Every January, our church does three weeks of prayer and fasting to give a tithe of our time and efforts to the Lord. But, let me tell you, waking up and getting to the church by 6 a.m. every morning is not for the faint of heart. We have been doing this for a few years now, and the Lord has really grown me to crave these early hours with Him. I eagerly anticipate this time, despite it being the weakest, most exhausted version of myself. Let me explain.
When we began doing our 21 Days of Prayer a couple of years ago, my thoughts were, “I can pray at a reasonable hour just as well as I can pray at 6 a.m. – or even better! Why in the world did they plan it for so early?” How was I going to survive? Little did I know that God was whispering to me, “watch how strong I am when you are so tired and weak.” Lacking sleep and whatever I was fasting from, God deepened my love and desire for Him in unimaginable ways.
Through his personal struggle, Paul asked God to remove an affliction from him. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT), we read, “Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work in me.”
I have been studying the book of Daniel recently and his dedication to the Lord despite his circumstances has really been speaking to me. Time after time, Daniel should have been beaten down and killed, but he never was. Many know the story of Daniel for his fasting, how he only ate vegetables and drank water (Daniel 1:12). However, something else in this book that really stood out to me was Daniel’s dedication to step away and pray three times a day. Daniel’s dedication to methodical prayer and his strict diet allowed him to have a more powerful kind of wisdom and discernment than anyone else.
Despite the spiritual warfare that three straight weeks of fervent prayer will bring, the Lord always shows up in the mightiest ways. I have seen my Heavenly Father in such intimate ways – ways I would not have been able to if I had not sat at His feet in the early hours of the morning.
As the new year often brings renewed desires and encouraged spirits, I pray that you and I would show up to spend uninterrupted time with the Lord. I pray that we would allow Him to draw us out of our comfort zones. I pray that we will sacrifice our fleshly desires to spend intimate time with Him. I pray that we would know Him and love Him in ways we may never have before.
In the grand scheme of things, this life is not our own. Our bodies are not our own, and our time is not our own. The physical tiredness is only temporary, but the time spent with the Lord is an eternal investment. Father, please help us to desire You more!