A Time to Listen

We fast and pray (typically through Monday’s lunch): for marriage for those who desire it; for strong, God-honoring marriages to thrive; and for our hearts to be soft and receptive to our Father.

When I started writing for fast.pray. in 2012, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it ended up being one of the best and most difficult things I’ve done. The guidelines for posting were simple: keep it around 600-ish words (sorry, sometimes it has taken more words than that!) and share your struggles with singleness, but always bring it back to the focus of hope that we have in the Lord.

At the risk of sounding heretical, this exercise should be a new spiritual discipline. Take the most personal/emotional/mental/spiritual struggle you have and write and reflect on it in light of Scripture and God’s promises. Oh yes, and hundreds of people will read it and comment.

But writing has been such a blessing to my soul. I’ve had many spiritual epiphanies while processing situations and feelings in order to share them with you. It was a tremendous comfort to know that others in the community had similar experiences as we walked this journey of singleness together.

To structure my time of fasting and prayer on Mondays, I made a list of friends and family for whom I pray about their marital status. The list has two columns: single and married. For my single guy/girl friends, I pray the Lord will bring a spouse if that’s His Will. For my married friends, I pray for strong, lasting marriages.

Over the years, I’ve moved names from the single list to the married list, praising the Lord for answered prayer. It’s been a joy to see relationships develop, and I have realized answered prayer myself as I met (online), dated, and married my husband (see My Plan B is God’s Plan A).

Being married hasn’t changed my heart or attitude toward the importance of fasting and praying for marriage. If anything, it has reinforced the importance as I’ve heard stories of struggling marriages, and there are still many names on my prayer list of singles who desire marriage.

However, for the past several months, I’ve felt the Lord leading me to take on a new role in our fast.pray. community as a prayer supporter rather than a regular writer. I feel I have “written through” my journey with singleness and can’t add to the sense of journeying together which is what makes this community so special and effective. Even though I know from experience the rollercoaster the single life can be, the last thing I want is for me to come across as that married person who has good intentions but is not adding to the conversation in a meaningful way.

To illustrate what I mean: I recently heard a sermon on the book of Job, and the pastor mentioned that Job’s friends would have been much more effective in comforting and supporting him if they had simply come to sit, listen, and pray (as they did at first) rather than speak. (Job 2:11-4:8)

So I’m here to sit, listen, and pray with you every Monday rather than speak. I might pop up from time to time to let you know I’m still around and praying, but for now, I’m going to quietly support. Thank you for the feedback, encouragement, and insight you’ve given me these past three years!

To borrow Paul’s prayer for the Colossians (1:9b-14 NIV):

[I] continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Much love through Him,

Emily

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9 Responses to A Time to Listen

  1. fast. pray. says:

    Emily, I have been so absolutely grateful for your wisdom and contributions to this community – in written form and in prayer support. You are a beauty in every sense!

    Looking forward to partnering with you in this new season as well…thank you!

    Amy

  2. Charmaine says:

    I feel like this is the typical scenario of how a single person leaves her single friends and single problems once she gets married. Not casting any blame or accusation on your choice and that you have been blessed with marriage, but the fact is, you aren’t single anymore and this isn’t your struggle anymore but for the rest of us who are still stuck here, it is. I think we all want to be able to move on as well but until God wills …

    • Sara says:

      haha yeah I kinda felt the same way. Like how your friends have no more time for you after they get married and have kids – also her example of Job’s friend just listening does not make sense in this context because we’re talking about contributing to a blog here – a blog doesn’t function by sitting and listening – if everyone on this blog did that there would be no more blog.

      • fast. pray. says:

        Well, in this case…the blog exists to encourage prayer. So if Emily is praying for us (which she said she is!!)…I think she is being a very active contributor on another level!

        Just my two cents!

        Amy

    • fast. pray. says:

      Although I understand where you are coming from, I think this is a bit unfair to Emily. She made it clear that she isn’t going anywhere…her role is just shifting.

