Hi Fellow Prayer-Fasters,
This is your weekly reminder: we are praying and fasting during what would be lunch on Monday for new marriages and relational courage for men and women. Try if you can to get a friend to pray with you at some point during the day, even if it’s not for the entire lunch hour. And remember to pray specifically—for fledgling relationships you know of, for particular men and women, and for your own desires.
Meanwhile, just a few thoughts to ponder as you pray…
As you probably know, we just switched up to this blog format. The fun thing about this is that as people sign up, we can see where they are located. In addition to people signing up from throughout the U.S.—from Mississippi to Vermont, from San Francisco to Atlanta—we have people from Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Italy, Dubai, Bangladesh, India, Russia, Hong Kong, and Japan! It’s amazing. In other words, and I hope this encourages you, the widespread gender/relational angst and the related wave of “unintentional singleness” isn’t just “your issue,” but it’s something experienced by many.
So, given the fact that it’s not just an isolated experience for one or two women who are “too picky” or “too desperate,” “too strong” or “too weak,” we inevitably come back to asking what we can do. And I’d like to propose that praying really matters. Recently, I read an article about praying for those who are yet to know Jesus as God’s beloved Son (let alone themselves as God’s beloved child). The author made the point that “travailing” in prayer, “laboring” on behalf of these friends/colleagues/neighbors/family members, is integral to God’s Spirit birthing new life in these men, women, and children.
Interestingly enough, the examples that the author—a man—uses to support the importance of laboring in prayer are almost all taken from Biblical stories of barren woman who persistently prayed to be delivered from their barrenness. These women had passionate desire, these women were compelled by their longings, these women unflinchingly wanted to see and experience fruit in their lives. And so they prayed their guts out!(Take a look below at the references.)
Now I am not saying that there is a magic formula in the sense that fervent prayer guarantees a particular, personal outcome (let’s face it, there were 5 of us initially involved in this prayer and fasting thing, and 4 have gotten married. Guess who number 5 is?….So I’m under no illusion that we control God). But, I am saying that there is historic precedent of women—who tend to feel the pain of relational gaps more deeply than men—taking that pain and transforming it into powerful prayers on behalf of new life growing in the gaps (be that new relationships, new children, new growth, or new spiritual life in those we love).
So please know this week as you pray, your prayers—perhaps born out of barrenness in your own life on some level—are one of the means that God has always used to bring about new life. He has done it for generations of people, and he is doing it literally around the world. You don’t need to deny your longings, your aches, your confusion or your hopes. Rather, let those realities become the powerful fuel for your prayers—for our prayers—for new and robust life.
Many Blessings This Week,
1. Sarah, who brought forth Isaac (Genesis 11:30, 16:1, 18:1-15, 21:1-8)
2. Rebekah, who brought forth Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:21-26)
3. Rachel, who brought forth Joseph and Benjamin (Genesis 29:31, 30:1,22-24, 35:16-18)
4. Manoah’s wife, who brought forth Samson (Judges 13:2-24)
5. Ruth, who brought forth Obed (Ruth 4:13)
6. Hannah, who brought forth Samuel (1 Samuel 1:2-20)
7. Elizabeth, who brought forth John the Baptist (Luke 1:7-13,57)