First Week Back

After a 21-day journey with God, specifically abstaining from carnivorous tendencies, I, interestingly enough, broke my fast with a Big Mac and chicken strips. Oh and, of course, you can’t forget the fries and a Diet Coke. Since then, I’ve managed to put a couple of eggs into my system, some homemade chicken nuggets and some teriyaki beef/chicken.

Needless to say, I feel like I’ve developed a slight case of SORAS and my insides feel a few weeks older than they really are.

It’s also interesting to note that since Sunday’s goodbye to a strictly non-meat diet, I’ve felt a little more sluggish and a lot more tired than my previous 21-days. I guess Daniel was right all along when his refusal of the kingly buffet table would prove spiritually and physically uplifting. I’m not going to lie. Once I got the green light to enter back into my regular eating habits, I jumped at the chance to put the once living animals into my system.

In retrospect, however, I’m beginning to understand, more and more, what Jesus meant when He said that man doesn’t live on bread alone. We, especially here in America, tend to over indulge in the things that really count for nothing in eternity. “Bread”, of course, comes in many different forms. We get so turned on to the littlest of newest technology and salavate over the steamiest of well prepared dishes. We flock to the next big thing and try to outdo our neighbors in being the first to wrap our fingers around the latest gadgets. We swarm to Vegas because of their abundant offerings of inexpensive all-you-can-eat cafeterias.

We, in fact, do live on “bread” alone.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to rid myself from all that the world has to offer. But, I am saying that God, indeed, isn’t to be taken lightly. He does have all we need to truly live. God has the ordained direction for all of us and less than ordinary isn’t in His vocabulary. We’re called to live extraordinary lives and it begins by living on Him alone.

How about you? After seasons of spiritually high moments, what are your typical setbacks when stepping back into the “world”? Are you more on fire for God or do you revert to your old ways, as if nothing of spitiual significance happened?

Let’s talk.

Prayers That Begin By Listening

Shane Claiborne recently wrote an article on prayer for Relevant Magazine. He makes a great point regarding the slight (or drastic…depending how you view it) downward turn our prayer lives have turned. Shane points out the selfishness in most of our prayers, in that, we generally ask God to come through for us on conditional terms.

You know…the whole, “I’ll read more of Your Word God if you answer this one prayer.”

The “revolutionary” suggested we positively revert to old liturgical prayers, ultimately, so that we don’t spend most of our time interceding for ourselves. Liturgical prayers, passed down since our forefathers, allows more focus on God and less concentration on us. They help zero in on the greatness of God, rather than pouring our hearts out in hopes that God will come through for us…in hopes that God will meet our needs.

Ironically, in my times of seeking God, I was reminded that my needs were already met. God has and will provide for our needs, even before we lay them at His feet.  For me, it was discerning whether my requests were actually needs and not wants. And, nine times out of ten, they were mere wants. Now, don’t get me wrong, God can give us our heart’s desires, but when we truly seek Him first, our desires actually become more godly.

Jesus once said that who, if his son asked for bread, would give him a rock. There are two parts for that. The son asking truly desires for his needs to be met. He’s not asking his dad for a random consumer-driven product. He’s asking for food. He knows what he needs to survive. Then there’s the dad. He knows that his son is hungry, so he’ll oblige. He’s not going to give his son some random item. The dad is going to provide. Similarly, when my youngest boy reaches his hand towards me, I know he truly needs something. Whether it be a comforting touch or milk to satisfy his hunger, my boy reaches out to me and I provide.

God’s the same way.

Then, I also realized that my prayers started to become more like dramatic monologues than actual conversations with Him. I would splatter my requests into His ears and, before I’d give Him time to answer, I was already at the “in Jesus’ name” part, leaving our “conversation” altogether.

See, God is always listening. Unfortunately, the same isn’t always true for us.

What about you? How is your prayer life? And what are your thoughts on Shane’s article?

Let’s talk.