At the start of the year our vision sermon laid out four habits that we desire to grow in for our church body to be healthy. We would like to become a church that 1) Worships authentically, 2) Prays dependently, 3) Serves powerfully and 4) Dies to ourselves daily.
To help us make progress in those habits, some of the methods in Justin Earley’s book, The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction have been greatly helpful for some in our church body. During Advent season, a purposeful goal of reading Scripture before looking at our phone screens helped many begin the day with a new focus.
Now, during the upcoming Lent season, we as a church would like to turn to another daily habit found in The Common Rule. During the forty days of Lent from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, we are going to commit to kneeling in prayer three times a day, in the morning, afternoon, and night. This is a part of what Earley calls “building the trellis of habit,” which allows our growth as Christians to be fruitful and productive, not misguided and disoriented.
We do two things when we kneel in prayer three times per day. The first is that we bookend our day in the company of God, and when we frame our time by being in conversation with the Lord, we are focusing our hearts and minds on the most important thing possible. The second is in the physical act itself. When we kneel in prayer, we are making a conscious decision to stop whatever it is we are doing (reading, watching TV, corralling children) and stating that the most important thing for us is to be still and know that God is God (Isa. 46:10).
There are three easy ways to start this habit:
- Use written prayers – reading what someone else has already written can help the words start to flow. Reading a Psalm or something from the Book of Common Prayer.
- Alarms and reminders – if you find focus and remembering to pray difficult, use your phone as a tool, not a distraction!
- Praying with the body – when we kneel to pray, we are marking the moment with physicality and humility. If kneeling is physically challenging or you are in public, try gently turning up your palms, setting your hands on your knees, or walking to a window.
During this season on the church calendar that prepares us for Easter, our prayer is that we become ever more dependent upon God to sustain and deepen our relationship with him.
Below is a video from Justin Earley explaining the daily habit of kneeling prayer.