One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. (NRSV)
Our lives have embedded in them certain routines. We do certain things at certain times in certain ways. In the areas of faith and religion, there are such routines. Peter and John were observing the set hour of temple prayer for example.
A set routine of prayer or bible reading or silence or devotional reading can be very helpful. It expresses a self-discipline that recognises such things as being important. They must not be crowded out by loud or insistent demands on our time.
A couple of problems can arise though. One is that a routine can become rather sterile. A grudging duty. Going through the motions. The other is that a change in circumstances can disrupt a routine and we might lose the benefits of it. If our life situation significantly changes, our old way of doing things can go out the window, and what has helped us before is no longer helping us.
This is why we need to always explore changing our routines, developing new habits to accommodate new situations. This helps us resist staleness and also helps us adapt to a changing context. We can certainly maintain the old routines in new situations and life stages, even if it involves struggle.
But we can also use the changing seasons of life to come up with new means of achieving the old ends.