“Real change is practically invisible as it’s happening.” When I read this quote from Marie Forleo, it rang true for me. As the war rages on, our time spent in Russia and Ukraine comes to mind. Seventeen years ago, in Odesa, Ukraine, I climbed the Potemkin Stairs. That time in Odesa was eye-opening. However, climbing those stairs once did not change my spiritual health and well-being trajectory.
But earlier that same year, at the Basilica of the Holy Stairs in Rome, I joined a crowd of believers to climb 28 wood-covered stairs. I labored in heartfelt prayer as I journeyed to the top on my hands and knees. All around me, lips moved passionately but soundlessly, much like Hannah in the temple (I Samuel 1:10). Now, in the present, each time I take the stairs, I pray. I give thanks for the ability to move, ask for safety, and pray for strength.
Physical Benefits of Stair Climbing
Stair climbing is an easy exercise that provides health benefits if done regularly. A few benefits include; enhanced heart and lung function, improved blood circulation. Stair climbing also leads to healthy bones and a lower risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, stair climbing strengthens muscles and helps burn body fat. These are fundamental changes, and yet they go unnoticed as they occur.
Spiritual Benefits of Stair Climbing
In the beginning, the answers to our prayers may seem invisible. But, with time and experience, we see God’s sovereign and loving hand at work in our lives. Our small daily steps in prayer improve our attitudes, align our hearts with Christ, and teach us who we are in Him.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. (Isaiah 35:3 ESV)
God encourages the hearts of the faithful to alter the present condition of their hands and knees. We use our hands in daily work, but they are more powerful when raised in praise. Our knees help us move as we walk or climb, and they will bend humbly for prayer.
Even though real change is practically invisible as it’s happening, our raised hands and bent knees build a firm staircase of prayer and praise to Him. Gratitude for His sovereignty brings our hearts joy as we wait for the fulfillment of His promises. We don’t have to climb stairs on our hands and knees to honor Christ; instead, we can use our daily lives to glorify God with each step we take towards Him.
Think about the condition of your hands and knees. What do you need to change?
Most gracious and almighty God, I raise my hands to praise You without fear or shame. I bow before You in prayer with a grateful heart. I take joy in Your promises, and I wait on Your perfect timing to reveal the changes in me and around me. Thank you for strengthening my hands and making my knees firm as I seek Your will and way each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.