      Just a side note…I feel like saying single=stuck implies that marriage=not stuck. I don’t think that is true. Plenty of single people feel free and plenty of married people feel stuck. Feeling stuck is a place we have been before and probably will be in the future, regardless of marital status.

      Amy

    • Kathie says:

      My 2 cents to this: I think the reason why she’s getting these responses is because it seemed like she’s kinda trying to justify why she’s “shifting roles” when there’s really no need to justify anything – she’s no longer married and this is essentially a blog for singles who are struggling with being single so obviously she’s not gonna be actively contributing anymore unless she’s REALLY committed to this particular cause to invest the same energy on it even after she’s moved on to marriage.

  3. Hephzibah says:

    Natalia, I will lift you up in prayer (and grateful for the same from all!)
    I stumbled upon this website yesterday. I say stumbled but the truth is God lead me here, in his infinite wisdom.
    A year on from an ugly break-up or a life-saving deliverance as I now see it to be… I got single and saved in quick succession. (Natalia, Jesus is the world’s best/ only heart surgeon).
    Only lately have I dared to think about the L word again, mainly wondering how to broach the subject with Jesus – and determined to do things his way. He let me know that on this topic I would be required to ‘wrestle’ him – Jacob-style!
    Last week I spent a contemplative weekend, quite literally searching the topic ‘wrestling with God’ and after prayer and more prompting the Lord reminded me of my first few months as a ‘baby’ (born-again) Christian, tasting firsthand the power and breakthrough of fasting. He wanted me to approach this matter with the same meekeness of spirit, earnest (huge!!!) expectation and desire for intervention that I initially had. The words of Mark (9:29) kept replaying “this kind can only come forth by notihing, but by prayer and fasting”. In the following days my (email list) daily bible readings were peppered with references to fasting – I will always love how the Lord confirms his Word; and by Sunday night I resolved to get ready for wrestle-time! I would fast on Monday.
    So yesterday morning, on the way to work – sans breakfast – I went online to seek encouragement for my fast, still asking the Lord, “how long should I fast for? a day; three etc?
    This blog was one of, if not, the first link I clicked on and the tears welled up. Not only had the Lord heard He had answered in the ways that He always does, on time, precisely and perfectly. I love Jesus.
    Emily, I want to thank you for your obedience and kindness in creating (and post hitched maintainance of) this site, I want to thank all of the contributors too. I want to encourage you to keep trusting the Lord for his promises, He is faithful.
    Emily, one of the first posts I read was the ‘what I pray against’ article, I was gob-smacked becuase part of my instruction for my fast related to ‘breaking down altars’. I initially thought I was ‘misunderstanding’ my brief, so to speak, but reading that post was like a thunderbolt. There is an unseen enemy and we are to pray against obstruction and false ideas/ altars that have been contructed, albeit unwittingly.
    As God would have it, in my inbox the daily bible reading for yesterday was 1 Corinthans 7. Again this is how God speaks and confirms his Word to me. v 2 says “…let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” Amen.
    Friends, repeat after me, “it is not right for man to be alone”! Join with me to agree with God and wrestle with the Lord of Hosts to possess what He has already given into our hands.
    God bless and “see you” next Monday, and thereafter until God gives me my new (Mrs) name. Gen 32: 23-29.

  4. Natalia says:

    Emily,

    Thank you for writing this post. It really is comforting to have people offer to pray for you in this fast.pray community.

    Can I have prayer? I’m starting to feel really discouraged because I am getting impatient – eek, I admitted it. It’s been an extremely hard year – with my ex fiancé breaking up with me/the engagement. And I’m thankful God is healer. But I do desire to get married and partner with a strong godly man whom I can journey through life with. And I’m trying to trust God. But it’s hard in the waiting – especially when with my earthly eyes I don’t see or haven’t met any prospects (since my former fiance).

    Help. I could use prayer!

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