Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Exercise your prayer muscle

I've recently begun to make more of an effort to get into shape. This has meant going to the gym every day. I have to make myself go every day so that it will become a habit for me.

When I don't go to the gym, it's not really that I don't want to work out because it's uncomfortable or I don't like exercise. It's really because I get bored and get distracted. I have an extremely long attention span, but staying on the treadmill for 30 minutes requires concentration on something in which I'm not that interested.

As I walking and running today, I was thinking about prayer and how many people talk about their difficulty in praying consistently. I think prayer is an exercise. It's an exercise of our spiritual muscle, our faith muscles. If you haven't been doing it for a while, it's hard. Yet we all (well, most of us) want to be like those prayer warriors we know- the spiritual equivalent of marathon runners.

The thing is, you have to start slow. A short prayer before a meal. A prayer of thanks before bed. A meditation on your day during your shower. Eventually your endurance will build and you will be able to concentrate in longer stretches and listen, as well as speak, to God.

And not everyone can be a marathon runner. Luther reminds us that we can begin our day with "Dear God" and say "amen" just before falling asleep- everything in the middle, that is- our whole day, is our prayer.

No comments: