Self & Spiritual Disciplines

Yokefellowship Inmate Reading BibleSelf-Discipline — It is one of Yokefellowship’s primary goals to teach and demonstrate self-discipline. In order to start making good decisions, self-discipline is absolutely critical, especially for those going from an environment where they have few decisions to make to an environment where the number of decisions to be made on almost a minute-by-minute basis is overwhelming.

It is important to distinguish between imposed discipline and self-discipline. Imposed discipline is all about structures, controls, and limitations. Imposed discipline has its value, but it is really the self-discipline that has intense value in our lives. Because prison is already a highly structured place, inmates tend to resist discipline when it come to religious matters. But it is the church’s responsibility and it is one of Yokefellowship’s primary goals to teach self-discipline. It is the essence of a successful prison ministry. Many prisons have opened their doors to Yokefellowship just for that reason. They know the value self-discipline has on life on the inside and outside.

Without structure, controls and limitations, life becomes distorted and unbalanced. Only discipline permits the spiritual nurturing that transforms people. Meditation, prayer, study and worship become superficial or nonexistent activities when there is no time allotted for them. Inmates need to know that discipline is essential for all aspects of life, including their spirituality.”
—Rev. Henry Covert, Ministry to the Incarcerated (recommended reading)

Open BibleSpiritual-Discipline — Yokefellow volunteers use the “Yokefellows Seven Spiritual Disciplines” to teach and demonstrate self-discipline. There is no better lesson plan than the one God wrote in his book.

  • The Discipline of Prayer – To pray everyday, preferably at the beginning of the day. (Luke 18:1)
  • The Discipline of Scripture – To read reverently and thoughtfully, every day, a portion of Scripture, following a definite plan. (John 8:31,32)
  • The Discipline of Worship – To share, at least once each week, in the public worship of God. (Hebrews 12:28)
  • The Discipline of Money – To give a definite portion of my annual income to the promotion of Christ’s Cause. (Malachi 3:8-10)
  • The Discipline of Time – To use my time as a sacred gift, not to be wasted, striving to make my daily work, whatever it may be, a Christian vocation. (Ephesians 5:15-16)
  • The Discipline of Service – To try every day to lift some human burden. (3 John 1:5-6)
  • The Discipline of Study – To develop my mentaql powers by careful reading and study. (2 Timothy 2:15)

An excellent study on the spiritual disciplines was written by Nancy Sickler, longtime YPM volunteer and former YPM Chairperson. The study has multiple scripture references for each discipline, as well as discussion questions and excerpts from Dr. Elton Trueblood’s books on the same topic: Study & Discussion Guide for Yokefellow Disciplines (PDF)