5 Unique Ways to Practice Sabbath Rest

One of the most-neglected of the 10 Commandments is the fourth one. Most of us won’t murder someone (although we might hate them in our heart). We try to honor the Lord and not take His name in vain. Respecting our parents, while not always easy, is a commonly held value in our culture. But keeping the Sabbath holy is all but laughable in most circles.

Even if we carve out time on Sunday to worship with other believers (an optional practice for many of us), that is where our obligation ends. We go to church, we make pleasant conversation with those in the hallway, then we get home and the rest of Sunday is just Saturday 2.0 as we begin prepping for the work week ahead.

The Sabbath didn’t begin with the 10 Commandments, it was part of Creation from the very beginning. God set a pattern by resting on the 7th Day. He gazed over all of Creation and, pleased with His work, took a day to rest.

Let’s stop and think about that, God, who never tires, took time to rest.

In a culture absorbed with “self-care,” I wonder what would happen if we all took this commandment seriously?

It’s important. It’s not just about going to worship, the Sabbath is a much needed break from the tedium of our other days. Our days should be filled so that on Sunday’s we can stop and look at what we have done with satisfaction.

We should savor the goodness of God and enjoy the day He has given us free from labor.

Here are 5 ways to practice enjoying Sabbath rest.

1) Make a Delicious Meal

I know this sounds counter-productive to resting but seriously, what says rest like eating amazing food? You don’t have to spend hours laboring over a stove, although for some that can be a relaxing part of enjoying the Sabbath. If that’s not you, crockpots can be an amazing tool! Prep the day before and throw a roast in on Sunday morning before church. When you get back home, feast and remember the goodness of God.

2) Unplug from Technology

How many of us are guilty of check our work email over the weekend? It is absurdly common and must stop on Sundays. The Sabbath is a day of rest, not a day of preparation. Read that again slowly, rest, not preparation.

We shouldn’t be spending our day of rest of the whim of another. The Sabbath should be spend not fretting around like Martha but simply sitting at the feet of the Lord like Mary. Seek stillness.

Put your phone on the counter and turn the ringer on. If someone truly needs to get ahold of you, they will call. Otherwise, it can probably wait. Resist the temptation to start looking at the week ahead and savor your Sunday but putting down your mobile office.

3) Fellowship with Other Believers

Sunday is the ideal day to spend unhurried time with friends. Invite them into your home and break out the board games. Tell each other stories and learn about life. Talk about the sermon or just watch football. The important thing is to engage with the believers in your life and to build deep, meaningful relationships with them. This comes through spending a significant amount of time with nothing on the agenda. Spending your post-Church time engaged with believers carries the worship part of Sunday morning into the rest of the day and helps sanctify your daily living. Take this time to put simple hospitality into practice. 

4) Spend Time in Nature

When was the last time you went outside for the sake of being outdoors? Creation is a beautiful gift to enjoy. There are so many unexpected  benefits simply from stepping over the threshold of your door and soaking in the way the sunlight dances through the shadows cast from the leaves and listening to the birds sing. Jesus told us that if we had kept silent, the rocks would have cried out in worship. Creation knows and responds to His voice. We are called to tend to it. That was the work we were charged with at Creation. When we spend time in nature on the Sabbath, we cultivate a love for what God has charged us to do the other 6 days of the week.

5) Read A Book

I’m a little biased because reading is a passion of mine but I don’t think there is a better way to recharge. Reading disconnects you from the busyness of life and forces your body to calm while your mind engages in beauty. Reading through the lectionary for the week is a great way to center your heart around the Lord and His works. Engaging with the thoughts of other believers, either in fiction or non-fiction, also has it’s purposes in resting your mind and calling your heart to holiness.

Check out my previous book reviews here for some ideas on what to add to your Sunday reading list!

Bonus: Prep on Saturdays

Sunday has unfortunately taken the role in our week as the day of preparation for the working week instead of the day of rest. Start reclaiming your Sabbath by prepping on Saturday for both a relaxing Sunday and an easy work week.

