A good friend shared with me a great prayer lesson. He said, “When I focus on God and not praying then it becomes so much easier. ” It reminded me of a quote by Abraham Heschel, a jewish Rabbi, who said, “The focus of prayer is not prayer, but God.” Sometimes, I forget this. When I started my one hour a day prayer discipline for Lent, I can honestly confess that I was more focused on getting the “task” of prayer done, than God. I think that much of this was symptomatic of the struggle of simply carving out an hour of time for prayer from my day. After I learned to do that I could settle more into prayer and really become focus on God and hearing God’s voice.
Now at three weeks of practice, my perception is that I am somewhere in the midst of that transition. When I allow my prayer time to wind up being one hour at the end of the day, it is easy for it to feel like and become a task to be accomplished. That’s really a dis-service to God. The danger here is that prayer could easily become a lifeless legalistic behavior. As I gain more insight into how to prevent that, I will share.
In the spirit of practical discipleship though I can’t end this without at least one nugget of applicable help to prevent legalism. The first is–Vary your routine enough to keep from getting in a rut. A routine is a two-edged sword. On one side it helps you maintain consistency; yet on the other side you can easily become lulled into just going through motions. Varying your routine periodically will continually bring mindfulness to your actions.
Blessings to you from The Practical Disciple, John Arnold