Jared mentioned that we should think of the disciplines (which he will enumerate in talks to come) as tools in our tool box that enable us to put ourselves before God--to grow in relationship with Him. I like that.
I've also always appreciated the image of God as a potter. There's a wonderful account in Jeremiah chapter 18 of God telling Jeremiah to go to the potter's house and watch him...here it is:
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.While this text is ultimately about judgment, the image of God being a potter stands. God is able to shape us, make us into whatever he desires. He is also able to reshape us when we become marred in His hands.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
What has this got to do with spiritual disciplines? Think of the spiritual disciplines as ongoing practices that enable us to climb up on the potter's wheel so that the Master Potter might shape us into the vessel He desires us to be. Don't think of prayer as a way of getting what you want or becoming a better person. Rather think of it as a way of putting yourself in God's way, on the wheel, under His hands so that He might form you and shape you into a beautiful vessel of His choosing. God's greatest work is done on surrendered hearts. All the classic spiritual disciplines do this very same thing. They all put us on God's potter's wheel so that He can do His amazing work in us. Let's put ourselves on His wheel, in His path so that He can have free access to us to mold us into the image of His Son, Jesus.
I'm interested in what stories you have. How has God used the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading/study, fasting, service, worship, journaling, etc., in your life to mold you?