When I first started thinking about getting baptized a few years back, I felt really unsure about whether or not I was “ready.” I mean, I couldn’t quote much of the Bible, I didn’t know most of the songs sung at Sunday service, and I had only recently found a church home. And beyond those things, I didn’t know all that would be required of me. I mean, by rededicating my life to Christ, I was going to have to start being a good Christian. The type of Christian that has their life together. How would I, someone so flawed, who sins so regularly and easily, fair?
Nowadays, years after I nervously took those steps toward living a life led by God, I know I had a TON to learn back then. While growing as a Christian has called me to keep up with church services and living like Jesus, at the very core it’s been about the quality of my relationship with God. And while I expected to struggle with sin, temptation, jealous and the likes, consistently nurturing my relationship with Christ has required more effort and intentionality than I could have ever imagined.
Like any strong relationship, my relationship with God has called for regular communication, an attitude of gratitude, and excitement! And after years of trying, I’ve landed on a few clear practices that help me to foster habits of faith in my everyday life.
Waking up ready
If there’s one “obvious” way I knew to develop a relationship with God, it was through prayer. I looked at prayer sort of like picking up the phone and calling an old friend. Time to catch up about the happenings of my life, to share my worries and celebrations, and to ask for advice. But when it got down to it, I wasn’t always sure where to start and how to pray consistently.
A little over a year ago, I listened to a podcast episode featuring Kat Lee, where she introduced the concept of the three minute morning. This routine encourages you to spend the first minute of your day with “God time” by devoting the first minute of your day as “God Time” by praying Psalm 143:8.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
Now, I start each day with a one minute “Morning Prayer” of my own, starting with this same verse. Some days my morning prayer is closer to ten minutes, time I spend deep in thought that’s followed up in further prayer throughout the day. Other days, this one minute is the only intentional time I set aside for discussion with God. In either case, I am getting into the habit of reflecting on my faith before engaging in social media, stressing about my work day, or preoccupying myself with my obligations.
Keeping a journal
After using the notetaking sheets my church shares at the start of each sermon for a few months, I bought a simple journal to keep up with my notes. And let me just say, this transition was a game changer!
Not only has it been incredibly more convenient to have a go-to journal, but, by having all my notes in one organized place I’ve been able to reread, review, and relive sermons as needed. When I’m having a hard time finding the words to pray or generally need support day to day, I use my journal as a resource to get me through.
In addition to sermon notes, I use my journal for regular prayer requests and goal tracking. It’s from these pages that my monthly intentions and spiritual focuses are birthed.
Leaning on Community
Similar to my approach to nearly all of my other areas of growth, identifying accountability partners has been a saving grace! Whether it’s praying with Dazell, a rotating scripture share with a group of friends, or sharing prayer requests with a former coworker, involving others in my spiritual journey has been incredible.
By sharing my prayer list, worries, and celebrations with my community, I have numerous people who check in, support me, and remind me to stay faithful. My community has not only challenged me to show up in my spiritual life, but also in the way I show up for others.
Crafting a Praise-list (Playlist)
Music, in so many ways, is an embodiment of life. I mean, I don’t think there is a single emotion that can’t be demonstrated through song. Joy, anger, love, heartbreak, gratitude—it’s all there! And it’s that emotional connection that makes song in worship so important to me.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I don’t listen to secular music. I do! And I enjoy it. There are songs that make me feel young, fun, happy and in love! But Christian, specifically gospel, music is particularly therapeutic for me—it makes me feel alive.
I use my praise-list (titled Psalm 34:1) as the soundtrack to my morning routine, my mid-day working sessions, and my yoga practice. These songs serve as beautiful reminders that I am cared for and loved, that I am living for a bigger purpose. So whether I’m passively listening at work or singing (screaming) along in the car, these songs help me focus on the gifts of the Lord throughout the day.
What do your habits of faith look like? How do you maintain a relationship with God on a regular basis?