I am amazed, at 40, to think about all the thousands of people I have met, worshipped with and enjoyed friendship with, who are no longer walking with God. It seems there are those who start so well, begin in fire, but end in a fizzle.
This has led me recently to think about why that might be, mainly because I don’t want to end up one of them!
The Kiss, the Home, the House
I am a passionate believer in worship being about intimacy. It is, quite literally in the bible, a kiss. But in time I am discovering every kiss needs a marriage. Every marriage needs a home. And every home needs a house. For the fullness of intimacy to be enjoyed, I must protect my intimate relationship with practical “containers” that ensure longevity.
I believe the “container” that protects and ensures longevity in the believer, is the container of “Habit”. A godly, habitual, “being” in God’s presence in prayer and word.
The Power of Habit
Charles Nobel said, “First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” Jim Rohn said “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
A habit is an action we develop after much repetition (28 days if daily), that becomes automatic and subconscious. We wash, shave, dry in a certain way, without thinking about it because we do it daily. Prayer should be as automatic as washing in the morning. “I get up, I pray, I wash. Whether I feel like it or not, I do it. It is not about feeling, it is at first a decision, and then a habit”
It is those who have developed automatic habits of daily spending time with God, that keep going year after year. Those who take the cheap road and “talk to God through their day”, without basing that on quality “alone time”, usually end up backsliding, whether they remain in the pews or leave them. They are either roaming in mis-adventure or smouldering miserable ash heaps left in the pews, where fireballs once stood! The hardest people to lead!
Don’t Be Intimidated!
“Habits are to the soul what the veins and arteries are to the blood, the courses in which it moves” Horace Bushnell said, and I would echo “Habits are to the Holy Spirit’s fire, what arteries are to blood, the channels in which He burns”.
So don’t be intimidated. We all often feel terrible at prayer! Take 5 minutes each morning (if you’re used to none), and chat to God, fiddle around with the bible, listen, journal, read. It only takes small seeds of faith move huge mountains and little keys to open great doors, so you don’t need to start with an hour a day! The smallest commitment to prayer reaps the most amazing rewards. So begin today!
To end, a poem about the power of Habits:
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to
I am completely at your command.
Half of the things you do you might as well turn
over to me and I will do them – quickly and
I am easily managed – you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin –
it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and
I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I? I am Habit.