Posted by: Jo | March 4, 2016

Developing A Habit Of Attention

“We must pay more attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

(Hebrews 2:1)

I read a very significant quote in a study I was reading this week, imagethat made me stop, reread and then stop again, as I thought through what the writer was saying. The quote was from Patricia Hampl and this is what I read;

“Prayer is a habit of attention brought to bear on all that is.”

Of course we often associate prayer as becoming a habit, but I was intrigued that this lady added another significant component to prayer just being a habit, it had to be completely encompassed by our attention.

I looked up the meaning of the word habit and this is what I found

hab·it

[ˈhabət]

a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up

synonyms: accustomed to · used to · given to · wont to · inclined to

As I was thinking through this new conception I had about prayer, I began to take note of my daily personal habits and how many of them I automatically accomplished without giving one thought to what I was doing; e.g. brushing my teeth, drying my hair, making the morning coffee etc. I began to grasp the importance of that word, ATTENTION and the danger of allowing my prayer time to become one sided with me doing all the talking while not paying attention to what my Heavenly Father wants to say to me.

The book of Proverbs has several verses about paying attention to the Father’s words.

“Listen my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.” (Proverbs 4:1)

The other truth I discovered in that short quote was the last phrase, brought to bear on all that is, our attention to the Father’s words has bearing on every aspect of our lives and is not limited to when we call upon him, we need to be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s direction what ever we are doing.

Many years ago a dear friend introduced me to the beautiful simplistic prayers of the Celtic Christians. I say simplistic because they grasped how to be attentive to the Lord by including him in those everyday chores they performed. imageThe chores were still habits they did every day, but with deliberately including the Lord they were transformed into being attentive to what he was saying to them. They prayed while lighting the fire, milking the cow, gathering grain.
One of the ones I like is a prayer on rising, not staggering out of bed bemoaning all we have to do that day, not complaining about the weather, not rushing in frantic haste, just including the Loving Father by thanking him in a simple prayer;

Thanks be to thee, O God

That I have risen today

I have risen to life

I have risen to love

Thanks be to thee O God,

You have opened my eyes

You have given me breath

You have made me move.

The beautiful reward of making, paying attention to the Lord a habit, is a deepening of our relationship with him and he promises us exactly that in the book of Revelation;

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

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Responses

  1. This morning I am reading your words just after waking, and the birds are singing in our garden – all making the verses of the Celtic prayer you quote so apt. Thank you Jo for beginning my day this way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The paying attention part is not always there but thanks Jo for reminding me to do just that.

    Liked by 1 person


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