What if I told you one small daily habit could transform your life? Would you do it? Have you ever done anything consistently for forty days? Brushing your teeth and eating, don’t count. Our daily routines are so ingrained that they happen automatically.
I want to crave it
When my kids were young I earned the title of nutrition nazi. I insisted on a “no thank you bite.” Ian and Becca had to at least try that green vegetable. As they got older my efforts got bolder. I incorporated veggies in everything– zucchini in the pasta sauce, kale in the soup, spinach in the burgers. Because I reminded them often, they heard about the studies that show that after seven times, you CAN acquire a taste for that unliked food. One time I recall making veggie lasagne. And Becca, “the wanting to please me kid” about ten at the time, asked, “Mom, have we had this seven times yet?” 🙂
I enjoy a green smoothie every morning, a habit I’ve formed over years of reinforcement. On occasion I’ll have oatmeal instead. But…on those days, I genuinely miss my green smoothie. My body has been trained to crave it.
If prayer could in fact, transform your life, wouldn’t the effort to create the habit and truly crave it, be worth it?
But I Already Pray Every Day
If you were to ask me, do you pray every day? I would answer, “Yes, of course I do.” I bet the same is true for you. But on most days my prayers are scattered, unintentional and unfocused. And if I’m honest, some of the time I consider prayer is really just subconscious worry.
I believe in prayer. Prayer has been my life line through the most vicious storms. Our family has been on the receiving end of more prayers than I can even fathom. Prayer has provided comfort, purpose and direction. Prayer has grown my faith and my relationship with God. And, prayer is a command not a holy suggestion. In spite of all that, my prayer life is a bit haphazard.
And that is the impetus behind the Forty day Lenten Prayer Challenge.
If you haven’t already said YES to participate, consider it. Click the green link to add your information.
If you already responded YES, please share this invitation with other friends and family. (Just forward your email that brought you here) Who couldn’t benefit from a better prayer life? While the question is rhetorical the answer is obvious… NO ONE.
Why 40 days?
Forty is a significant number throughout the Bible. Moses stayed on the mountain with God for 40 days. After Noah built the Ark, it rained for 40 days and nights. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Goliath challenged the Israelites for 40 days. David and Solomon both reigned over Israel for 40 years. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days. Each time the number 40 appears, God does something huge.
For our purposes, it’s easy to make a temporary change for a few days or a week. But forty days has the potential for God to do something huge.
So simple yet so powerful
C.S. Lewis says, “In Prayer, God imparts Himself to us.”
Prayer can transform your day, can transform your family, can transform your legacy. It’s not something complicated or unattainable. It doesn’t require knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. (I included that for my PhD pursuing husband). In fact Romans 8:26 reminds us that words are not even needed. “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” The point is, don’t complicate it. God sees your heart.
Take encouragement from James 5:17. “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.”
My motivation for the prayer challenge
I still struggle daily with my circumstances. Making sense of my family’s new normal is ever present. I struggle with my priorities, and my purpose . I know that God is present and active in my life. But if I’m honest, sometimes I feel as if I’m on the outside looking in. I feel a bit detached from His plan for me. I believe a radical prayer life will be my game changer.
If we behave in a way as if it’s all up to us. And pray in a way as if it’s all up to God, the team effort is where miracles happen.
Draw the Circle
Since I’ve never participated in a prayer challenge let alone lead one, I’ve adapted the model laid out by Mark Batterson, author of Draw the Circle, The Forty Day Prayer Challenge.
Batterson recommends that your first step is to pray about what God wants you to pray about. Generally, it is that thing… that consumes your thoughts. (a problem, concern, relationship, loved one, decision, health challenge) Once you identify that thing… draw a circle around it. It becomes your focus of intentional prayer for forty days.
There is nothing magical about physically circling something in prayer, but there is something biblical about it. The Israelites circled the city of Jericho until the wall came down. Drawing a circle around something is simply a metaphor for praying until God answers, maybe even beyond our forty days.
Each day, I will share one scripture, standing on the promise of Isaiah 55:11 that His word will not return void. With your circle in mind, you simply pray His word back to Him as you focus on where you want His touch.
- create an awesome habit. You learn to crave prayer.
- learn to lean on the powerful word of God.
- give up control of the problem/concern/relationship/loved one/decision/health challenge.
- witness His faithfulness.
Let’s be bold with our prayers. Let’s Do This Together.