Reaping the Blessing of Habitual Prayer

Habits! Some are good. Some are annoying. I remember my mother fussing at
my father for twiddling his thumbs. If his hands weren’t busy with some form of
construction, they were resting on his lap with fingers interlocked and thumbs
rhythmically circling each other.
 
My husband used to pop his knuckles. He started his ritual by pulling his pinky,
progressed one digit at a time until all 10 yielded the pop-pop-crack, and then returned to
press each finger inward toward his palm thus releasing another joint. After ten finger
and ten knuckle cracks, he would intertwine his fingers, invert and extend his hands away
from his body, and apply pressure to insure that no joint had gone unattended. That
accomplished, the ritual would begin all over again.
 
Thankfully, not all habits are designed to test the patience level of a spouse.
Some habits are formed out of a conscience decision to repeat a behavior that is either
useful or pleasing. Such is my husband’s and my habit of drinking our morning coffee.
Now that the more tepid days of spring have arrived, we are able to sit outside on our
glider, which is located on the back deck of our home.
 
We rise early; he usually hits the brew button on the coffee pot; I set out the cup-
of-choice for the morning. First one out the door puts the cushions on the swing and
reports if a warm blanket is required. We fill our cups, sit down, and begin the gentle
backward and forward movement of the glider.
 
The habit of morning coffee provides us the chance to reflect over the events of
yesterday or discuss the schedules of that day. Sometimes we have serious things about
which to converse. Other mornings begin with review and analysis of our favorite T.V.
show that we watched the night before. We almost never miss the opportunity to
comment on the beauty of creation, whether we are observing the sky, the lake, or our
favorite winged friends. Mornings at the Amsden household (now that the kids are
grown) are peaceful and pleasant.
 
The best part of our morning-coffee-glider habit is the prayer time we share. We
daily bow our heads to thank the Lord for His bounty and His blessing. Next, we take
our burdens to God. Between our five children, their families, our friends, our church,
and our nation, we have a plethora of burdens about which we offer petitions. There, in
the serenity of our outside prayer closet, we follow the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer
asking for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
 
G. D. Boardman is known for the saying, “Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit,
reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” Over four decades ago we became
Christians and were taught about the act of prayer, which has become our firmly
entrenched routine. According to Boardman, habits are building blocks for character and
destiny. I believe he is correct. The Bible confirms that prayer has the potential to build
personal godliness and release heaven’s providence.
 
Habits! Some are good. Some are annoying. Prayer may not replace every
thumb-twiddling, knuckle-popping repetitive behavior that humans are prone to develop;
but it is a habit from which we can reap blessing both in this life and that which is to
come.

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~Dr. Patti Amsden