Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pre-race carb loading

Welcome to 40 Days of Faith!

We'll start the official countdown tomorrow (Monday, June 2). Today is a warm-up day, sort of like when all the runners gather for a pasta dinner the night before the Boston Marathon.

This is an apt comparison, actually--as I discovered the first time I tried asking God for something that mattered to me each day for 40 days, this is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be times you want to give up, days where you couldn't care less, and moments when you think this might be the stupidest thing you've ever tried. It comes with the territory--this is hard, this thing we're doing, putting our hearts out there before God and asking him to make our dreams a reality. But, as Dr. Phil always says, "You can't argue with results..." I've seen amazing results in the times I've set aside to see what God might have to say about my hopes and desires, and I'm only one story out of dozens and dozens. Hard is often worth it; here's hoping this is one of those times!

By way of preparation, here's the basic shape of what we'll be doing.

First: Let's each ask ourselves, "What do I want Jesus to do for me?" If you're not sure about Jesus, that's totally fair. I include him here because he says some pretty astounding things about answering our prayers and giving us a new life that exceeds our expectations...I like the idea of taking him up on this offer. But if this is a new idea, feel free to to preface the question with, "If Jesus really is who he says he is in the Bible, what would I want him to do for me?"

A note on this asking: be specific. Ask for something tangible, where you'll know whether or not your prayer has been answered. (For example, I knew exactly when Jesus answered my prayers for a husband. My prayer for a happier attitude towards cleaning the bathroom, on the other hand, is a little tougher to pin down).

Second: Let's consider fasting from something for these 40 Days. I talk about this idea of fasting a bit in my book, and how the Bible suggests it goes hand-in-hand with prayer. During my first 40 Days, I fasted from coffee. In subsequent years I've fasted from reading (which made trips to the hairdresser long as I stared out the window while my highlights foiled...), baked goods, or television. The idea here is that when we're craving coffee or sweets, or passing up the latest issue of People at the salon, we can offer this up to God. I find myself saying, "Lord, I want a husband more than I want caffeine/pop culture updates/dessert right now." Somehow this connects me to my real desires, because I can't escape into the lesser things I use to comfort or distract me.

Important Note: if an eating disorder has ever been a struggle for you, PLEASE don't fast from food. Ask God what your fast should be; he has lots of good ideas!

Third: Teamwork. Each day, I'll post three things on this blog: An inspirational story or passage, some thoughts on why it inspires me, and a song that bolsters my hope when it's flagging. By the end of this time together, not only will we have amazing stories of answered prayer, we'll have a playlist to commemorate this time...what could be better?

Your part in this teamwork facet is to check in via the comments. Post a comment every day, letting us know how you're doing. It can be a reaction to the day's writing, an update on something specific, or a funny anecdote that happened that day. If you're losing hope, let us know. If your prayer is answered, let us know. We're in this together!

Okay, that's all for today. I'll see you tomorrow for Day 1. Until then, remember: "What is impossible with man is possible with God." (Luke 18:27) That pretty much covers everything, right?

(This would be a great time, by the way, to click on the comments and say, "I'm in!" If you want to share what you're praying for, great. If not, feel free to keep it private. But let us know you're on the team :))

Bring on the linguini!

31 comments:

Phoenix said...

I'm in! I am a huge believer in the power of prayer and in asking God for exactly what you want (or need!). I am amazed at how He has answered my prayers.

the teacher said...

i'm in. my ex boyfriend and i broke up because of religion and our beliefs. after we broke up, he found God on his own, and pretty much became a new man. we still have an amazing connection; however, i am unsure if he is the right man for me. i am praying that God will let me know if he is the one and if he is not, that we can both find that person.

K.T. Hernandez said...

Count me in! I have many prayers, but the one I'm going to focus on here is that a manuscript sitting at an editor's office will be loved and bought.I've been waiting for news and hope to get it in the next 40 days. For my part, I plan to read the Bible everyday (a practice I've let lapse). Thank you for doing this.

