One of the things I was captured by when I ran my 5k a couple weeks ago was the repetition of one foot in front of the other. Over and over and over and over again. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. For (what seemed to me) a really long time.
We don’t live in a world that values repetition. We move from one “greatest, most awesome, there will never be anything funnier/sadder/ more thought-provoking/beautiful/whatever” thing to the next. The way we consume media encourage this. Youtube encourages us to find the next viral video and experience it before it gets old. And so we live in a hurry that discourages repetition.
The problem, is that repetition is good. It connects us to something. It connects us to God with depth that we cannot have when we run from God high to God high, chasing the next emotional moment. And sometimes the American version of church encourages this. Okay, a lot of the time. Each new study is the thing you need to really know God. Every conference is the one that will change your life.
But 40 days is not the goal. Neither is reading the Bible in a year. Or being up to date with current worship trends. The goal is to know God and enter into his work in this world. And that takes time and as Eugene Peterson put it, “a long obedience in the same direction.” So don’t be in a perpetual chase for the newest and best in Christian marketing and thought.
Think instead about the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. Or Paul’s years spent in prison and captivity. And live a life of faithfulness.
One of the disciplines that helps me experience this is repetitive prayers. These are short, simple prayers that I can pray over and over again to help remind me of my King and his Kingdom and to quit chasing lesser things.
Two of my favorites, give them a try (pray them over and over, left, right, left, right, left, right):
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Abba, I rest in You.
What repetitive practices do you use to keep you anchored to Christ and His kingdom?
“Give me Christ or else I die!”