My friend Matt had an idea. “What if we started talking about 7 x 7 (seven times seven)?” He wasn’t talking about forgiveness, which would actually be 70 x 7. He wanted to talk about the idea of spending 7 minutes every day listening to God. Take about five minutes to read the Bible. Take about two minutes to pray.
I didn’t like the idea at all.
- It felt really legalistic. What if you went 6:50 or 7:30?
- It felt too structured. Listening to God should be about feeling, not formality.
- It felt too small. Imagine scheduling 7 minutes to listen to your spouse?
- It felt too cute. What was magic about 7 x 7?
And then I started working on my health. I started riding a bike for 25 minutes at a time. That didn’t feel legalistic, it felt like the kind of exercise habit you need to start getting stronger. I listened to Nancy talking about the days that I’m at work all day and evening. And I realized that there are some days that scheduling 7 minutes to listen to her would be more than I do without planning. And I realised that we need simple reminders.
Many of us have discovered that frequent brief conversations are as important to building relationship as occasional long conversations. They build the habit of interaction, the familiarity with tone of voice and manner of speech and style of language.
Lent starts tomorrow. I’m going to commit to 7×7. If you want to join me, I’ll have a link every day to a passage from Mark that takes me about 5 minutes to read out loud (that balances out differing reading speeds). And I’ll have a question or two from the text that you can ask God.
I’ll still be writing 300. This is optional. But if you need something positive for Lent, try 7 x7.