I was talking with friends this week about how hard it is to actually go out for a run. I know I need to do it, I can feel in my body I need to do it, even have a perverse yearning to do it - But until In lace up my trainers and force myself out of the door, 101 pathetic reasons, excuses and distractions will prevent me from doing the one thing that I know to be important!
At the start of our latest week of prayer in our home church, this runners problem is suddenly understood by all of us who have faced down the battle to shut yourself away and intercede before God!
Richard Newton, writing 160 years ago,summed up the dilemma of our circling approach to prayer and its impact well:
"The principal cause of my leanness and unfruitfulness is due to an unaccountable backwardness to pray. I can write, read, converse or hear with a ready heart. But prayer is more spiritual and inward than any of these, and the more spiritual any day is, the more my carnal heart is apt to stray from it. Prayer and patience and faith are never disappointed. I have long since learned that if I ever was to be a minister, faith and prayer must make me one. When I find my heart dissolved in prayer, everything else is comparatively easy."
Or perhaps you've heard me mention John Welch before? Welch never welched on his prayer life, and wouldn't let anything stop him praying through, even the comfort of his bed!
Keeping a blanket near his bed so that he could wrap himself when he rose to pray during the night, his wife would often find him on his knees in the early hours. Once, she complained to find him bowed low and weeping. Welch replied, "Woman, I have the souls of 3000 to answer for, and I know not how it is with many of them!'
Whether it's our beds, our backwardness, our general apathy and lack of urgency, or even the distraction of good things and good people - Let's resolve to allow nothing to prevent us from lacing up our shoes and running into a richer prayer life. Let's agree together to make this week of prayer more than a week of dreaminess, or even wishing we were praying, but a week of sustained work in intercession. Prayer, patience and faith are never disappointed - Blankets at the ready by your beds!