On Mondays we fast and pray for godly marriages for those who desire them, and for men and women to become clearer, deeper and stronger bearers of God’s image in their own unique ways.
This idea of fasting and praying for marriage, men and women was conceived in the summer of 2007 at a girlfriends’ beach weekend. One of us had just broken up with a man she would later marry. Another had been dumped by someone she wouldn’t see again. The third of us was taking time off from a guy with whom she would eventually break up. Sitting there, watching sunsets over delicious dinners, the three of us realized that our best, savviest, and most self-reflectively strategic attempts couldn’t get us that for which our hearts longed: marriage.
Fast and Pray was born.
In the nine years since that weekend, fast.pray has had tens of writers and perhaps two thousand participants. And many of the women joining in the prayer movement have had amazing testimonies about changed character, emergent relationships and new marriages. My testimony is simply this: we Chardonnay sipping single ladies were mostly right. Our best, savviest, most self-reflective, emotionally intelligent, and strategic attempts can never get us that for which our hearts long. But what has changed in nine years is my understanding of the nature of the “that,” the object of our longings.
Sitting at that beach house, we all were longing for marriage (two of us our now married, with kids). That yearning was and is legit. The urge to merge is wrapped up with God’s Trinitarian and relational nature, no doubt! It’s linked to a longing for the image of God to show up as wholly as possible with men and women in union together. It’s connected to the crucial context for bearing children. It’s woven into an array of things like physical desire, community building, character development, church life, social place and, simply, love. Marriage is God’s good idea.
The last nine years, however, have taught me about my deepest of deeps. Dig down honestly and long enough and, actually, I’m longing for something more than marriage. Don’t get me wrong, if I stay single until I die, there will be certain Saturday nights where I sigh and say, “Oh how I wish I were snuggling with someone on the sofa” or Christmas mornings where I declare, “How I wish mine were a house full of children.” There’s no shame in that. But nine years has broken me open to my deepest desire: the marriage feast of the Lamb. I yearn for Jesus Christ to come back and make all things fully, completely, and relentlessly right. I long for the new heavens and the new earth with our worship-worthy Jesus smack dab in the middle of it all, reigning, mysteriously powerful and intimately loving, among his people from every neighborhood and community, every culture and ethnic persuasion.
Nine years ago I would have thought that such a longing was hyper-spiritualized at best, a depressing copout at worst. But the years have shown me that my soul longs to be satisfied in the morning—and spurred forward throughout each day—with the kind of love that never, ever fails. That, I have learned, is divine and eternal Love. So in nine years, inconceivably to me, my prayer has changed. “Come Lord Jesus!” I now cry out from the center of my being. And then, with a little wink and twinkle in my eye, I tack on (because our God is good and gets our hearts), “And if you want to send me a good guy in the meantime, well, I’d like that, too.” J
Thanks for being in this journey together. It has been my joy. Fast.Pray might be ending, but our real journey continues—towards Him who has no end!
PS: Since announcing that the blog was coming to an end, we’ve had some questions from a reader (also, our friend) who was interested in continuing the blog on an ad-hoc basis. We’re taking our usual August sabbatical, but don’t be surprised if you see some emails popping up again in the fall from our dear friend Leigh. We couldn’t be more happy for this news! And we’re grateful that this is perhaps more the end of a chapter than the end of the blog itself. The next chapter may have a slightly different format, but we’re excited for the voice and vision of this online community to continue in any format. Many blessings on your summer break. With love, Michelle, Amy and Connally