I love one of the characters in the book, The Help, who keeps a little notebook where, throughout the day, she writes down things and people to pray for. Then at night, when she says her prayers, she goes down her list.
Many people of different faiths join in prayer circles and prayer groups. I even belong to a few on Facebook, where we ask one another to pray for certain individuals or families.
There is no doubt that prayer is a powerful tool. It can also be used in self-improvement. We all have room for improvement for bad habits we want to quit or good habits we want to adopt.
Some areas that this habit can be used for might be:
Giving up drug abuse.
Rocky marital relationships.
Dealing with child abuse.
Learning to love an enemy.
Keeping your thoughts pure.
Overcoming sexual addictions.
Improving your work ethic.
Overspending or debt.
Shaky faith or testimony.
Inability to commit.
Desire to be kinder.
Wanting to succeed or advance.
Any other thing that is bothering you or that you want to become.
The pattern is easy. Just as you would report to a parole officer, a counselor or therapist, a friend, sponsor or spouse, you would report to God.
Here's the process:
Get yourself a nice big rock and paint the word PRAYER on it. Now put it beside your bed in the morning so that you stub your toe on it to remind you to kneel and say your prayers every morning. Then, when you have finished, put that big old rock on your pillow to remind you to pray before you lie down at night.
Choose one thing at a time
Don't get overwhelmed with trying to perfect yourself overnight. Choose the one thing that bothers you most. Whatever it is that is troubling you and keeping you awake at night or causing you to not particularly like yourself.
Lay it all out
Confess your weakness to God. Be honest with him. Let him know how much this behavior or habit is bothering you and how much you want to quit it. Don't get caught up in self-doubt or self-hatred. Remember, you are one of God's children and he wants you to be successful in all of your righteous desires.
Let the Lord know that you know that all things are possible through him. Let him know that you have all faith that he can help you correct your shortcomings. This is an important step in the process.
Plead for help
Ask the Lord to remind you when you are tempted to fall short or slip. Pray for the Holy Ghost to help you keep in mind your mission. Pray for promptings or bad feelings to come when you fall short.
If you do happen to slip, confess it right away. Apologize, and then let it go. Make a more concerted effort as the day progresses. Don't let a slip become a stumbling block or discourage you into quitting. Part of the repentance process is letting go once you have apologized.
At the end of the day, kneel down and make a full accounting to God. Let him know what you did right and what you did wrong. Apologize and promise to do better. Then, before you lie down, take the rock off of your pillow and put it back on the floor beside your bed.
This may take time, particularly if the bad habit is deeply rooted or the good habit is a little overwhelming. So work on it daily until you have overcome, then pick the next fixer-upper in line. Do this as often as necessary to become the person you want to become. The person God wants you to be.
Remember, in God, all things are possible. There are many people who have overcome insurmountable odds and become new creatures. Look around you at changes others have made to improve themselves and know that you can do it as well. Daily petitions for help and nightly accounting for successes, no matter how small, will make you more likely to accomplish the task.
Remember that discouragement and doubt are tools of the devil and must not be given in to. Keep your chin up and keep at it. You will succeed with God on your side.