You don’t know how weak you are until you try to lift a heavy weight.
Without putting your muscles to the test, you can assume anything. All certainty comes from testing.
This morning, I returned to the Exodus 90 disciplines for the first time since last April and found myself remarkably weaker than I had assumed.
I set my alarm for 5:30 instead of 4:30 which meant I did not have time to work out, write, and complete my holy hour. Something had to give, so I moved my workout to this evening. That will have ripple effects for the rest of the week—either I get back on schedule Wednesday and give my body less than optimal recovery time, or I work out in the evening all week, which reduces the benefit of working out.
Thus, my failure to stay in shape prayerwise has already caused a problem. Maybe my error can serve as a warning to others.
Waking up late wasn’t my only source of humiliation today, though. I screwed up holy hour.
The Exodus 90 holy hours follow a strict pattern:
5 minute opening prayer
15 minutes of spiritual reading
20 minutes of contemplative prayer
15 minutes of petition prayer
5 minutes of thanksgiving prayer
I screwed it all up.
Thinking I remembered the holy hour routine from last year, I dove in without a review of the practice. Instead of an opening prayer, I started with the Office of Prime. Halfway through, I jumped to the spiritual reading.
During the spiritual reading, I got distracted by thinking, “maybe I should review the holy hour practice on the app.” I did this and realized I needed to also review the field guide for the particular tract we’re following this year. After that ten-minute diversion, I got back on track. Until the 20 minutes of contemplative prayer.
Maybe you can sit silently for 20 minutes without practice. I can’t. I thought I could. If you’d asked me yesterday if I could sit and let God talk to me for 20 minutes, I’d have said, “You bet I can! I do it every day.” Which would have been a lie.
If you’d asked the same question of me on Easter Sunday 2021, I could have honestly answered “yes.” But I stopped practicing the contemplative prayer exercise on Easter Sunday and never returned until this morning.