This must be speaking to me, because I can be the most impatient person in the world at times. I have a habit of being inspired by something, then going for it head first, expecting to become an expert overnight. I think, at our heart, we all wish our life was characterized by the Burger King slogan, "Your way, right away." The spiritual life just doesn't seem to work like this, however. The metaphor of a baby growing up is a good one. Think of this way - no one would expect a baby to go from womb to adult in one night, one week , one month, even one year. No, it takes years and years to grow from infant to mature adult. The same is true of the spiritual life as well. We may be an adult physically, but an infant in the faith. It takes time.
I can't help but think of the following quote, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, when I think about spiritual development:
Sow a thought and you reap an action;
sow an act and you reap a habit;s
ow a habit and you reap a character;
sow a character and you reap a destiny.
In fact, Br. Lawrence seems to lay out a similar path as a summary of this practice that he is teaching. He says:
. . . let us then pray to Him for it continually.
How can we pray to Him without being with Him?
How can we be with Him but in thinking of Him often?
And how can we often think of Him, but by a holy habit which we should form of it?
So, we don't just decide today that we are going to pray continually and automatically become successful at it, instantly achieving spiritual maturity. No, we develop a habit of thinking of God. This takes place more and more often. As we think of God, we enter into the presence of God. As we cultivate living our life in God's presence, our lives become a continual prayer to God. This is the practice in a nutshell.
It's simple, but difficult. It's difficult, but worth it. What are waiting for? Get started today.