Several weeks ago, I wrote a post regarding Christians and happiness. I discussed a couple of ways, I believe, we drain – even sabotage – our happiness. I ended that post saying I would follow-up with a couple of suggestions for encouraging our happiness. And, then, Valentine’s posts as well as a new link..and, well, I did not get back to it. Yet. I want to wrap up those thoughts with two simple ideas.
These ideas are so simple I almost felt they were unnecessary to post. But, I did promise:) And, the truth is the simplest things are often the very things of which we need to be reminded. Two of the greatest ways we can increase our happiness – and be happy Christians – is through prayer and scripture. Yes, they are simple. But foundational. I had a pastor once who used to jokingly comment that every sermon topic or every issue he addressed all led to the same conclusion: pray and read your Bible:) But isn’t that really at the heart of all wisdom.
Scripture. We need to daily, regularly and routinely read God’s word. We need to meditate on throughout the day. And…we need to memorize it. Oh, but memorizing challenges me. I used to work much harder trying to memorize verses and even longer passages of the Bible. And, it is true….the older I get, the harder it is for me to memorize. Unfortuantely, I seem to have adopted that truth as my excuse to quit trying. But there really is no excuse. If it is harder for this older brain of mine to memorize, I just need to work harder at it!
Scripture is what enables me to take my thoughts captive throughout the day. Those negative or down-spiraling thoughts that steal my joy. Those thoughts that send me down rabbit trails and get me off-kilter – draining my joy. Scripture that is hidden in my heart is ready, available and able to lift my spirit, to encourage me and to lighten my load.
There are so many ideas, plans and tools out there for memorizing scripture. (Pinterest alone is full of them.) Find one that works for you. But then follow through. Whatever aid you choose…work daily on committing scripture to memory.
Prayer. I have rarely met a Christian who is satisfied with their prayer life. Most of us want deeper, richer and more intimate prayer lives. And that takes not only commitment but work. The enemy will fight us continually. There will always be interruptions, weariness, distractions and more. But we must commit to being people of prayer. There are plans and helps for prayer – especially to aid in being organized and, therefore, more effective in prayer – but our greatest need is to simply pray.
I have been trying to pray more effectively throughout the day. Making use of empty moments – for instance, minutes when I’m waiting or when I am finishing mundane tasks that I can do without thinking. I try and do this by association.
Have you ever eaten something and soon afterward felt ill? Whether it was the food that made you ill or not, often you never want that particular food again. You associate it with feeling terrible. Similarly, we recently witnessed something disturbing on the way home one evening. Now, we look for a different route when going that way because we associate that road with that experience. Obviously, associations are strong for me. So I try to use that concept for prayer prompts. I use a routine or action I do every to remind me to pray for something specific. For instance, while I am waiting for my coffee to brew and fill my mug every morning, I pray for boldness. That I will be bold in giving the gospel or sharing my testimony. Um, coffee…boldness:)
Hairspray is a must for me. Every morning. As I cover my head in that fine mist, I pray that He will guard my thoughts throughout the day. I use prompts to pray for missionaries…to censor my words (as I brush my teeth!)…even to simply praise Him. The ideas are endless. They would be as unique as we are – but it is an idea that has helped me. Perhaps it would help you too.
Whether you use a scripture memory aid or not. Whether you use a prayer journal, prayer prompts or nothing extra at all…no doubt, each of us needs to commit anew to memorizing scripture – hiding His word in our hearts – and to a deeper prayer life. Two simple but profound and effective tools for not only happiness but our Christian life!!