I find that a rule of life is most important, it is a never-ending fountain of nourishment, whatever shape the rule may take.
Over the years I have noticed that my spirit seems anemic, it becomes less energized without that vertical source of prayer. Without that vertical type of relationship, the horizontal posture is at loose ends, it seems to lack a rudder, a directional finder for the course of the day.
I am reminded of someone I taught years ago. He came to mind often toward the beginning of a new college semester. As I began to pray for him, I saw an image in my mind, the impression of a short vertical cylinder with one or two short, open-ended troughs toward the top. After some quietness in prayer, the image then changed. There was a much taller cylinder with several troughs toward the bottom and several streams of water flowing from the side of the cylinder near the top, down into the troughs and out of the end of each.
Then it seemed that these troughs which surrounded the cylinder, five or six of them, could be responsibilities that this student would be carrying throughout his senior year. The sprays of water from the upper section of the cylinder down into the troughs suggested provision for carrying out each responsibility portrayed at the bottom.
How to pray for this student? Perhaps that he would remember that he needed to be focused, to remember that prayer is most important. From that center of prayer will come provision for the work at hand. If we forget, if we neglect our prayer, the cylinder and the water flowing from it (God’s provision) will seem shorter, and , in comparison the open-ended troughs (responsibilities) will seem much more imposing. To be focused, to be a person of prayer, invites provision beyond our knowing.