This is the reminder that we are fasting and praying during what would be Monday lunch for: 1) marriages for those who desire it (or for whom it would be good!), 2) courage for men to walk upright in the context of their relationships with women, and 3) courage for women to be the women God would have us be in the context of relationships with men.
Meanwhile, I’ve just stepped away from watching the Super Bowl half-time show thinking…..”Hmmmm…..there really are a lot of glow-in-the-dark people on that field!” They did stand out, no doubt, even as I had to admit while watching them that I don’t always get what passes as entertainment in our broader culture. Actually, watching some of the Super Bowl ads, I realized that there’s a lot in our broader culture that leaves me pausing, hesitant, unsure. I wonder sometimes if I’m missing the joke or maybe looking through a funny shaped lens.
But you know what, it’s not just I who looks around and shakes her head like an old person. This week, I went to a lecture at the University of Virginia by a woman, Kay Hymowitz, whose book, “Manning Up” is coming out this March. She’s not coming from a single-woman, Jesus-centered position; she’s a scholar/journalist from New York City, married, a mother, and Jewish I believe. And yet, she’s seeing all the same things so many of us have been seeing–the bottom line being the disproportionately large number of savvy, available women relative to the number of equivalent guys (and the unhappy results). When asked what hope there is for change in this dynamic, she said that perhaps a continued recession might change things (helping men and women grow up sooner). She suggested, too, that if the “cost” for sex went back up (i.e. marriage), things might shift. But, she admitted, reversing the sexual revolution is, humanly speaking, impossible.
So given her assessment, and limited solutions, at the post-lecture dinner, I ended up telling her about this prayer and fasting movement. As I explained it to her, she was touched. I explained that many of us pray and fast because we’ve realized that no one person has the power to force change in marriage, men, women or our culture. I said we pray and fast because we really know that the changes that we long to see cannot happen apart from God showing up and breaking into our culture’s current trajectory–and into our individual lives. She said she hadn’t heard of this response before and said it seemed incredibly commendable.
So this Monday when you pray and fast, do so boldly. Do so with confidence that you aren’t praying and fasting because you’re the one person out there who can’t get your relational act together, or because your “issues” have sidelined you. Rather, do so knowing that we as women (and men) gifted with relational longings have been given the peculiar privilege of getting to help pray these longings into reality in our particular cultural moment. And do so knowing that as we pray and fast, we are….perhaps in some strange way actually like those neon dancers on the Super Bowl field…. shining like stars in the universe, not simply for a Super Bowl audience but for God’s far bigger purposes.
Many blessings on your week,