I'll spend $10 to get $1000, but will I spend $1000 to get $10,000?
I wouldn't think twice about spending $10 in order to get $1000 in return. It's just $10, so even if it doesn't work out, I'm not out much. It's not gambling - the $1000 is all but certain, but still ... just in case. But 100 times return on investment is a good deal!
But would I spend that same $1000 to get only a 10 times return? Even though the chances are strongly in favor of it working, now I start to balk. Not because 10x return is less than 100x, but because $1000 is a lot of money to lose if it doesn't work out. It's a risk at some level, it's a costly investment, and a sure $1000 isn't a bad thing to have. Plus, I need $1000 right away - $10,000 later doesn't pay for the unexpected car repair bill now.
Every analogy fails, and this one fails, too. But I still think it's instructive.
Prayer is like this, in my experience. If I invest a small amount of time in prayer, I usually get a pretty good return (which can mean different things on different days). Not always, but usually. But to invest an hour ... or 2 hours, or 6 hours, or ... gulp ... 24 hours in prayer! That's a rare thing!
But I've done it before, and have seen amazing and large "returns" on that investment. So why do I balk to do it again?
My longest is a three-day personal retreat in the mountains with just the Lord, me, a Bible, pen and paper, and the trees. And what a return! Insights, confession, peace, deeper understanding of Scripture, and greater revelations of how awesome Jesus is!
I never see this magnitude of blessing when I invest only a little time. I don't always see this magnitude when I invest a lot of time. But the only times I've seen that kind of blessing is when I've invested a lot of time.
These are the returns God wants us to have with prayer, so it's no problem being rightly motivated by them.
This Saturday is a day set aside across the nation for prayer (and in several other countries). There will be a big event in D.C. which we'll simulcast in our sanctuary (details elsewhere in Grace Notes).
We want the people of Grace Fellowship to set aside time Saturday to focus on prayer, whether it's a small investment or large. But I want to challenge you to go for a large investment. If there's a better day for you to set aside at least 3 hours for prayer, by all means put it on your calendar. But if this Saturday is as good as any day, why not this Saturday?
I suggest a minimum of three hours because, in my experience, I have to get past the two hour mark and work my way through some boredom before my prayer really dives deep. The boredom is not really boredom, but my psyche detoxing from busy-ness. Then I can focus on Christ.
I hope to see many of you on Saturday, if even for a short time. I will be praying, I will spend some time celebrating a one-year-old's birthday online, I will spend some time preparing for Sunday. But I will be there for a good portion of the day, and much of that in prayer.
Thanks to Jon R and Caroline A for getting us all set up for this event.
(There are a few things the national leader of this event says that I don't necessarily agree with, but I don't want that to stop any of us from coming together in prayer for ourselves, our families, our churches, our nation, and our world.)