I’m still working on trying to establish a new routine. They say it takes thirty days to establish a habit. It hasn’t been a month yet. I’m seeking stronger faith. Oh, I believe in God. I go to church. I try to be a good person. But it’s not enough. I need more.

Recently I read a newspaper column written by a pastor that addressed strengthening your faith. The premise that remained most markedly with me was his suggestion to begin the day with reading the Bible. I have been guilty of checking e-mail first thing in the morning. Then I get sidetracked on something else I want to read. Then I get dressed. Finally – if I have time – I might read the Bible.

But now my new plan is this:  I do shower and dress first, but my next effort is to read from the Bible. So far, I have been opening it randomly, reading a selection from the Old Testament, a selection from the New Testament, and either a Psalm or a Proverb. When a particular verse strikes me as something some inner voice tells me I need to hear, I write it down. At the end of the week, I reflect on all those things I thought spoke to me.

I probably should have more of a plan because right now I never remember or keep track of what passages I read. On the other hand, the words I have written down usually strike some chord within me that has needed striking. Sometimes everything seems to fit together; other times the challenge is to figure out how the particular passages connect with me.

This week, things I heard include that the foundation is laid after giving thanks and praise. I read that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I learned that I need to share more, practice fellowship, communion, and prayer. I must trust in Him and commit my way to Him. I must do good and cultivate faithfulness. “…Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught.” Life should be enjoyed as His gift to us. “Comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  Ask and you shall receive. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks….”

I think I have my Cliff’s Notes’ version of how to strengthen my faith. Now, all I have to do it put it into practice.

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The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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