It takes 30 days.
Some pull it off in 21.
One fellow told me he pulled it off in six weeks— 6 x 7 makes 42 days…
But the average is 30 days. About a month to become best friends with something new, to discover that something new becomes something you just do… 30 days of repetition to develop a habit. 30 days. Hit repeat… Then it becomes “me”.
A habit can be your best friend or your worst enemy… A good habit can make you healthy after being ill. A bad habit can make you ill after being healthy…
So, I had a buddy who wanted to learn to pray and tried to do that just like one of the greats in history had done—2 hours a day for the rest of his life. (After all, Mother Teresa pulled it off for 5 hours, every day...)
Well, my buddy managed to “pull it off” getting up early for a grand total of about three days, and then gave up. He was telling me of his clean intent to pray consistently, and of how he tried and failed. It is understatement to indicate he looked depressed. Crestfallen is a better description.
I looked at his furrowed brow. And then the thought exploded in my brain. I don’t know where the thought came from, but it popped out of my mouth.
“Can you give God five minutes a day, for 30 days?”
“Five minutes?” he said, “Is that enough?”
“How much are you giving God now?” I asked.
“Nothing, nothing at all!” said my friend.
“Well five minutes a day is considerably better than nothing!”
We both laughed. Then he picked a time when he was most likely to think clearly, and not be disturbed. And he gave God five minutes a day. Sometimes he needed a different time (life happened), but he always managed to give God 5 minutes a day, every day, for thirty days…
About two weeks in, the length switched from 5 to 10 or 15, because 5 was not enough.
Some days, it was all he could do to get in 5 minutes—but he did always kept the promise he made—a simple commitment to practice prayer for 5 minutes a day, for 30 days…
And now he prays, and prays regularly, at a fixed time, and even in those times when “life happens.” The habit became his default mode—and now he never misses… In fact, he is teaching others to do a simple thing—to give God five minutes a day, for thirty days.
Now prayer is ordinary, rather than strangely out of place.
5 minutes a day, for thirty days… Can you do that?
I think you can…
Check out my webpage for helps to get you started.
Dr. David Chotka
Founder and Director of Spirit-Equip Ministries