It’s 5:30 on Monday morning, and I am wide awake. Granted, I am over 50, so that’s not necessarily unusual for me. Some of you young puppies will understand that later.
There is a pit in my stomach that is unrelenting. It has just been announced that we are social distancing in my area until April 30, with many others under much more strict guidelines. This is a month from now. I understand, and at our house and in my family, we are complying. We are more than happy to sacrifice some freedoms to stop the spread of this virus, but more than happy is certainly not fitting.
I am trying to define or analyze the pit in my stomach. I am very familiar with this pit. I am not a worrier, but I do feel an overwhelming sense of dread, a dark cloud of gloom. Several years ago when my father had a life-changing stroke, I felt this. It took weeks of spending time with God very early each morning to shake that depression. I was very open to seeking professional help, but God had a different avenue of healing for me. Now here I sit wondering how I will get through this next month with our new normal.
I feel God calling me to action. This week join me in fasting and praying, begging God for mercy. I confess that I have not done that up to this point, and I am not sure why. Our nation is being crippled by this virus. The number that have it and the death toll rises each day. It’s beyond time to humbly beseech a mighty God to have mercy on our nation and our world.
This week I will spend time every day doing just that: begging God for mercy. I also plan on spending some time fasting, letting God lead me in that. I ask you to join me if you feel led.
So, here is an explanation of fasting in case you have never fasted or considered it. Biblical fasting involves going without food for a certain amount of time and spending that time in prayer.This can be for one meal, an entire day, several days…pray and let God define that for you. Fasting also does not have to be about food. You can fast from social media, TV, sugar, anything that would be a sacrifice for whatever amount of time God shows you. During that time, pray. Pray hard.
Here are the things that I feel that I need to include in my prayer time. Consider this a confession on my part because up to this point, I have not prayed like I should about this topics. I am now as I am typing creating my list following the ACTS model for prayer that works well for me.
Let’s adore God, praising Him for Who He is. Only He can fix this, and He can fix this! Do not doubt what my God, the One true God can do. We are at war. Let’s pray like it. We need to first bless Him with words that describe Him such as Sovereign, Mighty to Save, Healer, Holy…try saying, “Lord, You are _____________.”
I confess that I am selfishly mourning my old life as I knew it. My youngest daughter gets married in May, and this month was to be filled with showers. Her wedding is May 16. Will it happen? (ok, so I had to stop typing and cry for a few minutes, but tears are a great way to get out those bottled up emotions) I long for Spring days visiting with family, going to see my daughter who lives 6 hours away, pregnant with my first grandchild. I miss seeing my mom, and hugging her. (pause for more tears) I miss my church family and meeting together under one roof. But, you know what? Every one of these things revolves around me, and this is not about me. I realize that I sound like a spoiled kid. People are getting seriously ill and many dying from this virus. Oh, God, I confess my self-centeredness. I confess that I have not gotten on my knees and begged you for help. I have not confessed my total dependence on you. I confess that I must go deeper with you which I have not, praying and getting into your Word so that You can speak to me. What do you have to confess?
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121 NIV
How thankful I am for the things that I took for granted. That list could go on and on. Our world has been turned upside down, and I have been ungrateful. I will thank God for this time to spend with Him. I will see around me all things that I can be thankful for and continue to remain in a state of thanksgiving as I navigate this new normal. We have much to be thankful for. God, shut my whining mouth, and open my mind to all things that I am blessed with, for I am blessed beyond what I deserve, even in these uncertain days. Help me to remember that we have always been in uncertain days, but now we are engulfed in this every minute of every day. What do you have to be thankful for?
This is the stage that I address my requests. Here is not my complete list, but a good start as I let God show me as I pray more areas to pray for. Let us be Spirit led in our pray, allowing Him to fill our minds with what and who to pray for. Here’s a good start:
leaders of our nation
those who have lost jobs
protection over our most vulnerable such as the elderly
needs for everyone in need (how can I help?)
parents as they continue to homeschool
dysfunctional family situations that will now get worse, the unheard cries for help from students at home, those whose only relieve from the horrific home life was school (more tears here)
teachers (special place in my heart on that one) as they navigate uncharted waters, with new demands and frustrations. They are experience stress that we do not understand
children-from their point of view, how must this feel? Students in their Senior year? Meals for those kids, proper care daily physically and emotionally
This list clearly could go on and on. Respond to this blog with a comment if you choose to join me or not or share this blog to encourage others. This idea of begging for mercy and fasting does not need to end when this virus subsides. Let this be the start of something new for all of us. Know that you are not joining me, but I am being obedient in this moment, so if you feel led to do this, you are being obedient to God. Many others besides me are taking similar action, so now it is possibly time for you to act.
“Now, O Mighty God, the One True God, maker of heaven and earth, we beg for mercy. As a nation Lord, we have turned away from you. I pray that we will turn our minds, hearts and our entire lives to You. I pray for healing physically, emotionally and spiritually for us. We are totally out of control, a feeling that we despise, but You Sovereign Lord are never out of control. I confess my personal laziness in calling out to You on behalf of our nation and world. This is a spiritual battle as well as a physical one. Let’s be clear: Satan will not win. He never does. Take away any spirit of discouragement, hopelessness and fear. You did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of boldness. Now, help us, dear God, to move forward, listening to Your Spirit as we navigate how to live this new life for a short season, help and encourage others, aid how we can our health care professionals and leaders by following orders and other ways, and to live victorious. As we approach Easter let that holiday take on a whole new meaning as we celebrate victory in Jesus over death. We need that message more than ever, for we do not live as those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We must unite as believers, showing our lost world Jesus. Guide us as we do.
In the powerful Name of the One and Only Jesus Christ the King,
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20
And one last cry…I have a feeling it will not be my last cry.
Thank you God for the work of Samaritan’s Purse. As I watched Good Morning America, those large medical tents were Samaritan’s Purse tents. Now we need to give to help.