The Basic Practice
A devotional life is one lived in the presence of the Lord. The world's religions tutor us in an amazing variety of ways to practice our devotion. To name just a few: Sufis dance. Buddhists chant. Catholics pray with a rosary. Protestants sing hymns. Orthodox Christians meditate on icons. Hindus gather to receive blessings in temples. Jews wrap themselves in a prayer shawl. Native Americans bring up the sun. Muslims make a pilgrimage.Whether our devotional practices are formal liturgies or informal gestures, they recognize that everything is linked to the Divine. There can be no bracketing of our existence into holy and unholy precincts.
Begin, then, by cultivating your own garden of devotion. Pick as many seeds to plant as you desire. Water them with love. Be vigilant in your caretaking. Add new plants to the garden for variety. And be happy knowing that this garden pleases God.
Why This Practice May Be For You
Devotion is not something that is done once a week, just on religious holidays, or only in response to a particular event in your life. Special devotions may be called for at those times, but as a spiritual practice, it needs to be part of your daily routine.
Devotion then helps you build self-discipline. Being constant in your prayers prepares you for other disciplines needed in your life. On the other hand, if you lack commitment and don't tend to follow through in the long run, your devotional life will suffer as well. This practice needs to be done regularly.
Daily Cue, Reminder, Vow, Blessing
- The sound of a bell, a church chime, or the stroke of a clock is a cue for me to pray.
- When I see a candle, I am reminded to focus my devotion on God.
- When I hear reports of war, famine, and other disasters, I vow to remember all those who are suffering in my prayers.
- Blessed is the Beloved who can be worshipped and served through devotion.