Weekly Devotional: What Is a Rule of Life?

A green vine climbs up a wooden trellis.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

— John 15:5 NIV

A rule of life is one of many spiritual practices available to grow in your relationship with the Lord. The word “rule” may sound intimidating; however, it is translated from the Latin word for a “trellis” in a vineyard. In the same way a vine needs a trellis to lift it off the ground to produce fruit and protect it from predators and diseases, we need structure in our spiritual journey.1 A rule of life can act as a trellis that helps us abide in Christ and become more fruitful spiritually. It is an intentional, conscious plan to keep God at the center of everything we do.2

In This Article:

Why Have a Rule of Life?

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” — Hebrews 12:11 NIV

Now that we’ve addressed the question, what is a rule of life?, you may be wondering why you should have one. Today, we are often rushing and piling our to-do list so high that it is easy to become overwhelmed. Our spiritual life can be the same. Without an intentional plan, we may become distracted, stagnant, or drift away from God. You may have several goals or ways you hope to spend time with God, that your growth is actually stunted by the thought of it. Or perhaps you have a desire to engage in spiritual practices, but you are unsure where to begin.

Regardless of where you are in your walk with God, having a rule of life can help you organize your spiritual goals and deepen your relationship with God in a way that is life-giving. It is meant to bring freedom, joy and transformation — not feel dull or like a legalistic to-do list.1

How To Create a Rule of Life

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” — Psalm 32:8 NIV

It is important to remember that you create your own rule of life because it is meant to be specific to your personal faith journey. Meaning, there is no right or wrong way. A common approach is to break it down into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly practices. As a college student, it may be beneficial to also include a semesterly category. You can create it alone or with friends. However you go about it, lean into your creativity, and invite the Holy Spirit into the process. Here are three tips to get started:

1. Keep it simple but specific. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself by adding too many spiritual practices. Start with one or two realistic practices and add more when you feel ready to do so. The more specific your “rules” are, the better! For example, rather than “host a celebratory dinner,” try “host a celebratory dinner with friends on the last Saturday of each month.” Adding details may help you stay disciplined.

2. Consider your personality. You know yourself best, so cater to your personality as you create your rule of life. For instance, don’t feel obligated to practice silence and solitude every day if you love being around people. That being said, don’t be afraid to push yourself to try spiritual practices you are less familiar or comfortable with. It is about finding a balance of both practices you enjoy and practices to train in.

3. Consider your season of life. Keep in mind your rule of life can be revised and is subject to change over time. When a major shift occurs in your life, such as moving home, starting a new job, or going through a breakup, it may be an appropriate time to reevaluate your spiritual practices. You may feel lament prayer is unnecessary right now, but once you enter a trial, it could be a great practice to implement. Ask yourself, what do I need in this season?

Rule of Life Examples

Here are two examples to inspire ideas for your own rule of life:

Example 1

Daily: Engage with Scripture and do prayer of examen before bed.

Weekly: Practice Sabbath on Saturday and listen to a spiritual podcast.

Monthly: Read a faith-based book and host a celebratory dinner with friends on the last Saturday of each month.

Semesterly: Have a morning of silence and solitude and set aside $30 to bless someone with.

Example 2

Daily: Engage in morning worship and journal my gratitude at night.

Weekly: Attend Sunday church service and go on a prayer walk with my roommate.

Monthly: Find an organization to serve in my community.

Yearly: Choose a word to live by and create a Bible reading plan.

A rule of life is simply meant to be a tool for you to establish rhythms in your walk with God and grow closer to him. If you have a desire to learn more about crafting a rule of life or other spiritual practices, consider attending Grand Canyon University’s Spiritual Formation workshops or adding a Spiritual Formation and Discipleship minor to your degree. Complete the form on this page to learn more.


1 Scazzero, P. (2021). Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation. Zondervan. Retrieved Dec. 14, 2023.

2 Practicing The Way. (2019, Oct. 31). Rule of Life Workbook. Retrieved Dec. 14, 2023.

Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Department of Spiritual Life on December 28, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.