Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Key Verse: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
The second-to-last mile is the hardest one, I’ve heard. It’s the mile just before the end is actually in sight. That’s about how it worked out on my first half marathon.
I remember running past the marquee at mile 3 and noticing the temperature: 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It was cold. But I wasn’t nearly alone. I was surrounded by my siblings and friends. We’d all trained together for this event. And there’s nothing like good company to make the miles passing underfoot seem a bit shorter. And all around us were thousands of strangers, all pressing toward the same goal.
By mile 5 or 6 we were running along the river. The crowds were thinning with each passing step, and the scenery kept our eyes on the horizon, rather than on the ground at our feet. Fully settled into our stride, we chatted comfortably as we ran, frequently exchanging looks and laughter.
Sometime after mile 10, a few in our group broke into a slightly slower stride. By now we could feel the satisfying fatigue that comes with measured but prolonged exertion. We watched intently for mileposts now.
Then came the dreaded second-to-last mile. The course suddenly broke away from the riverbank and led uphill to the downtown district, where (the signs indicated) we’d find the finish line. Now the pack was strung out in near single file. All of the strangers seemed to pull ahead, or fall far behind. And our feet? If they had murmured before, they were yelling now. We passed more and more who were walking, or sometimes simply standing. The weight of fatigue and the seeming eternity between mileposts combined to create a war in our minds as truly as in our legs.
How similar is the course facing eleventh-hour runners in the race that is set before us. Many have run long miles since their first love nerved each endeavor. We have passed through hills and valleys and run along peaceful streams. But now our course has turned, and surely, the grade is uphill. The miles may seem to pass more slowly than ever. The end may be out of sight. But don’t we know the course Designer? And hasn’t He promised that the finish will come not one step later than it must?
Fatigue is real, but camaraderie takes over. At all costs, we’ll cross. All of us. Together. We shout to one another. We growl up each hill. We jog back to round up the slower ones at the end of our line. Then we turn a corner that must be the last. But no . . . maybe the next one.
Ah! There it is! The arch that marks a race well run. Shoes cross the mat, and the official time is done. A medal hangs around each neck. We’ve done it! And we lost not one.
“To run the Christian course in triumph, it is as necessary for us to exercise fortitude, patience, and self-denial, as it was for the contestants in the games and races of the Greeks and Romans. . . . Every hindrance must be laid aside; no weight must impede his course. And after this has been done, the utmost exertion is required in order to gain the victory” (Sketches from the Life of Paul, pp. 164, 165).
Now is just such a time. At all costs, we must cross. And together. Let us rally, all prayer and praise! The end is just around the corner. We are almost home.
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to hold on to You, knowing that “He which hath begun a good work in [us] will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). Help us not to give up, although the miles seem more and more difficult. Help us to hold on until You bring us safely home. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Note: While 100 Days is completed, our prayer journey has not! We ask you to continue to pray during these 10 days of GC Session.
Also starting tonight through July 11th, we will be posting daily PRAISE REPORTS as well as PRAYER REQUEST for the agenda items of the following day at GC Session. We will post these each evening, Central Time, after the evening Session has finished.
July 12th, we will begin our new prayer initiative – UNITED in PRAYER on this website! So stay tuned!