Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 1: Where is your boat?

Happy 40 Days of Faith 2010! This is always an exciting time for me--it feels a little like back-to-school, a chance to start fresh and see what the new year brings. Never so more than this year.

For the past two years, I've flown into our June 1st start with wind in my sails, ready for adventure. This year is a little different. My sails aren't even up yet. In terms of faith (and to continue the sailing metaphor) I've seen a few storms, and my boat is a little banged up and in need of repair. So this year, for me, our 40 Days together feels less like charting a new course for lands unseen, and more like a safe cove were I can spend some time with God and ask him to patch my boat & sails back together.

It makes me think of the lyrics to The Wood Song by the Indigo Girls, describing the "boat" they find themselves in:

The wood is tired, and the wood is old...but we'll make it fine, if the weather holds.
But if the weather holds, we'll have missed the point.
That's where I need to go.

If you listen to the song, it's so powerful: it describes a certainty that our lives are unfolding according to a greater plan that we can understand, acknowledging that it takes a ton of courage to keep going. More than we think we have on some days. For this 40 Days of Faith, I'm asking Jesus for that courage. I'm asking for specific things, too...but it seems like the courage to get my boat back out into the water is necessary for all the rest.

I'd mentioned that I had an idea of how we might approach prayer, and I'll share it now. I discovered this a few years ago when I was new to the Bible, and was reading Psalm 40 in a panic, knowing I was supposed to teach on praying from the Psalms the next day and having no idea what I might say. As I read, a pattern emerged and I thought, "Oh...I can do that..." It's pretty straightforward.

First, read over Psalm 40.

Second, let's pray, using the same 7 steps as David:

1. Begin by recalling specific things God has already done to bless you.
2. Thank and praise God for these things, noting how His plans have exceeded your expectations.
3. Submit to God's will for your life.
4. Commit to glorify God publicly--in other words, to giving Him credit when He comes through.
5. Ask God to bless you with His mercy, and the protection of His love and truth.
6. NOW outline the troubles/hopes you need God's help with, and the specifics of what you are asking Him to do. (In our 40 Days terms, this is where we tell Jesus what we'd like him to do for us)
7. Acknowledge your lowly status before God (that He's God, and we're not), and that we are obeying His word by asking anyway. Ask that He act QUICKLY!


I'll try to close each of our 40 days with a quote that inspires me. Today's is from Eugene Peterson:

"Prayer is the realization of personal powerlessness and, at the same moment, participation in God's power: I can do nothing, God can do anything."

That about sums it up. Here's to an amazing, awe-inspiring, surprising 40 Days of Faith! If you're in, drop a comment below. I think that helps with courage, knowing we're not in the boat alone :)


mkate said...

I'm here with you, Trish, and some of my friends are joining you for the first time too. I'm burdened to pray for you this morning. Like Aaron and Moses, I'm standing beside you, lifting up your arms. The Lord will be faithful to restore you.

Sarakastic said...

Now I'm trying to memorize the steps so I don't have to keep opening and closing my eyes while I pray but it's just a much more complete process then what i've done in the past, I love it

larramiefg said...

"I can do nothing" sounds rather negative. I'd rather say/think: "I can do nothing without the faith in God."

Holly said...

In the spirit of openness and "putting it all out there": I'm asking God for both a husband AND a career that I love so much that I practically run/skip there every day. My "fast" is an addition rather than a subtraction -- I'll be doing some daily drawing/scribbling to get out of my heady world of words.
I rather like the "I can do nothing" (takes the pressure off), but I suspect whether that works for us depends a lot on our backgrounds and how our brains work. Perhaps whatever points us toward a big, true God is good :-).

Rachaelita said...

I'm from the River Vineyard and I heard about and did this 40 days of Faith last year, although somewhat sporadically. I told some others about it, so a couple of other ladies from my small group at the River may be joining this blog, too. Glad to be here with you all and to see what adventures in faith these 40 days have in store for us.

KimberlyH said...

I'm into journaling my prayers - writing them helps keep me on task - so this afternoon at lunch I journaled/prayed through these 7 steps.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was surprised how difficult #3 - submitting to God's will for my life - was for me to pray honestly. I like to be in control, but my list of requests are things I need God to move in. I went back to the list of good things from God I had just written down (steps 1&2) and reminded myself that there are things on that list that are better than I could have planned for myself. I felt my attitude shift a bit and I definitely ended the prayer with more wind(faith) in my sails. :)

KristyWes said...

I'm in for the next 40 days! And - oh - I forgot about The Wood Song. Love those lyrics and that perspective. Thanks for the reminder :)

Anna said...

Like you, my fellow Faith-ers (?), I am on a similar journey and am laying down my desire for a wonderful husband, a job that I find fulfilling and that uses my skills, and a creative outlet.

I am at a point where everything has been stripped away and God finally has my attention. Slowly, slowly I am going through a healing process. I know God hears us when we pray and while we may be fighting Him or begging Him or seeking Him, He is faithful and has our best interests in mind.

Trish, you have been in my prayers since I first met you this February. You have been an incredible blessing. In the midst of repairs and patches on your boat, you are helping others sail theirs.

kim said...

Oops...I'm a day late, but I'm in!

Jessie2 said...

I'm in. I did this the last couple years but not as faithful as I wanted to. I honestly wasn't thinking about it being June 1st and that this would begin again, but as I was taking a walk tonight I thought to myself that I hadn't read your blog lately and there it was... It's been a super rough 2010 because it began for me with my best friend who also happened to be my on and off boyfriend of 8 years being killed in a car accident. So I'm definitely in need of some mending right now. I'll be asking God for mending and for a new love.
Sorry I rambled, but thanks so much for doing this again. It came at exactly the right time.

Gail and Andy Valenti said...

I'm ready to raise my sails and jump in the faith boat again with all of you. "We're better together"

heiress said...

I'm here with you guys as well! I look forward to receiving the full manifestation of everything that I have prayed for. Earlier this year I thought maybe i should just give up, I haven't received my husband and I've been praying and believing for the past 5 years. But deep inside I know that I have to keep trusting God, and delay is not denial.