Regular Spiritual Exercise

Formal prayer at home is a lot like exercising or cycling.
 
In the beginning you may feel overwhelmed and a little perplexed at this new ‘tool’ you have. You know why you need it and what it does, but using it regularly as part of your routine can take some practise.
 
At first you may go out for half an hour a couple of times per week, any more and it could feel like a chore – but don’t force it, let it come naturally else it will feel like a chore when it should be joyful.
 
Once your confidence grows, and you have eased in to the habit of praying in the morning and/or evening for a while you should begin to strengthen both your relationship with God and the urge to pray more and more.
 
As a proselyte who wasn’t accustomed to standing and chanting during home prayer, it took a while for me to stop feeling silly; As an introvert, I had always prayed silently – vocalising my prayers felt embarrassing and unnecessary, but there is a reason why we are told to sing praises to our Lord through the Psalms.  I imagine many of those baptised and brought up with the Church slip more easily into focused formal prayer.  
The Jews call it ‘kavanah’ – the intention or focus of prayer.  It will come naturally, and you will know when you get it right.  After which, prayer will be as natural as signing your name or wishing people a Good Morning or riding a bike to and from work/school.
 
A decent breviary is essential, ensuring every office you are reading different sets of lessons and psalms – and of course a prayer corner, that special place reserved for the veneration of saints and praise to God.
 
 And when you are praying, speak not much, as the heathens. For they think that in their much speaking they may be heard. — Matthew 6:7

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