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Developing Spiritual Habits: Prayer

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Developing Spiritual Habits

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When a Spiritual Habit is Hard
Opening Illustration
The wind in my sail
Spurgeon has said
“Nothing brings such leanness into a man’s soul as lack of prayer”
21 days
What this research suggests is that 21 days to form a habit is probably right, as long as all you want to do is drink a glass of water after breakfast. Anything harder is likely to take longer to become a really strong habit, and, in the case of some activities, much longer.Jan 2, 2014
On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally's study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
In other words, if you want to set your expectations appropriately, the truth is that it will probably take you anywhere from two months to eight months to build a new behavior into your life — not 21 days.
Prayer is a vital link to a successful spiritual life.
My Grandmother taught me how to pray as a young person.
Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take Read more at
The prayer goes on: by Henry Johnston
Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take. If I should live for other days, I pray the Lord to guide my ways.
Father, unto thee I pray, Thou hast guarded me all day; Safe I am while in thy sight, Safely let me sleep tonight. Bless my friends, the whole world bless; Help me to learn helpfulness; Keep me every in thy sight; So to all I say good night Read more at
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray and later modeled importance of prayer when asking … feeding for the 5,000 and when in difficult times as in the Garden of Gethseme
Matthew 6:9–13 KJV 1900
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Daniel was a man of prayer not only once a day, but three times a day.
Daniel wasn’t living at Home.
Daniel and three of His friends were taken as prisoners to a foreign land after seeing everything they held dear destroyed.
The Babylonian Empire was a it’s Zeneith at the times. 605-530B.C.
The Babylonians were ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar.
We can learn so much from these Hebrew teens as the culture around them was so against them.
The loyalists to Yahweh followed God even while rising in position in several of Kingdoms. Kings and Kingdoms come and go, but God abides for ever.
God reveals Himself in chapters 1-6 with court stories.
The four are loyal to God.
The God’s miraculous deliverance of them
Gentile Kings’s acknowledging the greatness of Israel’s God
Daniel as the God-gifted interpreter of dreams
These four things emphases the Sovereignty of God.
God then reveals himself in chapters 7-12 with coming stories.
I don’t think prayer was new to Daniel … I think it was just like breathing to him.
He was always talking to God at least three times a day.
Daniel 6
Four Parts of Daniels Prayer Life. vs 10
Daniel’s Prayer streak wasn’t motivated by Popularity.
Daniel wasn’t going to let anything change what he knew God wanted Him to do.
Daniel wan’t a coward. He knew he had to obey God rather than men. Remember the reason for this foolishness in the first place. They wanted to trap Daniel. God doesn’t play those foolish games.
Daniel had to make a decision. He could have closed the windows. Could have hidden his prayer. No way live out loud.
2. Daniel’s Prayer streak was motivated by Priority
a. Really didn’t care what anyone thought.
b. He prayed even when he knew the paper was signed
c. He kept his window open. Not hearing, but seeing.
d. Let them get thirsty with questions.
3. Daniel Prayer streak was manifested by Position
a. Daniel was in a position of submission. I submit.
b. Powerful since he was so far from Home.
c. He was praying the same prayer promise made by Solomon in , , and Jonah in
d. Why was Daniel so strong … week streak…
e. Daniel never forgot home. Let us never forget Christ.
4. Daniel Prayer streak was mundane by Practice
a. All very simple. Not very hard. It wasn’t flashy.
b. He just did it. He just prayed as he had done before.
c. Sometimes we get bored.
d. We view our spiritual life as boring.
e. I thing of the Offensive line men. The Ravens play the Chargers today in an all important playoff game, but although the QB is important so also is the linemen.
In an Article from Desiring God Bonnie McKernan gives Seven Steps to Strengthen Prayer
Set Prayer Apart
Learn to withdraw
Have a posture of prayer
Pray Scripture
Show me your glory ().
Turn my eyes from worthless things ().
Show me a sign of your goodness ().
Let no sin rule over me ().
You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing ().
Pray Fervently
Pray specifically
Pray for and with others
Do you have a bad habit you would like to cut out? You may just be able to relate to some of these 'negative' behaviour patterns.  
‘What's a bad habit you never knew you did until someone pointed it out to you?’ Thousands have replied to the question posted on a popular Ask Reddit thread.
From annoying your co-workers, food faux pas or always focusing on yourself – do you share any of these bad habits?

