Day 29 - February 24th, 2019 - Michael

Here we are, the last night of the last day of our 4-week period of prayer and fasting. As I lay on my couch at home tonight staring at my computer screen, I am struggling to think of what to write to put a nice clean bow on top as we wrap up this season…

Let’s rewind to four weeks ago: I was writing the first entry on this blog, and I was excited. I had never fasted before, and I loved the idea of a new challenge, especially one that could somehow grow my relationship with God and potentially impact the lives of others. After reading Revival Starts Here, I believed that I had received some good guidance with regards to first-time fasting, and I was really happy that I wasn’t the only one fasting during this time. I had talked about fasting with a few friends and our life group, and I just felt as if this was the beginning of something big.

Once I was a couple weeks in, I sort of hit a wall. Who are these people that I’m praying for? Are they more open to God’s love than they were a month ago? How does me regularly giving something up affect the people on my list? I had a ton of questions and doubts. My expectations were not being met.

I don’t know about you, but this is not uncommon for me. I can get really excited about a lot of things, only to become disappointed with a lack of immediate progress, and out of frustration, boredom, or distraction, I can often give up and move on to something that has my present passion and interest. So at two weeks in, I was ready to be done. I tried it, and it was fine and good, and I was done. BUT I didn’t stop. That’s the good thing about having a community fasting together. I had already told so many people that quitting was not an option, so to save face, I stuck with it (saving face is not always the best reason, but a lot of times, it gets the job done). Truth be told, if I was going it alone, I likely would have quit it. As a famous African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

So here I am, at the end of the four-week fasting period, and I did it, but I certainly didn’t do it perfectly. There were days when even saying that I “did my best” would be a stretch. I have been talking about myself a lot so far and what “I did”, and I get that’s not what it’s about, so let me make myself clear: God does the work, we just get to show up.

God loves every single person in the world immensely. Period. God does not need me to bring the world to full redemption. God does not need you. There is nothing that can stop God from completely reconciling this broken creation to God’s self. God has already defeated death and overcome evil, and we are just living in the resolution of God’s story of creation.

We have a choice to make. We can choose to join the winning team, or we can sit on the sidelines and watch. Either way, God’s team is winning. Many of us have a very passive faith. We say we believe in God, but in reality that may only be something we think intellectually. Or maybe we believe it so much that we go to church for an hour a week when we’re not working. Or maybe we even give a percentage of our money to our church. But even after all of that, still God knows we’ll be better off if we do more.

When we pray and when we fast, we are falling deeper and deeper into the heart of God. Praying and fasting for the people in our community is important not because we are so right that God might listen to us and work in the lives of the people on our prayer lists. Praying and fasting for the sake of our community is important because it wakes us up to the ways that God is already working in our community and inside of us.

In retrospect, this season of prayer and fasting has been huge for me. Not because God has performed more miracles in the last 4-weeks than in other weeks. This period has been huge for me because in many ways I have been able to be free of the blinders I wear that keep me from seeing God’s steady hand at work in my life, our community, and our church. A beautiful conversation with a friend, seeing the goodness of the teachers at DuPont Tyler and Tulip Grove, and simply the taste of good food are reflections of the Divine God in our world, right here.

Maybe in all of our praying that God would awake the sleeping hearts of those in Nashville who we view as lost, God has awoken much more inside of us. May we live in a way that is hungry to see God’s fingerprints in the seemingly mundane. May a morning sunrise actually remind us of God’s faithfulness, instead of just the stress of another day at work. May we see someone in line at Kroger as an opportunity to connect, instead of simply an obstacle to getting home. And may we be filled with the Spirit of the Living God as we walk to our mailboxes, sing along to the car radio, and bag our groceries.

There is no place better to be than in the love of God.

Michael Clinger