Why is a day of rest important?
The Sabbath is a day blessed by God and set aside for rest and worship. For the Jewish people, the Sabbath began Friday evening and continued into Saturday afternoon, but today many followers of Jesus observe the Sabbath on Sunday. There aren’t any rules anchoring the Sabbath to a specific day of the week, we each experiment to find what works best with our lives and schedules. When that day arrives, it’s helpful to begin and end our Sabbath time with a tradition like lighting candles, pouring wine, or reading a psalm to remember our time of rest and worship is set apart from the rest of the week.
Every sabbath should be a weekly celebration, almost like a holiday. Holidays properly observed require preparation (Week 2). John's gospel refers to this as the “day of preparation.” Before the weekly tradition begins, before the candles are lit or the psalms are read, we go grocery shopping, clean the house, and clear errands from our to-do lists. For many followers of Jesus, powering down phones and computers for an entire day—no social media, no email, no internet—is a life-giving break from a world wrought with digital addiction.
With our day selected, our chores done, our digital feeds silenced, and our traditions established, we enter into a day of rest, worship, and intimacy with God (Week 3). Set aside a healthy window of time to spend in prayer and in the Scriptures, alone and/or as a family. Listen to the Spirit of God. Create an uninterrupted, quiet space to simply be with God as you work to tune yourself to his presence throughout the day.
As we settle into a consistent rhythm of rest and worship, we work to cultivate and maintain gratitude for the things that we have (Week 4). By drawing our awareness to the often overlooked gifts all around us—a roof over our heads, food to eat, relationships to enjoy—we draw our focus away from shopping and from conversations about things we don’t have.
Even after learning about and experimenting with the best Sabbath rhythms and practices, we realize that it takes time, and that it will inevitably evolve with each season of our lives (Week 5). What works well for a married couple may not accommodate a single person. Families with small kids will have expectations unique to couples who do not.
In each stage of life, our hope is to disrupt the business, the workload, the media overload, and the frenetic pace of life by slowing to a deliberate stop.
A day marked by rest and worship.
The end goal is that Sabbath becomes a regular part of the your weekly routine; you set aside one full day a week to rest and worship. And that you thoroughly enjoy this day, learning to delight in God, his creation, and your life in it, calibrating your body and soul to the rhythm of God’s Spirit, and then living out of that place all week long.
Follow along with each part of this practice. We recommend you work through it with your community, a small group triad, a weekly meal with friends or neighbors, your roommates, whatever works. Get a group of people, set a time each week to share a meal, then talk and pray for about an hour. Transformation happens in community.
Download & Print
If you are looking to escape from technology, download and print all weeks of this practice in one document.
Follow along with the recommended reading as you practice Sabbath. We want to continually expand our minds and understanding of the way of Jesus. In our working theory of spiritual formation—how we change to become like Jesus—teaching plays a key role. It’s not the end, but it is the beginning. These books are a great place to start your journey. Here are some of our favorites.