Habits for the New Year

If you’re like me you struggle with waking up in the morning. I used to set an alarm, but then I had kids. When their Hatch sound machine turns blue at 6:20 am you can bet that those footsteps will come stomping down the hall to loud proclamations of “the light turned blue!” (3 year old code for “I can get out of bed and start raising a ruckus around the house!”). I groan and turn to the bedside table to grab the necessities for the day; glasses that bring the world into focus, a smart watch and my phone. My first moments of the day are shaped by the bright LED screen as I scroll through the weather forecast and my calendar, then my feet hit the ground and it’s off to the races.

Habits and the Heart

Our habits shape our hearts. As we are orienting to the day in our first waking moments, do we feed ourselves a diet of news headlines designed to elicit anger and anxiety? Do we tune our hearts by the curated good life images of our friends and favorite influencers? If we want to be fit we build in habits of exercise and nutrition. If we want to become skilled at a new sport we take lessons and set aside time for practice.  If we want to be people of peace and joy then how do we cultivate habits that move us in that direction?

Here’s a simple, easy habit to start your day:

Prayer upon waking.

Short and sweet. Instead of reaching for your phone or bee-lining for the coffee machine, when you wake in the morning and your feet hit the ground pause and pray. Even better – try kneeling at your bed when you pray. It’s not a holier position and it doesn’t mean that God hears you more clearly, but incorporating a physical posture of prayer can actually help you solidify the habit and you might find the posture actually becomes a meaningful part of the experience.

Try this out for a week and reflect to see if you notice a difference in the tone of your day. Ask yourself if you’ve experienced more peace and joy.

Here’s a morning prayer for you to help set the tone of the day:

Light of the world,
Shine your light on me.
May I experience your abundant love today, may your face shine upon me that I may bask in the delight of my heavenly Father who made me, knows me, and walks with me each day.

Shine your light in me.
May the light of your truth penetrate the dark spots of my soul, may it expose my selfishness, my self-reliance, and self-righteousness. May it uncover any hidden sin that I might put to death the things of the flesh and live fully out of the power of your Spirit.

Shine your light through me.
May your great love for the world flow through me as I interact with my spouse and my kids, with my coworkers and my neighbors, with the mail carrier and the grocery store checker. May your light of love for the world infuse my interactions and help push your kingdom into this world.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Posted in

Molly Bottorff


  1. Tracey Fritz on January 6, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    Excellent advice!

  2. LuSmith on January 7, 2022 at 9:59 am

    Beautiful Molly. We did not venture out Sunday and I missed the “fellowship”.

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