One of the tools we use is called the SPIRES Plan. It’s an adaptation of the Rule of Life, crafted to help people intentionally and holistically create space in their lives for God and cultivate awareness of God already at work in their lives. SPIRES is just an acronym for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Relational, Emotional, and Serving, trying to name some of the areas in our lives.

There are two parts to the SPIRES Plan. PART ONE involves looking back, taking stock of the condition of your life so that you can be more aware of where God might be asking you to make changes or go deeper. 

After spending a moment in prayer, asking God to show you where you’re at right now, rate your health (from 1-10) in each of the SPIRES areas over the last period of time; you can think about it over the last year or last quarter, for example. This is a calibration exercise not a condemnation exercise, so acknowledge where scores may be lower than you would like but recognize that it’s what you do about it (and how you seek to grow) that counts.

Next, consider the factors that contributed to that rating — the things that nourished you in that area or the things that drained you. The reason we do this is so that we might pinpoint whether, for example, something is a trend or a habit that needs to be arrested or continued, or a freak incident, or something over which you have no control.

After completing Part One, take a moment to thank God for his faithfulness and that his grace covers everything you’ve ever done and ever will do.

PART TWO is about looking forward, putting into place structures on which to hang your soul-training practices. This may contain several goals for growth as well as concrete steps toward them.

Again, before you begin, ask God to show you what he wants you to see.

It can be helpful to think through this in terms of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and even yearly rhythms. Here are some examples to get you started, rolling in a few of the practices we’ve learned over the last few weeks.

Daily rhythms might include:

  • beginning your day with (at least) five minutes of silent reflection and listening every day to regularly make space for God to speak;
  • reading something from the Bible, either inductively or using lectio divina (perhaps even alternating by the day);
  • ending your day with a time of examen prayer.

Weekly rhythms might include:

  • setting aside one day a week as a sabbath, a day when you intentionally reconnect with God (in whatever ways that best happens for you);
  • working out a few times a week in order to maintain your physical health — your body is, after all, “a temple of the Holy Spirit”;
  • limiting the amount of time you watch Netflix or TV;
  • volunteering one evening a week to serve at an organization in your neighborhood.

Monthly rhythms might include:

  • scheduling a half-day of prayer, to have some extended time with God;
  • investing in important friendships by putting dinners on the calendar;
  • checking over your budget and making sure your finances are in order.

You can download an e-version of the SPIRES Plan card here.

[The SPIRES Plan was created by Pastor Justin B. Fung in 2019, a revised version of the SPIRE Plan (2016).]