Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's Your Habit?

Today I finally got around to reading the Spring issue of Church Life, an online magazine put out by the Institute for Church Life through Notre Dame. I haven't finished all the articles (I got caught up watching cute YouTube videos like this one). What I did read was a great article on prayer by Larry Cunningham. He was one of the professors I had during my summers at Notre Dame for Echo.

One line that stuck out to me was, "For the Christian, prayer is not a discrete act done now and again. It is a way of life." How many times do we make it a single act done once in awhile, perhaps when things are rough? It is difficult forming the habit of prayer, but once we do it, we come into the act of "remembering God" easily and keep Him at the forefront of our minds and hearts.

Larry gave these practical tips for developing the habit of prayer:

  1. Begin each day by remembering God and asking for grace for that day.
  2. Cultivate the spirit of gratitude for the gifts we have received.
  3. Remember others, especially those in need, and "lift them up" before God.
  4. One small gesture is to sign ourselves with the sign of the cross; it is both an act of faith in the Holy Trinity and a prayer which says that we do all things "in the Name."

On the first day of the summer class I had with Larry, he told us the simple act of remembering God was prayer itself. I was definitely a fan of that statement! Sometimes it's the simple things that will lead us into habits. Another youth minister I know would tell people to begin the day by quoting from one of the psalms: "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad." On days I don't want to get out of bed, that simple sentence helps motivate me to get up and start my day.

I know I've mentioned the Liturgy of the Hours before on this blog...it's something I used to do all the time in college, but I also had my friends to keep me accountable in praying it with them. It's more difficult when you don't have that community to pray with (in physical terms, of course we are never alone in our prayer). It's definitely one of my favorite forms of prayer because it brings peace to my day, whether it's morning, evening, or night. Here's to starting that habit again and making prayer a way of life!

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