This is somewhat of a personal post, but it's really important to me, and I think it can be extremely useful to my readers, so I wanted to share. Every new year brings the opportunity to start fresh, but I'm always taken back to Proverbs 16:9 that says, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."We think that a new planner, a course on simplifying things, or even a new way of scheduling time will help jump start us in the right direction. But that does us no good if our steps aren't guided by our Creator.
Our church (The Agape Church) does a season of prayer and fasting at the beginning of each year. I have had the honor of being involved in the design of the book the last two years, and as we were deciding on the name, "Prayer Changes Everything" was stuck in my head. Our pastors graciously give me creative freedom and gave me the okay on the theme, so we went with it. I'm really proud of the way it turned out. The cover inspires me to dig in, and I hope it does the same for others.
When we first started going to this church, my first thought on the prayer and fasting season was, "Holy Cow! This place is serious about prayer." Now, I think "Holy Cow! Why isn't everyone this serious about prayer?" I have learned that fasting isn't just a tradition of those living in the Old Testament times. There is scripture throughout the Bible that speaks of denying ourselves things of the flesh to focus our hunger for Jesus. It's a season that, if done with discipline, it will reveal those areas that we otherwise miss.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to get to the end of 2018 without having a time of cleansing and focus on the things in my life that the busyness of everyday causes me to brush off or miss completely. I don't want to rush through every day - daycare drop-off, work meetings, dinner, bedtime/bath, repeat - and miss those deep-rooted, life-changing things that God wants to change in me. I don't want to miss the still small voice. Heck, I don't want to miss the loud and clears (and sometimes, if I'm not focused, I do)! Sometimes, the mysteries of God aren't mysteries. We just have to listen!
So I challenge you as friends, blog subscribers, Jesus followers or even those searching for something this year but can't put there finger on exactly what. Take the next 21 (technically 22) and dig in, pray, fast and listen. You can check out The Agape.Church Instagram page for tips on how to prepare and different ways to fasts (surprisingly, you don't have to abstain from all food). And as our pastor reminded us this morning, Mark 11:23-24
I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Make this a year of intention and focus.