A Simple Rule of Life: Pray Daily

A Simple Rule of Life – #1 Pray Daily

This past Sunday I mentioned in my sermon (which you can watch here) a simple Rule of Life that I was introduced to when I first started attending the Episcopal Church.  It’s a deceptively simple rule but one that really did change the course of my life for the better!  In fact, I think it’s the simplicity that makes this rule work so effectively.  Several of you have written me asking for that list again, so here it is.  Each week I will offer a little commentary following each, as to how I worked out each practice in my life.

1) Pray daily
2) Worship weekly
3) Learn constantly
4) Serve joyfully
5) Give generously

PRAY DAILY – The first practice is probably the easiest, and so it’s also the easiest to overlook.  Take a few minutes each day, to check in with God.  No matter how busy life gets, no matter how stressed out you might feel, taking 5-10 minutes every day to check in with God is a daily practice that can change your life.  You can do it while driving to work, you can do it as you lay down for bed each night, you can do it before meals or while you mow the lawn.  Heck, if you have to, use the time to complain to God about why you are so busy and stressed out!  (Which would place you in good company by the way, as a good number of our Psalms are exactly that!)

The point is to talk to God like you would a dear friend or a loving parent.  Any good relationship needs to be nurtured and daily check-ins and honest sharing what’s on your heart is the best nourishment.  No need to be overly formulaic about it, no need to be perfectionistic about it.  Talk to God like you would talk to your spouse when you come home from a busy day.  Imagine God just asked you, “what’s on your mind my child?  Tell me all about it.”

Then after you have shared what’s on your mind, mix it up a little by sharing something that wasn’t on your mind.  Here are some questions for self-reflection that you can use to build your relationship with God by challenging yourself to go deeper; try a different one each day:

  • What’s bothering you the most?
  • Who or what are you thankful for?
  • Where do you need help?
  • Who is on your heart?  Who are you praying for?
  • Who do you need to forgive?
  • What are you sorry for? What do you wish you could have done differently today?
  • Where did you see God today?
  • Where might you have missed out on God’s love today?
  • Help me to remember my gifts and where I can share them?

There is a wonderful app you can use, that has even more ideas.  It’s free and is based on the Examen by St. Ignatius: Google Play or iPhone.  (You can find it as a little devotional booklet here.)  It only takes a few minutes a day, but many members of Christ Church Cranbrook have used it to expand their daily prayer life and build their relationship with God.

For those of you who enjoy a more formal way of praying, we offer Morning Prayer each morning over Zoom.  That can be an excellent way to get in the habit since it is something you do in a group.

The last thing I might say about prayer, is to remember to also listen to God.  Share what’s on your heart.  Share what’s on your mind.  Challenge yourself with questions for self-reflection.  But don’t be afraid to quiet your mind as well, and just to listen to what God is trying to tell you.  All good relationships are mutual and so prayer is best when it’s a two-way street.  The Holy Spirit is still speaking, are we listening?

Regardless of what you talk with God about, or how you do it, you won’t be wasting your time or God’s.  God wants to hear it all.  The little things, the big things.  Because if it’s on your mind, if it’s one your heart, then it on God’s too.  Trust me, it will help and you will be amazed how this simply, daily practice will shape you and your relationship with God over time.

Let me know if you’d like to talk more about daily prayer or any other part of this rule.  Would love to hear about your experiences with it!  charris@christchurchcranbrook.org

Join the Conversation


  1. Thought your sermon was very good. Are you going to be the Pledge Priest? I remember you were assigned that job your first year. You out did yourself this year and no one could feel like you were putting on a push. It was tender and thoughtful. Good job!

    1. Thanks Vicki – you have a great memory! But alas we really don’t divvy things up like that, it’s just the luck of the draw when it comes to the Gospel each week, plus whatever we have going on in our world or our life. But having said that, I will likely always preach about it in one way or another as I really do see giving in a regular, committed way (such as a pledge) as a vital spiritual practice that brings us closer to God — it was true for me! 🙂

    1. Thanks Sandra! This one generated a lot of emails. It reminds me we should probably talk about “ways to pray” more often.

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