When Philip Yancey wrote in Prayer Does it make any difference? about preparing to join Peter Jenkins on a leg of his cross America trek my interest piqued. Yancey spoke of the slow but steady improvement he made from running only one block at first then to seven miles non-stop over a period of six weeks training. Gradual increase after gradual increase. From this experience Yancey proved a principle: disciplined consistency brings results.
As a former runner myself I can very much identify. Some runs are designed as ‘endurance’ runs, some as runs focussed on speed, others aim to develop uphill stamina, work on breathing, measure hydration or some other physiological metric. But then there are the “junk runs.” These runs have no particular objective or focus at all — they are just you “showing up.” Indeed, as Yancey extrapolates regarding prayer…
“As with physical exercise, much of the benefit of prayer comes as a result of consistency, the simple act of showing up.” / “I needed the discipline of regularity to make possible those exceptional times of free communication with God.”Philip Yancey wrote in Prayer Does it make any difference? p.165 / 166
The exploits of many great men of God grow out of this backdrop as well. As Elder Don Longworth reminded us, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are” (James 5:17). Gideon was a frightened, hiding ‘everyman’ like you and I. Moses spent years figuring himself nothing more than an orphaned shepherd. Joshua prefaced the miracles of the Jordan and Jericho by months of just “showing up” in Prayer and waiting on God.
Monday Morning: This may be just the start of another mundane Monday… But then again, it may not! This may be a day God chooses to do something new in you… through you… Don’t define yourself — or limit God — by Mondays past.
“Who dares despise the day of small things,” the Lord roars through Zachariah (Zach. 4:10). Do not disdain the “junk” days. Whatever this Monday holds, stick with your spiritual disciplines: a regular time of prayer, of reading the scripture, and of taking bold steps of faith. These are the foundation upon which God’s ‘great things’ are built.