I’ve developed a series of habits over time.
The first thing I do when I wake up is take a bath. Whenever I’m making my morning coffee, I’m nibbling on fruits and drinking a shake at the same time. And once I start working at my desk, I like sitting on the arm of my chair rather than on the chair itself (like how I’m typing this article right now).
These are things I don’t even think about, I just do them. That’s pretty much what a habit is.
But I think we can all agree that the biggest habit we all share is how we can’t let go of our phones.
At this point, we don’t even think about it. In the middle of having a real conversation with someone face to face, the moment the topic ends, we pull out our phones and start scrolling through our Facebook feeds. To look at what, who knows?
When we have to wait in line for something, out comes the phone and we start watching IG story after IG story until it finishes.
When we order food! In the bathroom! Before sleeping! Upon waking! The phone habit is crazy.
In fact, if you use your phone less than 9 hours a day for social media only, you’re below the average!
Don’t get me wrong, using the phone is not wrong. I was literally describing myself when I was giving those examples.
But I just want to give a reminder to you, and to myself, maybe to think more about what habits should our lives revolve around.
You see, our lives revolve around habits.
The moment you create a set pattern for your life, consciously or unconsciously, your life starts revolving around those patterns. And depending on what patterns your life is revolving around, that will determine the direction your life is going to.
Another way to say this is what you do most often is what you get done.
Jesus had a singular mission, which was to love.
And He couldn’t waste a single minute doing just anything. He was doing things intentionally.
And I’ve been reflecting on this, Jesus’ biggest habit that He could not quit doing was praying.
Jesus would pray night and day.
Before he performed miracles he would pray. During a miracle, he would pray. After a miracle, he would pray, and tell others to pray.
When he was alone, he would pray. When he wasn’t alone, he’d go up a mountain so he could pray. And even when he was surrounded by everyone, he was still praying.
He would pray, pray, pray.
Prayer is actually being one with God. And it’s funny because Jesus, being God as well, still found it so important to pray to His Father every single minute of the day.
What more should we?
Let’s establish something though, prayer is not closing your eyes and worrying about something. Neither is it mumbling a certain set of words to get a certain response from God.
Prayer should be personal.
Prayer means being the real you, and allowing God to be real with you too.
I really believe that prayer is not just an action, it’s a state. Prayer is transparency with God.
Let me break prayer down in to two parts:
BEING THE REAL YOU
I’ve found all the most beautiful prayers pour out from broken hearts.
When we’re going through a rough time, it’s easy to say “He gives and takes away.” (See the story of Job if you’re interested in that)
It’s easy to say, “Kakayain naman.”
And that’s true, God is good, and He is control, but when was the last time you talked with HIM?
Especially if you’re going through a difficult situation, I beg you not to rely on your own strength to solve your problems.
This just might be the perfect opportunity for you to allow God to work in your life. But how can you if you’re not real in front of Him?
What I’ve learned over the years: don’t pretend.
Don’t pretend things are okay. Don’t brush away the pain you’re feeling. It’s one thing to surrender your problems, but it’s another thing to surrender them to God.
If you’re just surrendering them, you’re giving up. Take note, God does not want a Bahala na relationship with you.
Please don’t “leave everything” to God. I’ve noticed that when you do that, you’re giving Him the situation but witholding your self.
So instead of just offering empty words, make it a prayer by allowing God to hear the real you.
ALLOW GOD TO BE REAL WITH YOU
Okay, once you got that, the next thing is for you to learn how to listen.
I love how in Hebrew, the word listen, SHEMA, doesn’t just mean to hear, but to also respond.
Many times, you open up to God, and He starts telling you things, and more often than not, it’s not the things you want to hear.
My point here is be ready to SHEMA, not just hear, but also respond to what God is calling us to do.
In John 21:6, we see this fascinating picture:
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
This was right after Jesus was resurrected, and He was showing himself to His disciples. And I love how Jesus shows us a different perspective that we would have not seen without Him pointing out.
Peter was an experienced fisherman, and he knew what he was doing. He had been fishing all his life, before he met Jesus. So imagine his feeling when a random person (Jesus, but unrecognisable) on the beach shouts out, “Hey, I have a better way for you to fish!”
Sometimes, I guess we feel that way. We’ve tried every single possibility but nothing works out. And God has the audacity to whisper to us, “Hey, have you tried this?”
But the moment we listen, or rather, SHEMA, to what He’s telling us, we receive the harvest he has promised.
So here’s my ending point, prayer is being personal with God, prayer is you being real, and allowing God to be real with you. Why is this important?
I believe that we need to make prayer an intentional habit.
Sometimes, prayer is just an intention. We think to ourselves, oh yeah, we need to spend time with God. But we don’t do it.
Other times, it’s just a habit. We do it, but without being real. It becomes only lip service.
No, we need to make it an intentional habit.
Why? Because with how crazy and bleak this life is, we have nowhere to go but Jesus.
But for some reason, the habits we’ve built, that take up most of our time are not Jesus.
Don’t throw away your phone, but consider when was the last time you were away with God? When was the last time you cast your worries and your self to God?
When things go tough, no IG story, no amount of favourites, no new DP, will ever give you the wisdom and the strength you need to make it.
Even to His last breath, Jesus was praying. When He was nailed on the cross, He did not rely on anything other than listening to what His Father was telling Him.
I love how in the Bible, we get to see Jesus’ human side. In fact it said that before he was captured in the Garden, he was praying so profusely, that he was sweating blood.
He even said, “Father, if it’s possible, take this cup away from me.”
He was being real. But at the end of the day, He let God be real with Him.
“Yet not my will, but Yours be done.”
Imagine if we could get to the point where our habit, our go-to, our immediate refuge would not be our phones, but God’s presence.
Make prayer your biggest habit.
PS. OUR ALBUM IS OUT! Man, words cannot describe what I feel about this. You know what, just listen to it.
PS. I want to invest my life into your life. I look at every comment, every message, and I want you to know that I’m here for you. You can always message me on social media, @benesanchez on twitter or @bene.sanchez on IG. Praying for you always.