Never have I ever experienced the power of prayer like I have this past weekend!
Note: you will see a lot of exclamation points, bold lettering, italics, and if it were possible, half of this post would be told through emojis. This experience is far too elaborate and shakes me to the core with unbelief. The cheerleader still in me already makes me a very animated conversationalist, but this…this has me awkwardly shouting it like I belong in the cast of the movie Anchorman. Stepping out of my comfort zone, I dove right in to a form of fasting I had yet to succumb to. As I filled you all in on, I have been in a Daniel’s Fast for the past twenty-one days. A challenge I have only taken on in ten-day increments in the past. Yet, even deeper than a longer time of commitment, came the calling to do a complete food/beverage fast (with the exception of water) for twenty-four hours. I thought the complete fast would come Easter Sunday, the big finale to this extensive Daniel’s Fast. While everyone else would be enjoying their spiral honey ham, homemade potato salad, and endless dessert options, I would be drinking water for every course. It sounded just about as thrilling to me as it does to you right now.
This round of the Daniel’s Fast has been the most impactful to date. After the first two attempts were somewhat miserable, learning to meal-prep alongside temptation-prep took me so much further this time around. Recruiting a trusted friend to pray through the process, declaring our motives out loud and in writing with one another at the very start of the fast, and checking in with each other over the three weeks kept our hearts in sync with the right purposes. This is not a fast intended to just lose weight. Sure, a wonderful affect has been the inches that have melted off my waistline. However, this is a carb-rich nutrition plan. (Insert every shocked gif and emoji possible.) Carbs are like the devil and his demons in today’s perspective of nutrition! Why would I encourage something that is supposed to be so bad?! Click over to our newest blog post under “Strength.”
For now, we’ll get back to the storyline that intrigued you in the first place: the power of prayer. I know that sounds like a bumper sticker you’ve read and heard to the point it doesn’t resonate any longer. I’ve been that girl. Through experiences where this was pretty much the tag line, I have come to take that saying very seriously.
Two of the three purposes driving my Daniel’s Fast were...
1) Praying intentionally and furiously over “the List.” “The List” is what I affectionately refer to about three handfuls of people I have been praying for over the years. This list is specifically for those who have not accepted a true relationship with Jesus. Their backgrounds vary with different religions or even saying they believe in Jesus but have not taken the plunge for whatever the excuse may be at that time.
2) Waging war against the clutter in my life – in mind, finances, food/being active, and in the literal clutter in my house and the family house.
If you have ever been through the process of cleaning out a storage building or garage, you know this is an emotional cocktail strong enough to bring down an elephant with a single sip. Exhaustion from the day-to-day duties, being in tight quarters with those you love dearly yet who know exactly what buttons to push, and stir up the old memories like the dust rising from these buried treasures – it’s more than enough. Do not get wrapped up in thinking the good Lord does not give you anything you cannot handle. He does so we will rely on Him…and cleaning out the storage building is a time to lean on Him fully to maintain your sanity and maybe even your life.
Speaking of being given more than you can handle…
Coming down to the last week of the fast, I caught wind of some spiritual warfare on the horizon, poached and ready to set one of these dwellers of "the List" back even further from the truth. It knotted my gut like a pretzel and I refused to let it go. If there is one thing I have grown to detest, it is the way the enemy so sweetly disguises destruction. I may not be able to speak so bluntly to this particular individual, but as a God-loving woman who believes in the power of prayer, I can stand in the gap for this person, praying and waging war against the enemy on their behalf. What I thought was a fast intended for Sunday was suddenly needed much more urgently. Friday. The day we were to clean out the storage building. Did I have God's timing right? Adding hanger to the mix was not how I imagined praying out the chaos and ushering in peace. It seemed just the opposite. Before my mom and I even started in on our daunting task that morning, the tension was hanging as thick as the threatening clouds overhead.
This is my prayer journal entry from that morning...
"Father, I come to You today asking for intervention on behalf of this person. God, you are powerful and the Almighty. You can make the sun stand still. You can fight and win against an army of tens of thousands of soldiers using only 300 men. You knocked over soldiers in the garden on Jesus' last night by Him just saying "I am He." God, this is the same power You will use to reveal Yourself to the entire "List!" Move, God! Do what only You can do. God, I've never been so serious about praying against something to happen. I pray to act in Your truth and not out of my emotions. I pray to do whatever is necessary to stand in the gap. The question is, do I fast today or Sunday? I want Your truth revealed. I am waiting in expectation. Something is happening. I don't know if I will see it or not but something bigger than me and my need is coming from this Daniel's Fast. Lord, whatever it is You know it needed to happen. It's Your timing, Your way. God, today I am waging war against the enemy in all he is trying to do. The List, this person, high emotions, laziness, frustration, elements to throw off our day, and on and on. He will NOT win. You have already claimed the war. I pray to follow You into this battle and watch as You blow our minds."
Stepping out to the storage building, felt like I had just stepped foot on the battle field. I came armed with the Word and mom and I paused to read 2 Chronicles 20 before we dug in. Peace settled over us in a way only God provides. She let me know she was joining me in this day of fasting over this person. I could not ask for clearer confirmation. The part we particularly paid attention to was the section of fighting the battle with praise.
"Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, 'Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.' After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
'Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.'
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated."
- 2 Chronicles 20:20-22
Jehoshaphat set aside men to lead them into the battle with praise! Like what? So that's exactly what we did too! From Need to Breath to Lauryn Hill, our praise and worship spanned several decades, in English and in Spanish. Where we would have normally found ourselves put out with frustration, it seemed to dissolve without a trace. Throughout the day, God confirmed He was listening. Riding down the road with my grandpa that afternoon, his prayer for this person caught my attention when he uttered the same prayers I had written out just that morning.
"God, do what only You can do."
Sure enough, He did.
The storage building is no longer the catch-all. Mom and I are both alive - praise Jesus!
I am praying a loaves and fishes type of blessing over the yard sale pile to achieve Financial Peace. Not to be used for comfort but in order to reach goals so far beyond myself. Yet, the blessing did not stop there. Sunday morning came, the day I had prepared to fully fast, but since that day came early, I was confused on what to do. When I was preparing to go hungry, God was setting me up for a feast of celebration. God hit me with the reoccurring thought that this is not a time to go hungry but a time to praise what this day stands for. I was worried it was the smell of the ham baking whispering lies in my ear. Notice that I did not say a feast of only food but of celebration - of praise. His reassurance was a loving and joyful message of coming together with my family to celebrate His work on the cross and appreciate the hard work my grandparents had put into preparing this meal to show their love.
As if that wasn't enough to celebrate, God sprinkled ways of loving me all throughout the day. Even down to an outfit I had been holding off on purchasing in obedience to my Financial Peace budget. His love is so intimate with the details! Even more, He allowed me to glimpse His resurrection power big time. He brought news that not only had He led this person we had fasted for away from the snare the enemy had laid out, but revealed their major step towards Him. He is pursuing this person - He is pursuing the WHOLE "List!" He didn't have to show me anything, but He is intimate in the details. He has shown me even more glimpses into the lives of others on "the List." Those situations are completely out of my hands. I may not know what to do, but my eyes are on Him and His praise is on my lips (2 Chronicles 20).
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.