My family and I just spent a week on a western Caribbean cruise, which was fabulous.
What was not fabulous was that I seemed to have forgotten to pack my prayer life, for I did not spend a lot of time in prayer during my vacation.
There were moments of prayer, usually of thanksgiving for things like the glory of the sunrise over the open ocean; the delight in my son’s eyes as he snorkeled for the first time; the joy in bonding with several of the ship’s employees, who worked so hard and sacrificed much to make our trip memorable. There were also brief moments of prayer for several of my family members, quick prayers of intercession and peace for them as they struggled with some very painful issues while we were on our trip.
I was glad for these times when I was focused on God. Yet I was also disturbed that I didn’t take more time to be with Him as I enjoyed this vacation. Not that I expected to spend long hours in prayer as we sailed across the ocean blue. I mean, as it is, I don’t spend long hours in prayer even when I’m on solid ground. But in this period in my life when I’m learning more about prayer and wanting to deepen my relationship with God I don’t want to just put God on hold when it’s convenient for me. I want to learn how to pray regularly. I want to learn how to integrate prayer into my everyday life. I want to practice the discipline of prayer.
So that’s where I am now. I want to begin to become disciplined about prayer and through that, experience God in ways that I never have before. I have no idea how I will do that. But I am encouraged by something that I just read: Thomas a Kempis wrote, “habit overcomes habit.” Right now my habit is not to pray. But by working at it and practicing discipline, by making it my habit, I expect eventually that prayer will become habitual to me. That it will become so much a part of my daily life that I won’t always have to think about it, that it will bubble up on its own and infuse itself in all that I am doing, including those times when I am resting or on vacation.
I’ll let you know how that goes.