1. Clicking 

"I was the guy that constantly clicked a retractable pen. It was always a subconscious habit of mine. My awakening came when I was having a conversation with somebody while my boss was nearby. Mid-conversation, my boss walks over, looks me dead in the eye and silently takes the pen from my hand. No words were exchanged, but I understood. I would like to say that I'm much more conscious of this habit now." - Canofmeat

2. The leg bounce 

"Bounce my leg all the time, to the point where the driver in a car can feel it at a stop light." - Black38

3. Eating too fast 

"I eat really fast, but it's not intentional. I knew I did it, but my fiancée pointed out to me that I chew really loud apparently. Even though I chew with my mouth closed." - Mattxy8

4. Focusing on yourself

"Changing the conversation to focus on myself. In my mind I'm adding things to the conversation, but to others I'm being narcissistic. I'm much more aware of it now. Anyway enough about me, let's talk about you." - imightbeaspider

5. Always apologising 

"I'm constantly apologetic for everything, even things I have no control over. Had no idea until my best friend told me how annoying it is." - better-off-ted

6. Stopping mid-sentence 

"I've cut it out, but for a long time, I had a habit of starting a sentence, pausing, then saying 'Nevermind'. It drove everyone crazy. Didn't realise how frustrating it was until someone did it to me." - deedubya139

7. Always saying 'like' 

"Saying the word 'like', like way too like often." - Tom-Barban

8. Saying 'what' before answering a question 

"I say 'what?' before answering questions sometimes, even though I heard you. I'll go 'what?', hesitate, and then answer." - twinb27

9. Dodging questions 

"Dodging questions. They aren't even necessarily questions that are personal. It's like I have an aversion to being questioned. This has led to people being suspicious of my motives even when they aren't sinister. Realised after a close friend asked how I spent my afternoon and I kept trying to change the topic. Eventually he confronted me about it. I spent my afternoon playing with my cat and reading a book."

10. Wasting napkins 

"I subconsciously go through a lot napkins when eating burgers or messy food like spaghetti. Or sometimes just normal food. Like, a lot. And I usually don't even realise it." - alternateSCRiPT

11. Poor posture 

"Poor posture, I honestly don't really think about it but when someone points it out its obvious." - Outerflux

12. Talking too loud 

"I talk too loud. I have to make a conscious effort when I'm excited to speak at a reasonable volume." - Fuego_pants

13. Being too sarcastic 

"I sometimes answer people in a sarcastic tone even when I don't mean to. Friend tells group good news Me: 'wow.. That's awesome'. Friends look at me uncomfortably Me: (higher pitched) wow! No really congrats!
"My sisters pointed this out to me. I don't mean to be mean, at least not all the time." - Desert_Unicorn

14. Humming when eating

"I sometimes hum while I eat. Especially when I am enjoying what I'm eating. This has come up recently as my youngest daughter is starting to do the same thing. Each spoonful of baby food is accompanied by 'hmmmm mm mm mm mm.'" - openletter8

15. Avoiding eye contact 

"I don't make eye contact with people when I talk to them. It's not a natural thing for me to do and people have told me that I look like I'm staring into their soul when I do so. So, I don't do it to people." - ridethelightning98

16. Making loaded comments 

"Making loaded comments designed to confuse or incite reaction." - JoanFoster

17. Interrupting people

"I always interrupt people and ever since it was pointed out to me I've been shocked by how often I've had to stop myself butting in." - everestsam98

18. Never saying goodbye on the phone 

"I never say goodbye when talking on the phone, I'll literally just hang up when I am done. So I'll say, okay meet you at the restaurant at 6, then disconnect." - Romaneccer

19. Nail-biting

"Nail biting and fidgeting with my fingers." - earlymorningsnooz

20. Fake laughing 

"I have quite possibly the most noticeable fake laugh. My friends pointed out to me that whenever I do it, I go from laughter to straight face in a split second." - sondrawers
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