Sarakastic said...

Count me in for anythign carb related, now I have tot hink of something to fast from

stephanerd said...

You gave up reading!? Geez louise. That's a toughie. Perhaps coffee is something I should stay away from (though I was planning on purchasing a coffee grinder today; sigh).

I'd like to pray for an influx of telecommuting-based freelance clients. I left my full-time job over a year ago to because a full-time freelancer, but I devote 20 hours a week to an on-site gig I need to commute into the city for four days a week, which drains me of much energy and time. My goal is to phase out that particular gig and eventually work entirely from home. Not only will this give me more time for my own writing, but it will make things easier when we start having children a couple years from now!

Aimee said...

Hi all, I am so excited about this 40 days. God recently brought a wonderful man into my life but around the same time I began to face a chronic health problem. So for the next 40 days I'll be praying for restored health (please keep me in mind/your prayers this Friday as I see a specialist) and to a lesser degree the sale of my book proposal currently with publishers while I give thanks for my gem of a boyfriend. Hopefully this isn't too much! I also plan to give up soda which will be a challenge! Thanks for putting this together, Trish!

Katie-Kate said...

I'm in! Just finished reading your book today. Wow our stories are similar! I saw you on the Marcus and Lisa Show and I was prompted to buy your book because our stories sounded fairly similar except for the ending. I am a 47 year old single mother of a 15 year old daughter. We live in Dallas Texas and attend Watermark Community Church. I was married for 10 years and have been divorced for 12 years. I have done more that just kiss a few toads in that time. At the same time I too have been seeking. I have been walking with Jesus for a little over a year now. I am ready to find a guy like the one you found. Thanks for showing me what a Christian relationship looks like. I too am asking God for a husband.

Katie said...

I just finished your book- It was so inspiring and inspirational. I am going to fast for fitness. At the end of the 40 days I want to be able to run 3 miles and be working out on a regular basis. I will be giving up watching television (as this is a common activity I chose instead of working out!) Thanks for starting this support network!

Kwana said...

I'm in! Hi Trish thanks so much for posting this on the loop. I'm going to put a link to it on my blog post for tomorrow.

Funny story, I'm been a tad bit delinquent at church and was going to skip out this morning because I'm working up a new proposal and feeling deadline pressure on that but I decided to go any way. The sermon topic was "good news in bad times." Then the pastor said "God's power is manifested in strange places." Well, I'd consider this a strange place! LOL.

I'm praying for many things, but specifically here, a first book sale! I've got a book that out now being shopped and a proposal I'm working on. One other thing is much larger and that's peace in my home. I have teens you know:) It may be bigger than 40 days.

For my part I will read from the bible each day for 40 days.

Thanks again!

heiress said...

I am definitely in! I just started reading the book and I can't seem to put it down. I believe that God has already showed me who my husband is, and I am asking God for the full manifestation of this revelation and that he joins us together this year. I will have to search God and ask him what I should fast from.

ForstRose said...

Trish,

Thanks for doing this and bringing encouragement and support to those who might be looking for that little extra bit of hope these days.

There are two main things I'd like to see happen and both would take major God interventions to happen.
I'm debating whether to focus on just one and then repeat this process with the other one for another 40days.

The first is to either find a stable day job that will be the right place for me or begin establishing enough freelance editing and proofreading to cover my monthly expenses. Having been essentially out of work for over 15months and being single this is a huge need right now in terms of finances.

The second item will eventually (I hope) bring me to a place where meeting and getting to know other singles near my own age is actually something I enjoy. I'd like to find that special someone but also realize there are a few other steps along the way for me to be in a position where this would be God's best for both me and the other party. So this second prayer would be for my own process of preparation and growth in the areas where it is needed so I am capable of being God's best for someone (if it be His will for me to marry).

