Over the years I have evolved the habit of what my daughter calls upstairs reading and downstairs reading. Never mind the fact that she can’t understand how I can read 2 or 3 books at a time (that’s only when I’m on vacation, at home its often more than that, I have downstairs books, upstairs books, at my desk books), she is mostly amused that I don’t take a book that I am really enjoying up to bed with me.
For me it’s fairly straightforward, downstairs I read novels–sheer pleasure reading. Upstairs I read devotional material, so that I end my day by reflecting on God and his goodness and then pray before I go to sleep.
This time when I came back from vacation, I wasn’t finished my downstairs book and when I unpacked I threw it on my bed. The last week I have been reading that book at night, and I have discovered that I really need that inspirational reading to feed my prayer life. When I read something that causes me to reflect on God, then when I pray the thanksgiving and praise flows much more freely, and then it is also easier to pray for the concerns that are on my heart. This last week I have started prayer time with immersed in the problems of the protagonist in the novel and it has been difficult to connect with God. I think that it is time to go through my bookshelves or the bookstore and find a new upstairs book…after all that which nourishes my soul, also nourishes my relationship with God.