My church is about to embark on our annual 21 days of prayer and fasting. I had never done anything like this prior to last year, but as one of (only) 2 worship leaders there I felt it important to lead by example. I ended up having some life-altering epiphanies during that 21 days and would highly encourage everyone to engage in regular times of dedicated prayer and fasting – especially if you’re wrestling with a major decision.
When visiting with the aforementioned friend yesterday, we were discussing the fast and I admitted that I had yet to determine what I would fast from this year. I quickly rephrased, stating that I hadn’t yet prayed about it. In fact, I haven’t prayed about much recently.
Let me be clear: I absolutely believe in the power of prayer. It IS possible to clearly hear the audible voice of God in direct response to a question asked in prayer. It IS possible to see your own life or the lives of others changed as a direct result of prayer. It IS possible to find peace, healing and rest when you lay your burdens at the foot of the cross. It IS possible to ask for and receive a miracle if you believe God for your requests. Even (perhaps especially) the impossible ones.
I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it. All of it.
I feel like I’ve spent the last 6+ months on my knees. (Don’t even go there – it’s not that kind of blog! I already told you I’m a worship leader!!) I have prayed fervently, ceaselessly, with every ounce of faith that I had (or didn’t have at times) and I’m tired. I’ve come to the point where I need to be praying for myself and I feel like I’m all out of prayers.
I know exactly what I’m supposed to pray into for the next 21 days. It’s as plain as the nose on my face. Side note: has it occurred to anyone else how ridiculous that expression is? Think about it. You can’t see your own nose unless you look in a mirror, so it’s not really all that clear. It should be ‘it’s as plain as the back of your hand’ or something…
I lost my job. I have NO idea what I’m doing with my life, but I’ve been presented with an opportunity to completely reevaluate things and make some huge changes. I could do more of what I was doing, which I didn’t love. I could go back to teaching, which I DO love, but the unreliable income makes it difficult to pay the bills. I could go back to school and start all over. I should pray about THIS.
But, you see…I don’t wanna!
Beyond the exhaustion, looming there in the darkness is fear. Because I believe in the power of prayer…Because I know that I can hear God’s voice in direct response to the very questions I should be asking…Because I’m not sure I’m ready to know the answer. So, like a petulant child I’ve stuck my fingers in my ears and I’m running around yelling “la, la, la, la, la I’m not listening!”
Like that same child who chooses to go to bed without supper rather than give in and eat their veggies, I’ve refused to even pray about how to fast. It’s ridiculous and I’m aware of it. Clearly this is one of those ‘do what I say, not what I do’ posts and proof positive of the veracity of the sub-title of this blog.