As for fasting from something that is harder for me to choose. I did like the comments from a couple others about reading their Bible daily or other spiritual disciplines. I think in this case that may be a key thing for me - to stay focused on God and grow that relationship which can't happen if I am not spending time with Him.

Again thanks for starting this. I have a sense that at least for me it will be productive even if God's answers aren't what I might hope for - provided I follow through and do my part.

Melissa

Liza said...

I'm in! I'm a big believer in the power of prayer and always asking God for exactly what you need or want. I plan on getting back on track and reading my Bible daily over the next 40 days. I've pretty much only been reading it on Sundays lately.

I plan on praying for God to send me a husband. I'm in my mid 30's and have been single most of my life. I know that God has a husband all picked out for me and will ask that He lets me find him.

Thanks for doing this Trish. I'll have to look into what I can fast from over the next 40 days. I will say coffee for now since we will start tomorrow(I went to Starbucks on the way to church this morning). Not having coffee is really big to me since I love iced coffee too.

Suzanne said...

I'll wait to share what I'm praying for until tomorrow, I just wanted to check in to say that I'm in and really looking forward to this journey. I've even got a special journal I'm going to purpose just for this occasion so that I can keep track of the days and hopefully record God working in my life.

Thank you for creating this blog space, it's amazing and so timely. I'm reading your book right now and it has been a real defining moment for me.

-suz

Suzanne said...

I just read Kwana's mention that she was going to put a link to this blog on her blog....what a great idea! So, I'm going to do the same, so we can get the word out and invite others to join.

Thanks for a great idea Kwana!

-suz

SLING WORDS aka Joan Reeves said...

Hi, Trish. Saw your notice on Fiction That Sells. I'm totally in. I believe in the power of prayer. My 40-day fast will be sweets. No cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream. And that's a huge commitment for me! My prayer? Specifically for this (not counting prayers for family, friends, and our world) is that my next novel submission results in a contract. Best wishes to all.

Larramie said...

I'm in and feel as though I've fasted since mid-February waiting for this! ;)

Swishy said...

Usually I am racing out the door without a second to spare in the morning ... I am going to sacrifice a little bit extra sleep and get up earlier so I have time to sit and think about what I am hoping for and what I want out of my day.

I also wanted to throw this out there--sometimes our prayers aren't always answered exactly the way we want/hope. Maybe the guy you're dating at the start of the 40 days isn't the one, but maybe that relationship somehow ends up leading you to the guy who is. Maybe the book that's on submission at the start of the 40 days isn't the one that's going to be the big (or even little) bestseller, but during the 40 days you get the idea for that one that IS. You know what I mean? I know that, for me, being open to the idea that what we're asking for might come in a slightly unexpected package can be sort of exciting, or at least liberating.

Tara said...

This is so incredibly timely, and it's so encouraging to know that other women are in similar situations.

I have the best friends in the whole world - but they are all married with kids. And were all married by the time they were my age. So they just don't get it - although they try really hard. :-)

I recently took a spiritual gifts test for the first time and scored the highest on FAITH. I don't do much else right, but I trust that God is big and he is good and he will take care of me. But the timing thing always trips me up. I feel time is slipping through my fingers and I will end up alone.

So my prayer for the next 40 days will be for the husband he has designed for me. I believe he will surpass all my expectations.

However, if this is not God's plan for my life, I ask that he take the desire from me. This has been my prayer for a couple of years now, but I'm not great with consistancy, so this will help.

After this I will probably rinse and repeat. Just sent out my first query letters, so that's a big prayer too. Good thing God is so big!!

Thanks for this - everyone.

Oh yeah, the fasting thing. I love the idea of others to add something instead of taking something away (something I'm not too good at). So I will also be committing to reading the Bible every day. I desperately need to get back into the Word.

Ready, set, go!

Stephanie said...

I'm in! I guess I have to pin down what I want to pray for by tomorrow. :)

Manic Mom said...

OK, this sounds waaaay easier than prepping to run a marathon.

