First of all, an apology – things are a little flat out for me at the moment, and I’m really aware that I’m writing this about 30 hours than a lot of people expected it. Sorry. I’ll try not to let this happen again.
Discipline. It’s not a very nice word, is it? If you’re subject to it, then there’s likely to be some degree of pain or discomfort to you as a result; if you’re required to practice it, then you’re likely to be attempting something counter-cultural.
Because of course, we live in a world of short-cuts, short attention spans, and short tempers. We pace in front of the microwave; we get frustrated if BBC iPlayer takes too long to load. And in that cultural context, it’s sometimes hard to behave consistently. To return to the same behaviour, day after day, because doing so is good for us. It’s much more intuitive for us to flit around, to jump from one activity to the next, to follow distractions and pursue whatever interests us.
So regular, disciplined prayer is perhaps a different proposition in the age of distraction. In simpler times, with less things and individuals competing 24/7 for our attention, it was arguably easier to set aside regular time to pray and reflect (or maybe it was just difficult for other reasons). To do so today requires discipline; an effort of the will. So here’s this week’s challenge:
17: Pray for 15 minutes a day, at the same time for five days.
It’s a little exercise in discipline and consistency – but it also might yield some exciting results. This idea has slightly been stolen from Jackie Pullinger – and look what she’s achieved!
Pray about whatever you like, although I’d suggest you make it the same topic or situation.