Four of the basic spiritual disciplines of the Christian life are Bible intake, prayer, gathering with other believers, and taking the Gospel to others through sharing and serving. The Compass was created to visually represent these four disciplines. On the vertical axis are Prayer and Scripture which focus on our vertical relationship with God. Through prayer we speak to God; through His Scriptures He speaks to us. The greatest command is to love God, and we grow that love relationship by spending time with Him in prayer and the Scriptures.
The two disciplines on the horizontal axis pertain to our horizontal relationships with others. Gathering refers to the practice of assembling with other believers regularly. Through a local church, we unite with other Jesus-followers for worship, accountability, support, and instruction. God uses these relationships to grow us spiritually. Missions refers to our relationship to those who don’t know Christ as Lord. By sharing our faith and serving out of love, we join what God is doing, building His kingdom, fulfilling the second greatest command to love others.
All four disciplines are vital to spiritual growth and are interconnected with each other, as indicated by the “in between” directional arrows. Scripture commands us to gather and is a vital part of a church service. Similarly, prayer should permeate times of gathering and allows for a special time to pray with other believers. Scripture also commands and directs our service and mission, while prayer fuels and empowers our serving and sharing.
Finally, at the center of the compass is the cross. More than a mere symbol or icon, the cross represents the work of Jesus on our behalf that makes all the disciplines possible and fills them with meaning. Without Jesus’ death, we are still far off from God and without hope.
Though there is more to the Christian life than these four disciplines, these are foundational. Without them, nothing more can be built. You can do more than these, but you can’t do more until you are doing these.