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A Prayer Resolution for the New Year

Thursday, January 02, 2014

In this excerpt from 10 Prayers You Can't Live Without, Rick Hamlin shares tips on how you can keep your daily prayer time.

By Rick Hamlin, New York, New York

If I could only pass on one piece of advice about prayer, this would be it: Pick a time and place for prayer and try to do it every day. Don’t be too ambitious about how much time you devote to it. Better to take on a challenge that’s manageable than one that’s going to overwhelm you and frustrate you until you finally give up.

Whenever experts talk about New Year’s resolutions, they always stress that you should give yourself an achievable goal. Working out at the gym for an hour and a half five days a week is not going to hold if you’ve barely set foot in the place in the last year. Do something small. Better that it can grow into something bigger than you slacking off and giving up altogether.

If it’s only going to be five minutes, then five minutes it is. Perfect. Five minutes of quiet with just you and your prayers and God listening, or you listening to God, is impressive. If you can do that, congratulate yourself. It’s an accomplishment you should be proud of. You’ve made a place for God in your life. You will reap the benefits.

My insistence on a particular place for prayer might surprise you. Can’t you pray anywhere? Isn’t God everywhere? “If I take the wings of the morning,” the psalmist says, “and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me and thy right hand shall guide me.” Yes, God is everywhere. But the external stimuli of a familiar place are going to help you connect.

Familiarity does not breed contempt in the spiritual life. Familiarity makes it all the easier. You’re here for a regular conversation, “Hi, God.” You don’t want to be thinking about the furniture or what color the drapes are. If you give yourself some concentrated, uninterrupted, dedicated time to spend with God, prayer will come easier.

This article is excerpted from 10 Prayers You Can't Live Without.
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