Monday, April 16, 2012

What IF?

What if I spent an hour a day face down before God?

That was the question going into Lent and it was how I was going to challenge myself over 40 days.

While denying our flesh is part of the purpose of fasting, it's very easy for me to give things up for a season. Food, internet, alcohol, coffee, TV, you name it and I could go for a season without. But the point of fasting isn't for me to give something up, and while I did give something up for Lent, I also wanted to issue a challenge; To set aside a designated period of time each day to step away from everything and spend time with God.

It was a completely focused time of prayer. I had outlined 4 specific short-term and long-term goals I wanted to be praying for every day. I had people and situations I wanted to be praying for every day. I had some great conversations leading up to Lent, which helped me to define some short and long term goals better, so I could be more specific in prayer.

It wasn't easy. The first 2 weeks were extremely strong and great. I don't know if I've ever had consistent prayer time that was so focused and determined, so rich and passionate. But it didn't last. I became tired and weary of praying the same things over and over again. I would be tired one day or unmotivated or too hungry. But I kept at it. And the final week I had this thought while running: Finish Strong. And I was determined to finish Lent strong and pray harder.

I had two passages in the Bible that I prayed every day.

The first was 1 Kings 18:36-39

"At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!”

Elijah called down fire from Heaven three times. The first day of Lent I prayed, "God I want a faith that can call down fire from Heaven and bring YOU glory."

The prayer isn't about wanting to call down fire. The prayer is about having a deep faith that God is bigger than I can ask or imagine and I want a faith where I believe what I pray. That if I present my requests before God, I want to believe that if I'm praying in accordance with His will that He's going to come through. People in the bible did incredible things and I need a deeper faith if I want to see what happened in the bible happen in my life for the glory of God. Because it's not about me.

I must decrease so He can increase. I want to be filled up so I can pour out. I wanted to be blessed so I can be a blessing to those around me. And if I'm not going to use God's blessings to bless others, than I don't want to be bless.

My other scripture for Lent was Romans 8:28.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

This has been my new life motto. There were some amazing great things that happened over the last 40 days but it's also been filled with disappointment and moments where it felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

But honestly, most of the disappointments weren't disappointments. They were prayers answered. If you pray for God's will in your life and for him to close doors you're not supposed to walk through, you better be prepared for him to answer with closed doors from time to time.

And what seemed like divine appointments and God moving in one direction, only to have those doors close turned into great moments where I was able to thank God for answering my prayer and not letting me go where he didn't want me to. Plus, it was those moments where I could see other divine appointments that weren't as in my face where God moved and used someone to speak into my life and help me.

I'm not trying to spin bad things. Yes, closed doors sucked. But knowing that I prayed for open or closed doors, and knowing that God works all things for the good of those who love him, and spending every day on my face in prayer, you begin to connect the dots and put the puzzle together piece by piece. God has a much larger plan than I can see and getting glimpses of the puzzle as it's put together is God enough for me and God gets the glory and praise for moving and doing great things in my life.

I've seen prayers answered and I have prayers I need to continue to pray.

What IF I spend an hour a day face down before God? Life changes.