This morning, I taught my son a formula for subtracting '9' from any number. "You subtract ten and add one," I told him. "You are very good at subtracting ten and adding one. You can do it." But he couldn't. It was just too hard. I was asking too much.
Sometimes I feel that way with the simple commandments the Lord has given us to read our scriptures and say our prayers. "Just open your scriptures and read," He pleas. "Just hit your knees at least once today. You already know how to do these things. I know you can do it."
However, stubborn Jessie thinks, "Not right now. I am too busy. I have to teach this lesson or clean these dishes or take this much needed nap. Later. Later I will read. Later I will pray." Then later comes, and I'm too tired. It's just too hard. He is asking too much.
It's silly, really. The Lord doesn't ask for much of my time--a few minutes a day even. The truth is, the days I set aside time to read and pray (which is best done in the morning before the children wake up), my day is different. As in worlds different. There's more patience and love and grace.
I recently read this great talk by Brother Ridd of the Young Men's General Presidency. He addresses this very thing.
So why doesn't everyone do them (scriptures and prayer)? Perhaps one reason is that we don't necessarily see dramatic negative consequences if we miss a day or two--just as your teeth don't all decay and fall out the first time you don't brush. Most of the consequences, positive and negative, will come later, over time. But they will come.
picture from lds.org
It's so easy to fall into the trap of not believing such a small thing will make a difference. It would almost be easier to believe if it was a BIG thing. A big thing equals big blessings, right? But as Brother Ridd reminds us,
There is great power in the compounding effect of little things done each day...The compounding effect of daily disciplines, with purpose and real intent, can make a big difference in all areas of your life. It can mean the difference between struggling through an ordinary life or being immensely successful and filling the measure or your creation.
I love that quote. I'll pass on the ordinary life, thank you very much.