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Daily Devotion: Big Hill Prayers

In that moment when you don’t think you have anything left to say and you can’t imagine what God has to say to you; somehow, prayer happens.

By Rick Hamlin, New York, New York

As appeared in

We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. –Acts 14:22

I’ve begun to call it Good Idea Hill.

It’s the least favorite part of my usual morning run. I jog through our neighborhood, past the school where the teachers are just arriving, past the church and the playground, into the park where, depending on the season, the heather, the azaleas, the dogwood, the peonies, the roses, the daylilies, the poppies, the chrysanthemums bloom. I come around the path to the wide lawn where there’s always a jogger or a walker to say “Good morning” to.

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But then comes the big hill, a long slow rise on an asphalt road. Sure, there are old elm trees and a blush of impatiens and a view across the Hudson River if I look, but my eyes get glued to the ground and I start thinking, I’m not going to make it.

Oddly enough, though, as I push through my fatigue, a lighter stream of thought comes through, telling me, You should call so-and-so or Write a note to such-and-such or You should buy your mom X for her birthday. It’s a time when my imagination starts spinning with good ideas. I suppose I could have stumbled on them lying in bed, getting an extra half hour of sleep, but I wouldn’t count on it. The combination of endorphins, sunshine, effort and fatigue somehow delivers—and at just the moment when I’m ready to give up. It’s like that moment in prayer when you don’t think you have anything left to say and you can’t imagine what God has to say to you; somehow, prayer happens.

So whatever you’re doing, whatever challenges you’re facing, stick with the hills. They give back.

Lord, I will press on and persevere even at those times that are especially tough, because that’s often when I come to know You.

10 Prayers You Can't Live Without book cover Known by millions as the executive editor of Guideposts magazine, Rick Hamlin has written several books including Reading Between the Lines, his memoir Finding God on the A Train, and several novels. A contributor to Daily Guideposts since 1985 and an active blogger about prayer at guideposts.org, Rick currently lives in New York City with his wife, Carol. This article is excerpted from his new book, 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without: How to Talk to God About Anything (Guideposts Books 2013).