Sunday, July 13, 2014

A quick look back at fasting, prayer and praise

The week of the 7-hour prayer challenge and fast and what turned out to be helping lead praise and worship for seven church services was interesting and rewarding.

Not eating anything for seven hours -- from after I finished breakfast at 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- on Monday didn't seem like it would be too challenging. I was surprised. I don't eat a lot of calories at work, but what I do eat, I munch on throughout the day. And I chew gum and drink diet drinks, which I chose to abstain from during the fast. Fortunately, my plan was to turn any of my thoughts of wanting to eat over to thoughts of why I had committed to the fast: To increase my focus on God and prayers for His spirit to move His people in a fresh new way. I ended up with many opportunities.

Then there was the matter of praying for seven hours. How that unfolded for me was an hour and 15 minutes of continuous prayer to start the day, then focus on six prayer topics, one in each of the next six hours. I didn't get these done on the hour, but I did pray through all of the suggestions. I broke my fast with soup, and not too long after that, left work early to go to church for the second of the seven worship services, five of which included Holy Communion.

The alternate theme for the week quickly became focus on God and trust God. I knew I could not manage leaving work early most days and going to a worship service. I would get behind and frustrated and tired and overwhelmed. But none of that happened. For that I am grateful. (And I can tell already that I am too tired to draw on feelings and emotions in reflecting on the week. Maybe I will return tomorrow?)

As I reflected this morning on the past week, these were some of my conclusions:

 -- Ego is still an issue. I'm sad that I've seen no pictures of the Youth Force band. Fill me with Your love, Lord.

-- What I really need to fast from is craving attention. Wanting to be in pictures. Caring too much about how I look. Wanting a microphone.

-- Even as I dealt with those issues, true blessings came as I continually reaffirmed my commitment to trust God. Let go and let God.

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