I’ve experimented with many different habits over the years.
Everything from writing daily to doing 100 pushups a day (something I did for 777 days straight).
However, the biggest daily habit I’ve ever committed to is to publish a new blog post every day for 10 years.
I’m on Day #207, and even though it sometimes is still a struggle to publish something before midnight, I feel like it’s now an “established” habit. In other words, it’s just a normal part of my life now (like brushing my teethe and putting on deodorant).
So now I’m ready to start my next habit.
Choosing a new habit is always an interesting process for me.
There are so many habits I would love to form. And I’m tempted to start five new ones at once (I’ve tried that before and failed miserably).
So I’ve learned that it’s best if I focus on ONE habit at a time. After considering my options I finally settled on prayer as the next daily habit I really want to establish in my life.
My Criteria for Daily Habits
Here’s some of the criteria I used to make this decision.
1) Needed to be Long-Term: I’m tired of starting and stopping so many habits. I’d rather have “less but better” habits in my life. So this next habit had to be something I could see myself doing for at least the next 5, 10 or 20 years.
2) Needed to be A Keystone Habit: Ever since I read the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, I became intrigued by something he calls “keystone habits.” Here’s a good post by James Clear about keystone habits.
3) Something I Could Go Deep In: Another book I love is Deep Work by Cal Newport. Newport talks about the value of doing deep work and mastering a topic or skill. So I wanted my next habit to be something I could potentially go deeper and deeper in as the years progressed.
4) Had to Be Measurable: One of my rules for daily habits is that they need to be clearly defined so I can know if I did it or not. For example, my Publish habit is clear: if I publish a new blog post that day then I can check that day off as a success and my streak continues.
After thinking about my options I decided “prayer” met all this criteria. Plus, it’s something I’m very interested in and excited to learn more about.
It’s not like I don’t pray already. It’s just that it’s usually done in the cracks between my other daily duties, like when I’m driving, going for a walk or right before I read my Bible.
But I want to go deeper. There’s been seasons of my life, especially in my early 20’s right after I got saved, where I spent a lot of time praying and it had a major impact on my life. So I’ve already “tested the waters” and I know it’s worth it.
After I decided on prayer one of the first questions I had was, “How much time should I pray daily?”
At first I chose 15 minutes. I thought it’d be better to do a little every day than to over-commit and quit a few weeks later.
However, on Day 1 (yesterday) I realized I needed more than 15 minutes if I was going to “do this right” versus it just being a dead religious routine.
So as I thought about how long it should be (30 minutes? More?) a thought hit me: ‘why not make it as long as one of my Focus Sessions?’
At work I use the Pomodoro Technique to knock out my most important tasks in the mornings. I use an Android app called Brain Focus where I work for 47 minutes (a focus session) and then break for 13 minutes.
So I decided that my prayer times will be the equivalent of one Focus Session (47 minutes). I did this last night and again this morning.
My prayer muscles felt a little “rusty” going for this long right out of the gate but it was good.
Since I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit back in 2004 I’ve had a prayer language I get to use when I run out of things to pray for in English. So I alternate between praying in tongues and praying in English.
There are several reasons why I want to make prayer a habit in my life.
Someone once told me that your reasons are the most important part of any goal or habit you set. If they are strong enough you’ll succeed. If they’re not then you’ll likely abandon your new habit or goal when the going gets tough.
So here are some of the reasons why I want to make prayer an established habit. If you’re considering this then maybe some of these reasons will also inspire you.
5 Reasons Why I Want to Make Prayer a Daily Habit
1) I want to change the world: I have this weird desire in me to do something that “changes the world.” And I can think of no better conduit than prayer to accomplish this.
2) I want to see results, faster: I believe that by partnering with God I’ll be able to see results in my life, business and ministry faster than if I tried to do it on my own. So this appeals to me a lot.
3) I want to hear from God more: I’ve had experiences here and there where I’ve heard from God and I’m telling you, there’s no greater feeling in the world than to know you accurately heard from God. Just the other day a friend of mine asked me to pray for him about potentially moving to Idaho. He never told me the city name but I heard “Meridian” in my spirit and mentioned it to him in an email. He was blown away and took it as confirmation that they were to move to Meridian, the city they were already considering. It was just so fun to be able to hear God and play a part in what he does for people. I want more of that!
4) I want my own faith life: I love hearing stories of revival and about how great men and women of God accomplished mighty things for God. It inspires me. But I want my own faith life. I don’t want to have to rely on anyone else for healing, miracles or supernatural experiences.
5) I believe it will help my in all areas: I believe prayer has the ability to transform me in every area of life. It will benefit my role as a husband, father, businessman, friend and writer.
So for those reasons I’m taking the plunge and committing to this as my new daily habit.
Every now and then I’ll try to remember to check and let you know how it’s going. If you pray daily please let me know what lessons you’ve learned to make it part of your normal life. Thanks!