Improving your habits for spiritual transformation
How long does it take to form a habit? Perhaps as short as 6 weeks – or over half a year! “It takes an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic”, says healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-to-form-a-habit#takeaway
Roy Godwin reminds us that “establishing godly habits is like taking new spiritual ground: it has to be fought for with God’s help, then fortified, then watched.”
Here are some ideas to start improving your habits for spiritual transformation:
Prayer – get up each day at an hour where you can spend 15 minutes totally uninterrupted before you start your day. Finish your day in the same way. Try for some point in the afternoon too. Also, get apps, books, and prayer partners to help you.
Bible reading – aim to read the equivalent of a chapter each day. Take a half hour if you can. If your mind drifts, re-read it; ask God to show you something new; read it slowly; read the footnotes; take time to cross reference. Have a journal nearby to write down thoughts that might be God speaking to you.
Silence and Solitude – different things that go together. How long can you stand being in an empty room? Don’t say anything to God or anybody. Of course, don’t even look at your device. Don’t write anything down unless you’re truly inspired or have to note down a job you just realised you must do. Try that for at least 15 minutes a day, and/or take it in 2 hour chunks each week.
Lately, I haven’t lengthened my prayer times; I’ve added more chunks; and that took some effort to fit them. But they had to be different and something exciting to my heart – something life-giving: so in my late afternoons I used my pray-as-you-go app that’s a gentle but nourishing 15 minutes of devotional time (of music, reflection, scripture and prayer) that I can just hit the play button and soak it in. For the late morning I use my prayer cards gleaned from Oxford Book of Prayer, and take just one and keep on praying it ever more slowly each day, such as this one: ……. Written by…
As many prayer warriors have noted, posture of the body is part of the prayer. Think about what standing up means. It is my habit to start my day by praying while standing up, hands raised, as I call out words of adoration and commitment to God. I have several silent pauses to hear any thoughts from God and keep praying these aloud. Then I pary the Lord’s prayer slowly and deliberately.
What does it mean to kneel before God? This is how I end the day before going to sleep. I take usual 10-15 minutes and just remain in silence and let my heart connect to God’s Spirit within me.
“For this is what the high and exalted One says-- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isiah 57:15
“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalms 27:4
“Surely, I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.…” Psalm 131:2