December 27, 2011
Ever wonder why they call it the “practice of prayer”? I think it’s because we’re all amateurs at it, doing it for the love of it. You don’t practice prayer the way a concert pianist practices a Chopin étude, getting it perfect for a performance.
You practice prayer because it’s a tool for life. You don’t expect an audience (beyond the heavenly one). I like the word “practice” because it gets rid of the performance anxiety. Trying to pray is praying. Practice is perfect.
December 23, 2011
As a child I used to wonder how Santa managed to get all those toys in his sleigh—just the right toys, too—delivered to all the children in the world.
Now, as an adult, I wonder how we grownups get all the presents for everybody on our lists while sending Christmas cards, figuring out what to eat for Christmas dinner, decorating the house, getting the tree, getting everybody to church on time. How do we do it?
The same way Santa did.
December 20, 2011
Trying to get your head around the Christmas story? Go see a Christmas pageant! The kids at our church Sunday school put on a great one this weekend. Angels sang, shepherds gaped, wise men trudged, Mary rocked, Joseph wondered, but what I loved most was one line from a second grader.
December 16, 2011
I was reading my way through a slew of prayer requests and feeling overwhelmed by the hopelessness of one disheartening situation after another. Job loss, health crises, financial struggles, family trials, addiction, cancer, despair. Then I thought of Auntie Mame.
December 13, 2011
I believe in saying “Merry Christmas.” Not the bland “Happy Holidays” or even blander “Season’s Greetings.” To my Jewish friends, when it’s Hanukkah (and it’s coming up soon), I happily say “Happy Hanukkah.” If I knew someone who celebrated Kwanza, I wouldn’t mind saying “Happy Kwanza.”
December 9, 2011
When I tell one of the uninitiated that I’m a big Facebook fan, I get, “Isn’t it a terrific waste of time?” Sure, it can be. You can scroll through the status updates and read one bland, self-serving, self-absorbed declaration after another.
But like church (and anything else in life), you get out of it what you put into it. I believe social media can be a real asset in your prayer life. Here are ways to make it work for you.
December 6, 2011
Tomorrow is my fourth anniversary of open-heart surgery. OK, recovery was a little harder and longer that I was given to expect, but today I feel great, and I feel like the anniversary is something to mark. Thanks to some great doctors and lots of prayer, I’m alive. Hallelujah!
December 2, 2011
The last day of November, lugging my bag through an airport, I listened to the piped-in music in disbelief. Someone was telling me about chestnuts roasting on an open fire, a drummer boy was playing his drum “rumpumpumpum,” and Nat King Cole alerted me in rising crescendo, “O night divine/O night when Christ was born.”
“Hey, buddy,” I wanted to say, “O Holy Night is still 25 shopping days away.”
Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine and the author of 10 Prayers You Can't Live Without. To learn more about the book and explore your own prayer journey, watch this video.