I'm IN. I feel a little guilty for what I'm going to ask for, like it's a little frivolous, but you know what Trish, what the heck do I have to lose?

Now, let's see, what am I willing to give up?

OK, can I do Diet Coke?

Hmmm.... How bad do I want this? And do I really believe me wanting this at this point in my life, with what I've already done to attempt getting it will actually happen? And is it worth risking 40 days of no Diet Coke?

Hmmm.... I am going to sleep on this one. I think you might need to email me and give me a pep talk on this one, but I'm pretty sure you know what I'm going to ask for.

And it ain't the goose laying the freaking golden eggs.

(and you know I'm going to be seeing you this weekend!!!! : )

Kristen said...

I was all excited to be part of this because I've had something very specific picked out in my mind to ask God for, and now I'm not sure because the desire for the thing has waned some for me. But I have another idea in mind, so I'm praying today about what to pray for - lol (even though I know it's actually day 1 now!).

I'm on board with the daily Bible reading. I actually decided on Saturday to start from the beginning and read it all the way through, which I've never done before. I have to pray about what to fast from - it'll probably be TV or after-dinner snacks.

Katie said...

I'm in!

Patti said...

in...

Gretchen said...

I'm TOTALLY in!

Debt reduction, a job that fits me better and a husband- big things, but, hey! I think God can handle it....

Probably will be fasting from Coke.

I"m excited to see what comes out of this for everybody...

ramblin' girl said...

I'm in! Although what I was going to ask Him for has taken a bit of a back seat, recently. Perhaps I will have to be so indulgent as to pray for two things.

goodgyrrl said...

I'm in!!! There is so much that I have on my prayer list! In 2006, I lost my big cushy salaried with benefits job, the man that I KNOW God ordained as "The One," my financial stability, my motivation to go to my church (the first two incidents took place within my church), and my confidence in my ability to discern God's voice. Things have not been "right" since. I am a business owner (dance/fitness) and would like to open my own studio in 3 locations by the fall of this year. I pray for health and restoration of my faith and finances...for the financial blessing that I need to grow my business, catch up on the bills that I have fallen behind on, be debt-free; discern God's voice from my own and the enemy's; REMOVAL of ALL toxic relationships NOW (ex-boyfriend, needy friends, nay-sayers and negativity); be more productive at work; manage my time better; my own house; a clean, repaired house for my dad; and a house for my mom. I will add more as the days progress...

killerbee said...

I am in! God, sign me up for the Christian husband! I think I've found him, so I am asking for guidance (for both of us), affirmation and celebration! For 40 days, I'm giving up online shopping, even for shoes (winks to Trish)!

Traci Anne said...

I'm in. (Even though I'm late to the game!) I'm giving up alcohol for my 40 days - it seems as though every event as a 20-something in NYC revolves around alcohol, and it's something that's not necessary in my life. My prayer? Is to really, finally know Him. I've been searching for way too long and tend to get distracted from things like reading my Bible and going to church, instead doing things like playing online too much (whoops) and sleeping in...

Jessie2 said...

I'm in! Yesterday actually so I was only a day behind. I'm excited and happy to be a part of this. Plus who doesn't need a group of strong women behind her?
I'm fasting shopping. I've been doing way too much of it lately. I know I'm using shopping to try and fill in what's missing in my life.
I'm praying that Jesus will bring me a nice genuine edgy Jesus Loving guy, some clear direction in my life and that he will make me a runner.
I know this is going to be a great 40 Day adventure!!!

Breeza said...

I'm in too! I'm praying for a Christian husband and to find a job in LA, soon. Two things I really, really want and need!

Angela said...

I'm in. A little late, but I'm in. I'm doing this. I want freedom from the bondage of this relationship I'm in. I want this relationship to work, to have every dream we have shared... but only if it's God's will. More importantly, I want to TRULY want God's will and to trust Him.

Angela