One of the great moments in the life of a Christian comes when we realize, once and for all, that a life with prayer is better than a life without prayer.
When people are striving to recover from an addiction to drugs or alcohol they are encouraged not to think about stay clean or sober for the rest of their lives, but to take it one day at a time. If they think about never having another drink, for example, the thought itself can be so overwhelming and seem so impossible that it crushes their spirit and they go back to drinking. If they think about not having a drink today, that seems manageable, possible, and they get one day closer to throwing off their slavery to alcohol.
We establish life-giving habits one day at a time also. If thinking about praying every day for the rest of your life is overwhelming, just take it one day at a time.
Life is a collection of days, and some days are better than others. This may seem obvious, and so we perhaps don’t question it. But why are some days better than others?
If you look back over the past couple of months, a few days were probably great, most days were average, some days were not so good, and perhaps there were even a couple of days that were horrible. But what made the difference? Was it something outside your control or something within your influence?
One thing I have discovered as I become more and more conscious of what is happening within me and around me is that if a day doesn’t get off to a good start it very rarely finishes as a good day. Once a day gets away from us we tend to go into survival mode. And a day can get away from us in so many ways. In fact, a day will almost certainly go wrong unless we consciously take the time to focus the day first thing each morning.
How do your best days begin? Most people don’t know. They have a hunch, but they have simply never thought enough about it or experimented with it. As you being to practice the habit of daily prayer, and if you begin each day with prayer, I think you will discover this changes the way you enter into and experience your daily life. This knowledge will further empower you to harness prayer to give real direction to your life at the beginning of each day.
Begin your day with prayer, however brief. Even if that is not your main time of prayer each day. Even if that is not the time when you use the Prayer Process. Begin your day with prayer.
Over time you will be given a growing awareness of how praying (or not praying) impacts you, your life, your relationships, your work, your health, your decisions, and every aspect of every day. This growing awareness is ordinary and practical, and yet, it is one of the highest spiritual gifts.
After a while, on a day when you don’t follow your regular prayer routine you will feel the difference. You may feel not as joyful, unfocused, stressed, less conscious of what is happening inside you and around you, less capable of giving those you care about the love and attention they deserve, and disconnected from God. It will be as if you feel disconnected from yourself when you don’t start your days in the way that you know works best.
People who have a strong daily habit of prayer know how their best days begin, and the more mature among them (mature in wisdom, not in age) will do almost anything to defend their morning routine. They would rather get up an hour early than forgo their morning prayer. They know that a day that doesn’t start well tends not to end well. It is simply too difficult to shift the momentum of a day.
How do your best days begin? Try beginning your day with prayer, however brief, and observe how it impacts the rest of your day.
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