I was reminded recently of a spiritual practice that I’ve gotten away from. A few years ago I read the book Prayer Coach by James L. Nicodem. It’s great book with lots of practical suggestions for developing a vibrant prayer life. One of the prayer patterns that Nicodem suggests is praying the Fruit of the Spirit. It’s a simple concept that has paid dividends for my spiritual life…that is until I stopped doing it and it’s why I’ve started doing it again.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5:22-23
The idea is to use the Fruit of the Spirit as a sort of spiritual inventory and catalyst for prayer. Start by committing the Fruit of the Spirit to memory (or write it down if you need to). In the morning as you’re beginning your day, recite the verses, consider which of qualities you especially need that day, and spend some time praying for that. Example: you do a quick mental scan of your schedule and see that you have a meeting with a particularly challenging person. Knowing that interacting with this individual tends to leave you short on patience, you identify that as your major need for your day. Then spend a few moments in prayer asking God to help you with that situation and to provide you with an extra dose of patience.
I’ve found this practice sets me up to meet the challenges of my day with a Christ-like attitude and motivates me to pray more throughout the day. I hope you’ll give it a try. If you do, I’d love to hear about your experience.