Last week our church scheduled a “Seek Week”. It led up to our Vision Sunday where our Pastor reviewed last year and encouraged us with the vision for this year. Our leaders encouraged us to take time to fast and pray–not only for our church, but also for our individual instructions or vision from the Lord. I will confess due to many reasons, this was one of the hardest fast/prayer times I have experienced.
As I did my best to set more time aside to seek the Lord I found I really had to discipline myself to keep focused on the task at hand. I know the blessing of corporate prayer and the blessing of simple obedience to the fact we were asked to participate, but still I found resistance. Looking back, it was easier when Darryl and I would do it “together”, encouraging each other. I found I had to encourage myself in the Lord in some new ways! It’s not that I haven’t done it since he’s been gone, it was just harder this time. I think maybe there was a grief aspect I hadn’t anticipated. I am thankful for past testimonies of God’s faithfulness when I have prayed and fasted as well. I kept reminding myself that it would be worth it when I finished it!
One night I put on some worship music, opened a book I was reading (Dangerous Prayers by Pastor Craig Groeschel), and began to push through. The not so amazing thing was the Holy Spirit showed up. I opened my Bible to the scripture Groeschel was referencing and I slowly considered them. It was a very special one on one experience with our Heavenly Father. I re-learned the lesson that slowing down with the Word can be soo precious. There really is no need to rush, for when we slow down is when we find the nuggets of truth that can sustain us through difficulties, humble us when we may be tempted to pride, and help us maintain our walk with Him during this season on earth. One scripture particularly stood out to me. I Peter 5:10 In His kindness God called on you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. Isn’t that so comforting? He will restore, support and strengthen me after I suffer a little while. Persistent prayer during our times of suffering helps us stay the course. We find a similar word of encouragement in Psalm 40.1-3.
Psalm 40: I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth–even praise to our God; many will see it, and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Taking time to wait for Him to show up, is not always easy. What a wonderful testimony David gave us–and He turned to me and heard MY cry. David was in a very difficult place–but as he waited for the Lord, God brought Him out and set his feet on his rock and established his steps. He does the same for us. He will establish our going. He will take away the song of lament and whining and replace it with a new song. A song that will cause praise to our God and this is the amazing part: Many will see it, and fear and will trust in the Lord! It is always encouraging to me to know that what I go through, as I do it with the Lord will always bring help and hope to others. It is not just about me!
I have been praying big prayers for family and friends. I believe God is going to show up strong and bring hope and help even to some long term stubborn situations. The key point is to wait patiently and in faith for our God to move. Releasing our faith while we pray and then resting in Him works not only for ourselves, but for others. Keep on asking, believing and allowing Him to change you and if necessary to help customize those prayers as needed. What an amazing God we serve. He does move mountains that seem to be stubborn against our prayers–we may feel we are moving them a spoonful at a time, but so be it! We do our part and He does His. Father, encourage us to wait on you as we are praying. I speak encouragement to everyone who is tempted to quit, keep on my friends. He is working on your behalf even now. Father, send a token for good. I speak hope to the hopeless today. Look up in faith for the moving of His hand, He love is always towards us.
In Jesus Name, Amen.