“Be still and know that I am God…….”
Earlier this year my church offered a 21-day fasting and prayer challenge. The goal: to give up something hindering my time, in relationship to God. Oh, that shouldn’t be too hard, it’s like Lent, only early, right?
Our church congregation had just completed a “read through the Bible in two years” program and I was looking for a way to maintain my focus in God’s word. I’m handed the perfect solution. I would give up my nightly/before bed novel reading, replacing it with reading the Bible and praying for others. I admire Christians with their devout prayer habits, so this could be my launch to a deeper relationship with God through prayer.
I prayerfully considered what God was calling me to read…..Esther…..Galatians…..Acts…..
I settled on the exploits of Esther and her cousin Mordecai. While contemplating Esther’s rise to the throne….um…I need to call my mom and….um….put deodorant on the grocery list……um……remember to take paper towels to work tomorrow…..WHAT? No, no that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. Let me start again. After Esther becomes queen, her cousin Mordecai refuses to bow to a high official of the King…..um when I wash my new pants next I have to remember not to dry them…..um….my car needs an oil change…..and….um….don’t forget to make a dinner reservation for ….. WHAT? Here I go again,….what in the heck am I doing? God, I’m so sorry, why can’t I stay on track with my prayer and reading?
I decided I must be too tired to complete my reading and prayer, so I turned off the light, said my personal prayers and slept.
The next night, I settled in for further reading in Esther. The reading went well, much better than the night before, so I closed my Bible and began specific prayers for others. Father, I lift up to you my mother, who’s suffering from bronchitis, please provide the healing she needs…..oh healing….um….I need to put triple antibiotic ointment on my grocery list….um….oh my goodness, here I go again!! I tried again several times, with the same result.
I decided I must be too tired to completed my prayers, so I turned off the light, said my personal prayers and slept.
This continued off and on, mostly on, for the full 21 days. Concerned with my lack of focus, I reached out to my pastor, who assured me I was in good company, that it’s better to talk (pray) with God than not, and that who better could you sleep with every night? I wasn’t a matter of my not being prayerful enough, only that I was trying to force the timing. My being still, came after the lights were out and not when I was making time for it. God always has a plan…………..