By James A. Harnish
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Extra resources for 365 Meditations for Men
In preparation, I read the Scriptures for the day, study the sermon title, and scan world events for anything I should include. This is in addition to reviewing the joys and concerns of the congregation. Then I prepare the prayer. Usually I don't write out a complete text. I simply jot down a general theme, specific names, or main ideas. I like my prayer to have a measure of spontaneity and freshness, too. On some Sundays I feel as though I've prayed effectively, even eloquently. On other Sundays I seem to stumble through our prayer time and am relieved when it's Finally over.
Friends want to be with us. The house or apartment must be cleaned and kept in good repair. The car has to be serviced every two thousand miles. There are taxes to be filed and bills to be paid; birthdays to remember, plants to water, pets to feed. The list never seems to grow smaller. New duties simply get added. Somewhere in this swirl of activities, there's supposed to be time for ourselves: a few moments to read the newspaper, watch a game on television, take a nap, write in a journal, or do nothing.
And joy of joys, it not only helps relieve the pressure for us, it makes us easier to live with as well. Instead of becoming a cranky old parent, Sarah found a way to rejoice. She laughed, and soon all of her family and friends were laughing with her. This is not to say that finding the humor in situations is always a simple or easy matter. It's an approach to life, an attitude we need to cultivate. We should practice laughing each and every day. My father was a man of immense good humor. He had an amusing story or a joke to fit every possible human condition.