So I was meeting with a friend over coffee last week (Mudsmith, order KC's Special, thank me later), and we were sharing with each other how fear had been consuming our lives the past few months... how it creeps in the backdoor and suddenly scares the crap out of you when you realize how big it's become. And then we started planning our war against it.
We had both just finished reading Celebration of Discipline, and there were several chapters weighing heavily on our hearts. I mentioned this book a few posts back when I talked about fasting – the way the book is set up is that each chapter focuses on a different spiritual discipline and lays out very simply how to live your life walking in them. I loved Richard Foster's gentle way with honesty (ex: "The Bible never says if you fast, it says when you fast..."). The chapter my brave friend and I started buzzing about was on prayer. Foster says, "To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. ... The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ."
What was especially interesting were some other things I had listened to and read 24 hours before our meeting... the night before, I had tuned into the IF:Local Leader Vision Cast (round two) which was completely about prayer. Pastor Jim Cymbala was brought in to share how his church powerfully practices prayer in huge Tuesday night gatherings. He made the incredibly simple and impactful point that over and over in the Bible, God tells us to ask Him. "Seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you." Jim pointed out that God has immeasurable power to use through us, resources to give us – we need only to ask. Lauren Chandler was also brought on camera to chat about how she prayed through her husband, Matt's, battle with cancer (we are members at The Village, if you're curious!). Another thing that had happened that day was that I downloaded and began using the She Reads Truth app. I actually shared a segment Hayley Morgan wrote in that day's devotional on the power of Jesus and on prayer:
"We shouldn’t kid ourselves and see Jesus as just a small piece of the answer. He shouldn’t be relegated to a brief prayer in the car on the way to work. He shouldn’t be the face we turn to on Sunday, while the rest of the week we try to go it alone. Author Nancy Guthrie says, 'When Jesus is small in our estimation, so are our courage and commitment.' We would be wise to see Jesus in all His greatness, believing Him to be our only answer, and throw off all our pride."
Dang. Talk about hitting me right in the heart. So my friend and I made a plan that night that we would be each other's prayer encouragement. That this month, we are putting on prayer as our armor and going to battle against our fears. We talked back and forth, sharing when we could find time to devote to quiet and prayer and listening. I mentioned praying on my runs. She mentioned setting an alarm for her and her husband to pray together each evening. I mentioned my friend Taylor, who sometimes keeps a sticky note on her computer monitor to remind her to pray every time she's done with a task at work. We talked about carrying our Bibles in our purses. We gathered up our weapons, and we're going to work.
If you're in a place of fear – maybe you're like me and you were literally drowning in it – choose to fight. Fight with us. When I tell you that there's a war going on, that the devil is working to take your heart and capture it for himself right now, I'm 100% serious. Be watchful. Step back. Pick up your sword and shield and pray. It's the best defense you could ever ask for.