A reminder: We are praying for marriages for those who are designed for it, for the courage for men to walk into marriage, and for the courage for women to see where we need to change–and to change. And as we pray, we hope you’ll consider these words from Anna, who has been a part of this movement for 3+ years. ~The FastPray team
Sometimes when I tell people about this group, I get the sense they think I spend every Monday lunch break asking God to please bring me a husband … oh, and one for a few of my friends, too. Of course, I’ve always had some underlying hope along those lines, but I knew going into this rhythm of fasting and prayer that I didn’t have control of the agenda. To enter into a spiritual discipline like this is to bring our hearts and hand Him the keys.
Thus, in the three-plus years I’ve been fasting and praying with all of you, my focus has shifted away from me and my disappointments and much more toward others. And not just those who long for marriage, but men. In the last year, I’ve prayed particularly that men would reach their potential and become who they were created to be (whatever that does or does not mean for their relational lives). One encouragement in this has been an old fast.pray meditation on Ezekiel 37, about how God had Ezekiel prophesy over a valley of dry bones He transformed into people. That post has been a persistent reminder that God can create something from what seems like nothing. Or as Baptist preacher Russell Moore recently put it, God could make the next Billy Graham out of someone who’s currently drunk or passed out.
Dr. Moore’s article particularly moved me, because the men heaviest on my heart recently are those who pay for sex or otherwise participate in the sexual exploitation of others. In fact, I’m organizing a Valentine’s Day prayer event, called Pray for the Johns Day. The idea is to not only pray that johns would repent and turn from their ways, but that they could embark on whatever good works God has appointed for them to do.
Asking God for such a big thing is scary. What if He doesn’t act? But isn’t turning people from sin and transforming broken lives into sources of good why Jesus came to earth? So I’m praying boldly. And the more I do, the more I’m reminded that Jesus often tied His ability to heal to people’s faith. What if one reason God sometimes seems distant and impotent is that we’re so sure He’ll answer “no” that we don’t even ask? Or because, when we do ask, we expect inaction?
Certainly God sometimes allows us to ask for something year after year, maybe partly to produce patience and endurance. But He is also a God who delights to give good gifts and transform the broken into a blessing. And He is the God of both of the slave trader-turned-pastor and hymn writer and the murderer-turned-antigang outreach worker.
When I reread those stories, I get excited about what God can do through these Monday prayers of ours. As much as they’re about the specific pain of singleness and the longing for marriage, they’re also a request that God would bring His kingdom more fully in men and women, and especially in our relationships.
So wherever you’re at in this fasting-and-prayer journey, I would encourage you to pray boldly and expectantly. While I find a lot of good in asking God to show me what I should ask for, and how I should pray for certain people who are on my heart, the resulting requests I find myself making are sometimes very big. And somehow, because I’m planning to pray for the johns on Feb. 14, this is about as excited about a Valentine’s Day as I’ve been in a very long time.
Be Encouraged, Anna