Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Religious Rites and Happy Habits

Religious Rites and Happy Habits

I was asked a couple of simple questions, for which I have no firm answer yet:

What is God saying to you about your heart right now? What adjustments do you need to make to be more real with God and others about your faith?

Here's my response:

There are a few simple habits which I treasure, toward which I look forward, and for which I plan and allot time:

  • Daily, I clean my body and arrange my hair and dress to be comfortable and acceptable to others.
  • Daily, I grind flavored coffee beans and press them through hot water to make a beverage that refreshes me and pleases my senses.
  • Daily, I listen to a wide variety of music, played on a pocket-sized electronic device. The music relaxes, enlivens, encourages and intrigues my mind.
  • Daily, I read and reply to messages and news from friends, my community and my circle of interests and passions.

I do these things daily, without fail, without complaint, and with great enjoyment. I treasure them, in the sense that if I were to be denied any of them, I would feel sad and deprived. I treasure them, in the sense that I look forward to them daily and I allow time for them...without fail. I think about doing them beforehand, I ensure that I have time for them, I enjoy them as they occur, and I look forward to tomorrow's experience with them.

Why do I not have this same heart for prayer and giving?

It's not the small amount of time that I spend for which I'm feeling guilty...I don't feel that God is asking me to spend more time praying, or that I should be giving more money to those in need. It is my "heart" that is missing. I do not treasure the opportunities to pray or to give. I do not look forward daily to praying or giving. I do not set aside specific times in which to pray or give, and I do not enjoy prayer or giving as it occurs, unless it occurs when I am in trouble or unless I am personally connected to one to whom I give.

Is prayer and giving simply a religious rite for which I feel an obligation in order to secure God's favor? What can I do to "muster" a desire for daily, unfailing, cheerful prayer and giving?

Study questions provided by Serendipity House and Lifeway Christian Resources, "Who We Really Are", a study of excellence based on Romans 1-7.

Image provided by Jeff Kubina,, Creative Commons license.