Habits! Some are good. Some are annoying. I remember my mother fussing at my father for twiddling his thumbs. If his hands weren’t busy with some form of construction, they were resting on his lap with fingers interlocked and thumbs rhythmically circling each other.
My husband used to pop his knuckles. He started his ritual by pulling his pinky, progressed one digit at a time until all ten yielded the pop-pop-crack, and then returned to press each finger inward toward his palm thus releasing another joint. After ten finger and ten knuckle cracks, he would intertwine his fingers, invert and extend his hands away from his body, and apply pressure to ensure that no joint had gone unattended. That accomplished, the ritual would begin all over again.
Thankfully, not all habits are designed to test the patience level of a spouse. Some habits are formed out of a conscious decision to repeat a behavior that is either useful or pleasing. Such is my husband’s and my habit of enjoying our morning coffee together. In the summer, we sit on the glider on our deck. During these cold days of winter, the couch in our family room is our designated resting spot.
We rise early before the sun; he usually hits the brew button on the coffee pot; I set out the cup-of-choice for the morning. He regularly turns on one small lamp on the end table while I customarily pull out the warm, hand-made coverlet under which we will nestle. After that daily routine, we fill our cups, settle down onto our comfortable sofa, and begin our day.
The habit of morning coffee provides us the chance to reflect over the events of yesterday or discuss the schedules of that day. Sometimes we have serious things about which to converse. Other mornings begin with review and analysis of our favorite T.V. show that we watched the night before. We almost never miss the opportunity to comment on the beauty that surrounds us, whether we are observing the sky, the lake in our backyard, or some aspect of our interior decor. Mornings at the Amsden household (now that the kids are grown) are peaceful and pleasant.
The best part of our morning-coffee-drinking-habit is the prayer time we share. We daily bow our heads to thank the Lord for His bounty and His blessing. Next, we take our burdens to God. Between our five children, their families, our friends, our church, and our nation, we have a plethora of burdens about which we offer petitions. There, in the serenity of our home prayer closet, we follow the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer asking for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
G. D. Boardman is known for the saying, “Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” Over five decades ago we became Christians and were taught about the act of prayer, which has become our firmly entrenched routine. According to Boardman, habits are building blocks for character and destiny. I believe he is correct. The Bible confirms that prayer has the potential to build personal godliness and release heaven’s providence.
Habits! Some are good. Some are annoying. Prayer may not replace every thumb-twiddling, knuckle-popping repetitive behavior that humans are prone to develop; but it is a habit from which we can reap blessing both in this life and that which is to come.