The Practice of Prayer

How do we become proficient at something?

We practice. Of course, we don’t just go through the motions. We learn the model, the right way. Then we do it over and over until we are proficient almost without thinking.

I’m thinking of a baseball player who practices catching ground balls and making the throw. Over and over until she can do it effortlessly.

The golf pro practices a shot a hundred times a day until muscle memory takes over and he can make the shot in competition.

In Yoga, you don’t go to class, you go to practice. Whenever we roll out the mat, we are practicing.

I once offered to teach a class on prayer. From the beginning, there was a disconnect between the class and me. I wanted them to learn prayer by learning how to practice prayer. They wanted to learn about prayer. They just wanted to go through the Bible or other literature and read what others said about prayer. They wanted a Ph.D. in prayer–a research degree. I wanted for them to become a person in prayer.

When we pray, we should be like the publican or the prodigal, says John Climacus. Pray simply. Many words distract the mind as we search for even more words. People tell me they can’t pray because they don’t know all the words. I tell them, good. You don’t need all the words.

In fact, consider prayer like a conversation where you listen more than talk. You only need a word or phrase and then wait on God with God.

This is the 28th step of 30. We have learned to recognize and overcome the negative and evil emotions, desires, thoughts. We have practice the good habits such as humility , stillness, prayer. Now we are uniting with God.

Practice these and see how you grow as a person.

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