Prayer can be such a difficult habit for me to craft, because my life has such a variable rhythm to it. My days as a mother are varied in amounts of sleep and many different kinds of obligations. Worst of all, when I’m feeling busy or harried, I’m less likely to pray, even though I need it more. I tend to make time for prayer in the extremes: when it’s easy to do so, or when I’m at a breaking point.
The thing about prayer is that it’s a habit of preventative medicine and quiet persistence. It’s much like strength training–small, only slightly difficult exercise that push you just a bit farther, but that helps you lift the heavy things in life when it really comes down to it.
So when I’m not working to persist in my prayer habits on a daily basis, I weaken myself. When I neglect my body–its strength, to move and lift with care, or to stretch and train well–I literally stumble around and injure myself more. This is true if I neglect my prayers–I will injure myself spiritually if I do not persevere.
And so I’ve come up with some prayer stations in the house to aid me in tiny little prayer workouts, if you will. These are in addition to the icon corners. They’re the little places where I post prayers that I want to say first thing in the morning (the bathroom mirror) or last thing at night (beside my bed).
I’ve also taken to making it easy to feed myself with Orthodox and faith-related content. The saying, “You are what you eat,” can be quite true when it come to media (books, TV, movies, roadside advertisements, magazines, internet content, even your e-mail). I think about taking my “daily Orthodox multivitamin” in the form of a podcast or a short scripture reading. Sometimes I’m working bit by bit on a larger book.
These small acts will build on themselves (by the grace of God), and help me to continually turn to God. I become stronger not out of my own effort, but by taking more opportunities to fill my heart and mind with God and developing that relationship. Opening myself to His grace, His gifts, and His mercy, through perseverance is part of the path to salvation.