We’re all creatures of habit. But, we all know how difficult it can be to be disciplined, whether it’s a diet, budgeting, or anything else that presents itself as a challenge. Some habits are more easily formed than others. I, like millions of others, log on to...
We’re all creatures of habit.
But, we all know how difficult it can be to be disciplined, whether it’s a diet, budgeting, or anything else that presents itself as a challenge.
Some habits are more easily formed than others.
I, like millions of others, log on to Facebook every day. Personally, I’m not very serious with it. I post goofy stuff, mostly Star Wars affiliated pictures. (So, don’t friend me unless you like pictures of little Lego Stormtroopers on their day off.) But, many people use Facebook to connect, reconnect, share and reach out.
During this past Lent, however, I gave up Facebook and kept a prayer journal instead. I learned a great deal from this simple change.
First and foremost, I realized that I had been going to others rather than going to God.
Facebook is such a great outlet for frustrations, fishing for support, and even passing on prayer concerns. And, again, all of this can be great for parts of our relational selves.
But, I noticed that while I was doing this I was not going to God with any of my concerns and worries. Worse, in some cases, we may treat Facebook much like the internet prayer service Jim Carrey’s character, Bruce, created in Bruce Almighty. We post our worries and joys there hoping others will read and validate them. It is not much different from sending an email to a hopefully concerned diety.
But, where is the relationship?
I realized I was not going to God for that relationship, but posting on Facebook. The prayer journal highlighted this. Prayer journals do not have to have professional looking prayers. By keeping it like a journal, it is more like a conversation with God.
- “Why did this happen?”
- “Why did I lose my temper today?”
- “Please help my neighbor.”
- Or, “thank you for all I have.”
German philosopher, Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.”
In the medieval mystical tradition, the simpler the better. In The Cloud of Unknowing, the author states, “Short prayer penetrates heaven.” So, say ‘God’ when we desire good and say ‘help’ when we need help. Much like diets and budgets, the best way to start is the simplest.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I went back to Facebook after Lent and there are plenty of pictures of little Lego Stormtroopers. But, I cannot let that habit overshadow and over take the development of my relationship with God.
The prayer journal helps focus my intentions and attention. It is a discipline. And, it is one aspect of a relationship with God.
A more recent book, Never Pray Again, suggests that prayer is over prescribed. That doesn’t mean we should stop praying. Prayer, in the ‘unceasing’ form Paul wrote of, should be an action of our life, not just a verbal, interior contemplative exercise.
Pray first for God to form His will in you so you can then put that prayer into action in the world around you.Share on Facebook Tweet This Pin This