Exodus 90 is a ninety-day spiritual exercise for men based on three pillars: prayer, asceticism, and fraternity. All three of these pillars are essential aspects of the Christian life. It is for this reason that taking up this spiritual exercise requires taking up all three of these pillars humbly.
As men, we are called to participate in a unique way in Christ’s headship. Are you the spiritual leader you need to be? Should your friends and family trust the decisions you make? Should they trust that you will lead them where the Lord is calling them to go, in good times and in bad? Without a life firmly rooted in prayer it is nearly impossible to know where God is leading you. Without a life of daily prayer, it is even harder to be confident that you know where the Lord is asking you to lead your friends and family at any given moment. It’s time to start praying.
During Exodus 90 you will build up a habit of daily prayer. You will commit to praying a holy hour each day. If you can’t do an entire holy hour on a given day, do as much as you can. With a minimum of twenty minutes of silent prayer both speaking to and actively listening to the Lord.
In addition, you will read through the book of Exodus part by part each day. The scripture will be accompanied by a daily reflection. The reflection will help you comprehend the scripture for that day, understand where you are within the spiritual journey, and lead you into that day’s time of prayer with our Lord.
Stay faithful to daily prayer and you will grow in your ability to hear God speaking. This grace and ability will help you live out the spiritual headship our Lord is calling you to as a man.
- Make a daily holy hour.
- Read each day’s provided scripture and reflection.
Asceticism can be simply defined as acts of self-denial. All Christians are called to practice asceticism in some way, even outside of Lent. Beyond growing in freedom and self-mastery, within Exodus 90 you will practice asceticism in two ways, as penance and as offering. Ascetic disciplines help us practice penance for our own sinfulness through concrete outward actions. They also help us make tangible offerings for the good of others, more than praying fruitfully does alone.
The ascetic disciplines laid out in Exodus 90 help each man to detach from the things of the world. The disciplines cover most aspects of our daily lives to help prevent us from turning from one temporal dependency to another. Along with the disciplines for daily prayer, the ascetic disciplines help us turn from the things of this world to God—from that which will never truly satisfy, to the only one who does.
In accord with the disciplines for prayer and fraternity, the following are the ascetic disciplines during Exodus 90:
- Take short, cold showers.
- Practice regular, intense exercise.
- Get a full night’s sleep (at least seven hours is recommended).
- Abstain from alcohol.
- Abstain from desserts and sweets.
- Abstain from eating between meals.
- Abstain from soda or sweet drinks (white milk, black coffee, and black tea are permissible).
- Abstain from television, movies, or televised sports.
- Abstain from video games.
- Abstain from non-essential material purchases.
- Only listen to music that lifts the soul to God.
- Only use the computer for work, school, or essential tasks (e.g., paying bills).
- Only use mobile devices for essential communications; cut out non-essential texting, app, and internet use.
- Take Wednesdays and Fridays as days of fasting. (Abstain from meat and only eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.)
A man living out the ascetic disciplines above without living the disciplines for prayer and fraternity would be doing something, but he would not be doing Exodus 90. Exodus 90 is equally an exercise in prayer as it is in asceticism, and in asceticism as it is in fraternity. Just as we need all three to live out the Christian life, so too we need all three to take up Exodus 90.
This essential aspect of the Christian life is one of the most obvious and yet overlooked aspects of the Christian life today. When we challenge each other to do what is good and hold each other accountable to doing it, great fruits consistently come about. Great fruits, not just for us, but for our entire community. On the other hand, when we isolate ourselves and are held accountable to no one, our lives become a self-serving mess and our community suffers.
During Exodus 90 you will practice fraternity with 4-6 other men in your area. This is not a warm and cuddly, “I’m ok, you’re ok, so we’re all ok” type of fraternity. This is an authentic, “the time is now,” knees on the marble, type of fraternity. A fraternity where men step out of their comfort zone and into the light. A fraternity where accountability brings forth authentic masculinity.
Where will you find men to make this journey with you? You are the protagonist. You will ask God where to find your brothers, and then you will go and intentionally ask them. In your church, your workplace, your club, your family, or your favorite bar, wherever the Lord is calling you to find your brothers, go there and make the invitation.
As a fraternity, you will meet every week for a fraternity meeting. These meetings usually take an hour but can be done in as little as thirty minutes with the “Weekly Meeting Guide.” In addition, you will pair up with one man in your fraternity. That man is your anchor and you are his. Every day you will check in with each other with a text, a call, or in person. Like an anchor in rock climbing and mountaineering, you should be a strong and reliable anchor for your brother. If he starts to fall, you need to be ready to hold his weight, lest you both hit the ground.
The Christian life is not easy. You need brothers and they need you.
- Attend Weekly Fraternity Meetings.
- Check-in with your Anchor daily.
Research on the neuroplasticity of the brain shows us that breaking old habits and building new ones is not only possible but attainable for those who do so for 90 days and onward. The ninety days of Exodus are not a finish line, but a starting line. In these ninety days, you’ll purge yourself of sins and vices, clear the junk out of your life, and open up space for something new, something far better. In these ninety days, you’ll make space for your formation to begin—from the man you once were to the man you truly desire to be.
During Exodus 90, you will encounter your identity as a son of the Father. But in order to grow in your confidence in your relationship with God, and to become a man who lives for others, a man who is the spiritual leader of his family, and a man who can boldly proclaim the words of St. Paul, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me,” takes ongoing practice, accountability, structure, and guidance. This is the work of formation that begins in the Day 91 spiritual exercises that await you after your Exodus.
The road to the life you want to live doesn’t end after these 90 days; it is just the beginning. Welcome to the Exodus Fraternity.