A Creature of Habit

I am a creature of habit.

That is a true and straightforward statement that covers a lot of ground. All the words are important but the two that jump out are creature and habit.

“I am a CREATURE …” I was created and have a Creator. As a creature, I acknowledge and believe in my Creator, the Triune God. And I realize that He acts through other creatures who also in a sense are creators: my family and friends and people of Epiphany and the ministers who teach me.

“I am a creature of HABIT”. Habit can mean many things. Habit may refer to clothing or to custom. It applies to me in both senses. My habitual clothing is boots and Wrangler jeans, L.L. Bean Oxford cloth shirts, and a western hat. My habit is to have wine with dinner and read rather than watch TV after dinner. My habit is to go to bed a little before 11pm and to get up a little before 6am. It is my habit to go for a walk with my dog every morning. My habit is to go to church on Sunday and to read the lessons from the Daily Office everyday.

I have been reading these lessons for years, telling myself that I am reading the daily office … but one day I realized that I was in error. I had not been reading the daily office; I’ve only been reading the lessons. I had omitted the canticles and the creed and, sometimes, the psalms. But most importantly, I also had omitted the prayers: the confession and the collect, the Lord’s Prayer, the supplication and the thanksgiving and all the other prayers that make up Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer and the other services that make up the Daily Office. I realize that the point of the Dailly Office is not the lessons but the prayers.

I had, in a real sense, lost the habit of prayer. It’s not that I don’t pray. I do, many times a day. But my prayer is not regular. I pray “forgive me” and I pray “help me” and I pray “thank you”. Sometimes I pray “Wow”. I pray for others and those I see in distress. But I had lost the habit of an organized prayer life where I had a time each day to devote to praying.

I need to reestablish that habit and so get back that good habit of daily purposeful prayer.

– Charles M. Bear Dalton


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