Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 30, 2010

habit for humanity

Some are good, some are not so good, but we all have them. Habits are those repeated acts that become automatic in our lives. Take a journey back through your life. Can you point to some habits that had their roots early in life and remain to this day? One of my big struggles growing up was biting my fingernails. It is easy to look back now with disgust, but what a hard habit to break. When any of us become habitual about anything, we are hooked. Have you ever said of someone, “he is a habitual liar”? Just as we can all list a myriad of our not so good habits, I trust we are cultivating good ones also. Especially in areas where life really matters!

Recently in my reading of Scripture, I was reminded of something that became habitual in the life of Paul. He was a man who cared deeply for others, as is evidenced by his proclamation of the gospel. His journey led him through deep trials, and he had what I would perceive to be a full calendar (can you relate?). But in the course of his spiritual walk, there was a constant that he often mentioned … A habit if you would!  He must have thought that this habit was of value, to the Father, and to others. It was! What Paul cultivated is just as meaningful for me (and you), but it will take effort .  Do I have your attention yet?

From my perspective, Paul was a man who became habitual in praying for others. We can all say we pray for others, but notice the habit that was Paul’s prayer life. There is something to be gleaned from God’s repeated emphasis in Scripture of Paul’s praying. Take a look:

For the Romans!

God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times —  Romans 1:8-9a

For the Ephesians!

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love all for the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  — Ephesians 1:15-16

For the Philippians!

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  — Philippians 1:3-5

As you begin Colossians and I Thessalonians, Paul also gives emphasis to praying for others. It sounds so “ultra-spiritual”, but he really did it. What is more astounding to me is that he was praying for the Romans, and had not even visited them yet. He said that God was his witness of how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times. No one prays like Paul did without a deep concern for others, and a heart-felt conviction that prayer matters. Speaking personally, Paul’s emphasis has challenged me about my prayer focus on others, or lack thereof.

Who are you praying for, and is it sporadic or habitual? Our Father placed emphasis on Paul’s habit of praying for others. My desire is not to tell you who to pray for, but just to pray … and become habitual about it. There is absolutely no doubt that the Lord will give you direction, and you can believe that it will matter. Eternity will reveal the value of Paul’s good habit. I trust the same can be said of me (and you).


  1. Mike, thanks for your great habit of providing us with these great messages

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