majority of your prayers? What does the phrase “prayer is the first work” mean? How does Jim suggest that this approach to prayer might change the way we pray?
9. How did Jim interpret verse 9? How can appealing to God’s “anointed one” influence the focus of our prayers?
10. Read verses 10-12. From these verses, what would you say are the rewards of an ascetic lifestyle?
11. After hearing this message, would you describe yourself to be an ascetic? If so, which of the dangers do you identify with most? In not, what aspects of this temperament would you like to adopt?