In the movie, a nun walked through the dormitory ringing a bell at daybreak. Each nun, in their matching nightgowns, slipped out of bed onto their knees. You could hear the murmur of morning prayers.
After watching it, I decided I should pray first also. For several weeks, I prayed before reading my Bible.
Then I remembered a Sunday School song I learned as a child. It said, “Read your Bible and pray.” Maybe I should read my Bible first?
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present legalism! It’s perfectionism on steroids.
Matthew 6:1, “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” The Message
I found my attention wandering while I prayed. I kept a notepad nearby to write items that I didn’t want to forget.
Matthew 6:6, “Here’s what I want you to do. Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.” The Message
For years, I wrote in my journal before I read or prayed. I stopped because I thought that wasn’t putting God first. Then I read the devotional from Proverbs 31 MInistries.
“He brought some beautiful, simple tools into my life that have allowed me to find peace and even joy in prayer. …a pre-prayer journal routine that settles my thoughts and quiets my mind. …” “How to Prioritize Prayer in Your Crazy, Busy Life,” Amy Carroll, Proverbs 31 Ministries
Prayer is a private, personal thing. God is working on me where no one sees. But God will do His best for me.
Matthew 6:30, “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers – most of which are never seen – don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?” The Message
Do you have a pre-prayer routine?
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P.S. I should have waited to publish this post. In the sermon last night, Pastor Monte Knudsen spoke on “perfection.”
“We think perfection means without flaw. Yet the Greek word used here, teleios, means complete, finished, or mature. …To perfect something is a process to completion. …James 1:17 tells us every gift is perfect and complete but it isn’t completely developed in our life. …We are all in the process of completion. …” Monte Knudsen, 1-2-19
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