My booth at Denny's was turning into a confession booth. Once a week I would meet over breakfast with David Wall, a psychologist friend, and more often than not, find myself confessing to yet another sparse week of personal prayer and Bible reading.

I felt like a phony. I preached, taught classes, and instructed new members on the necessity of a daily quiet time, yet my own spiritual life was impoverished. Why was I so consistently inconsistent in my personal devotions?

FOUR DIAGNOSTIC QUESTIONS

David suggested I examine why I was avoiding devotions. Social psychologists, he explained, say there are four major factors under girding any behavior. Consciously or subconsciously, people weigh these factors when embracing or resisting an activity. These four factors can be stated in question form.

Will it work for me?

For years Susan had kept her "daily appointment with God." Then her 10-year-old son was hit by a car. After hanging on for two weeks, he died. Susan now says, "What's the use of praying? ...

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