Habits to Form Habits

In the last series of posts on the blog I looked at how we might go about making our faith our own. I shared three things that we could do if we were really serious about wrestling with our faith to make it belong to us, to really own it.

One was to actually put our faith in Christ, to allow him to be the Lord of our lives, to give him the opportunity to act. The second was to read the Bible, a lot, and the third was to pray regularly.

What I’d like to do in this next short series is give some practical tips that might help in building these last two practices in to your life. Please note, these are just suggestions, and are not in any way the final way to get things done. Each of us are individuals, and need to figure out what way most suits each of us, and allows us to connect with God and build our own faith.

Bible Reading

There are so many ways that we could approach both of these habits in order to build them in to your life, but let’s just choose three different ways, per habit, and cover each of them quickly – if you want more detail then please feel free to ask in the comments below, and we can expand on them.
1. Redeem your commute by listening to the Bible.
There are heaps of different ways that you can listen to the bible. YouVersion has many different versions of the Bible, and a lot of them have audio right there, so that you can listen to your favourite verses while you commute. They also have reading plans. Daily Audio Bible is another app you can use on you’re comment. Or you can find your favourite version on YouTube and listen . It’s a great way to get God’s word into you while doing something that you would normally find the time wasted.
2. Make an appointment in your calendar super early, and get up to spend time reading and studying.
This one is a little more difficult, but you could set your alarm for an early time in the morning, before anyone else is up, and then spend that time reading and studying the bible. This is often a great time to do it, because the house is quiet, and you are often the most focussed in the morning when you’ve just woken up. If you are looking for plans, there are plenty out there – Google has a tonne, again YouVersion has thousands, and often your physical bible will have some in them that you can use to read through the whole bible in a year.
3. Make it a part of your morning/evening routine
Just before you go to bed, read the bible. Often things that you do just before sleep have a way of staying with you. When you get up, read the bible, while you’re brushing your teeth, read the bible, while you are eating breakfast – read the bible. While you’re in the shower… maybe not… unless you’ve got a waterproof bible – then why not read the bible? Read the bible to your kids, read the bible to your spouse, read the bible to yourself. If you want to make the habit stick, then one of the fastest ways to do that is to add it to some of your existing habits.

Prayer

Let’s move on to talk about prayer. Again, there are so many different ways that you could build this habit into your life, but I’m just going to cover three of them:
1. Redeem your commute
Again, this time in your day is a gold mine of possibilities, because it is often spent looking out the window, or listening to some crappy talkback radio, or mindlessly listening to music while you complain about the terrible drivers around you. But there are guided prayer apps that you might want to use to help you pray as you go to work. Abide is one, Pray As You Go is another. Again, YouVersion is a gold mine for this sort of stuff, so make sure that you check them out and sign up. If you want to get really Catholic you could always go with the Divine Office…
2. Set your alarm for each hour and say a short prayer
This is a great way to either make prayer a habitual part of the day, or really annoy the heck out of you! If you have one of those watches that you can set to beep on the hour, then you can use that as a reminder to shoot a quick prayer up – even if it’s something as simple as, “Jesus, have mercy on me.” That way you are able to make it a part of your day, and it will become habitual for you to remember that God is with you, that he is involved in every area of your life.
3. Make it a part of your lunch break/any break each day.
Another great thing to do is to, any time that you get a break, be it at work, university, or school, to make the first thing that you do a prayer. This might be something as simple as “Thank you Jesus that I get a break now!” It’s actually not so much about the exact content as it is about the connection that you’re making with Jesus at the time.
There are heaps of others that you could do as well, you could make your own prayer beads, you could pray the ‘Kyrie’ prayer, you could say The Lord’s Prayer, you could pray a Psalm. The possibilities are almost endless. I will start another series on some other habits that you might want to pursue in order to grow your faith soon, so stay tuned.

Question: What habit do you think that you would like to build into your life? Why? How would you go about it?

Featured image credit:Deepal Pallav Suthar

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