Do your meal prep on Saturdays and sat aside an amazing crockpot meal to enjoy after church. Do your errands, cleaning, planning, etc. on Saturday. Don’t leave it for Sunday. Embrace a true day of rest by getting all of the must-dos done on Saturday and leaving anything extra for Monday. I promise, it’s worth reclaiming the holy rest God ordained for us.

Don’t give up. Reclaiming the Sabbath won’t happen overnight but I encourage you to start somewhere. It may be a swim against the stream but keeping God’s commandments is always a battle worth fighting. You will be blessed for your desire and efforts to honor Him in your work and your Sabbath rest.

If you enjoyed this post, check out: 

Cultivating Sabbath Rest; Disciplines of the Faith 

Rest Your Weary Heart

10 Christian Books That Need to Be On Your Radar

Reclaiming the Sacred in Your Days

Spiritual Disciplines: Accountability In Church Community

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  1. Yes! Reclaiming the Sabbath is something that I have been learning lately because I got for a while where I was constantly doing social media work on the weekend and I have recently been learning how much of a toll that was taking on me. Focusing on God and rest needs to take #1!

  2. I’m completely guilty! We have been so “busy”! I’ve forgotten how important the Sabbath is, and how God commands us to set it aside, make it different than all other days! This is a helpful list! Thank you for sharing!

  3. You’re totally speaking my language! Last fall I was really convicted to seek out more “Quiet & Still” intentionally. I was harvesting verses for my #biblequiltjournal and making flip cards to steep in daily. I ended up writing a #31daysofquiet series for our blog, ordinarythreads.com. Many of the points you share here resonate deeply with what I’ve been referring to as Chasing Quiet. It certainly is a discipline! Have you read Shelly Miller’s book, Rhythms of Rest? It was a lovely affirmation of what I had been contemplating and exploring on my own. Enjoy your Sabbath journey!

  4. God definitely wanted Sabbath to be a day of rest. When we look at how many promises are tied to the Sabbath, we can’t deny that he wants us to rest in Him.

  5. Yes! Exactly! Why is this so hard for us? It seems obvious, but if we try, so often we make it work, and that defeats the purpose! Thanks for simplifying it!

  6. What a wonderful reminder and great list of ideas! My husband has been saying for some time that we need to do a better job of truly resting on Sundays. We’re getting better and better, but we’ll have to implement some of your ideas too! Thanks for a great post!

  7. do you have any suggestions for those who need to work on sundays. there are a lot of us who work in the service sector that has one off day and usuallly on a weekday.

    • Fame, That used to be me! I would recommend trying to worship with fellow believers on Sunday mornings as much as possible. I would also suggest trying to take Sabbath on one of your days off instead of playing “catch up.” Finally, I would encourage you to try to move towards takings Sundays off if that’s possible. Even if it can’t happen in the near future, talk to your managers and see what options you have to set Sunday aside for religious purposes.

  8. These suggestions are sure to help you slow down. I just read in the gospel of Mark, the series on my blog right now, that the Sabbath is a gift given to us. God is so good to give us permission to rest. To tell us to make sabbath a routine part of this beautiful life. Thank you!

  9. This brings back memories. As a kid Sundays were relaxing, it was a break from the hussle and bussle of the week. There was no running and playing on this day. It was a time for church, naps, family dinner, book reading, board games, and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom before bed :). It always amazes me how we can get pulled away from those good, “Bible-based” habits we once held dear. Thanks for sharing how to bring the much need rest of the Sabbath back into our lives.

  10. Taking a day to find balance in our lives and have a sabbath observance is just so important. There are so many ways to practice this and it really does heal the mind, the body and the soul.

  11. I love the idea of prepping on Saturday, instead of on Sunday like i usually do. I remember the first time I realized that the Sabbath and rest was part of God’s design for the world, that He rested on the seventh day BEFORE the fall and it wasn’t a RESPONSE to the fall. Even though I know rest and the Sabbath is good–the Sabbath is a gift–I often see it as weakness that i need to take a break from my work. But it’s not. I need to work on actually incorporating the Sabbath into my life–and have taken steps to do so, which feels great!

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