Out on my route I have this customer, he is a real nice guy but he can get so annoying. If I arrive before he does he says “What, no business?” or “What, nothing better to do?” Should I arrive after him it is always the same thing “You’re late.” I have to believe that after all these years it is nothing but habit for him to make these statements.
Habits it seems are difficult to form unless we are not trying to start a habit in which case they seemingly form after only one time, lol. The dictionary defines a habit as an acquired behavior pattern followed regularly until it has become almost involuntary, a customary practice, a dominant or regular practice or tendency, an addiction.
Habits, especially in that last use if the word can be troublesome. The Pharisees had a real big problem with this and Jesus often git after them about their traditions (habits) because they did not honor God nor took care of humans (Matthew 12 as an example) in fact some of their habits or traditions had been designed to benefit themselves to the outright exclusion of their own parents (Mark 7:10-13).
Now don’t get me wrong a great many things that we do out of habit are good to do. Such as saving our change up to help pay for vacation or in my case to print my book. I am reminded of a habit
I became convicted of a few years back. When I would get up to go to work I would go through my normal routine, washroom, get dressed, take meds, grab my lunch, and leave for work. If something was bothering me I would say a quick prayer and be off. The conviction part was that I wasn’t taking the time out to really pray before leaving the house and I justified it by my need for a couple more minutes of sleep. One night at revival the preacher was talking about praying like Daniel did three times each day. And how those three times were most likely at set times and we need some set times in our lives beyond the “this is an emergency time”.
So I started getting up ten minutes earlier and prayed. Where I have learned that I must be careful so that this good habit doesn’t turn bad is in the actual prayer itself. Praying as soon as I wake up before I climb out of bed is good but my mind isn’t fully awake and can easily go on autopilot and start saying the same words I have prayed before. We are not to use repetition (Matthew 6:7) and I believe part of the reason is to make us think about what we are saying. God doesn’t want us to mindlessly say things, He wants it to come from our heart. Could you imagine having the exact same conversation with someone every day several times each day? Yet many people try to do that with God.
No wonder the disciples asked Jesus to “teach us to pray” in Luke 11:1. They wanted to know how to properly hold a conversation with the Almighty. When Jesus gave them the Model Prayer He gave them and us a framework to conform our prayers to not to make a habit or tradition or a ritual. God truly wants to talk to us. We talk in our praying and He talks when we read His word the Bible. Both are great habits for us to get into.