40 days of frustration? (Andrew)

March 6, 2009

I’m trying something kind of different this year. I’ve mentioned before that I follow the blog Not The Religious Type, which comprises the musings of Dave Schmelzer (pastor of the Boston Vineyard church) and others who believe that Jesus is a really important person for everyone to know, whether or not they consider themselves “religious.” Right now we’re in the historical season of Lent, where people generally give up something they enjoy for 40 days leading up to Easter weekend. Well, Dave’s church (and now the blog) does this thing called “40 days of faith” where they encourage us to devote extra time to God, and to ask him for something big, that presumably takes a lot of faith. I’ve never really done Lent but since I’m following this blog, and they are encouraging all the readers to do it, I am participating! I didn’t consciously do this, but Laura and I began waking up about 30-45 minutes earlier than usual this week, primarily to walk together before getting ready for the day. So it appears I’m fasting from that much time in sleep (which is definitely a sacrifice for us!).

Anyways, in this time I am asking God to invigorate my research and basically get me to my dissertation through amazing results. That’s kind of a surface-level, “I want this” request. So, Dave asked us to also ask God for what we really want, as in, what is the thing behind that original request that you really want to see God do. So mine is that I really want to have influence in society, whether that is as a successful professor, businessman, or whatever, with my degrees in chemistry as sort of a qualification (“and he knows what he’s talking about”). 

Through all of this, I have really been thinking about prayer, and fighting back the thoughts that I’m doing something wrong which is blocking God from answering my prayers. The Bible talks about our Father in heaven being much better than an “evildoing father” on earth, who would not give a stone to their child if they were asked for a fish. So its not like God is unwilling to talk to me, or even give me the good and necessary things I ask for, but sometimes it feels like there is a block. I’m going into this 40 days of faith with a lot of recent frustration in prayer. I’ve prayed for people in the past several weeks and just felt like I would be “blank” – like I was just talking and nothing I was saying was from God. I’m hopeful that this will change in the coming weeks, but it’s going to be a challenge for sure!

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One Response to “40 days of frustration? (Andrew)”

  1. Gabe said

    I’ve got time here in Guatemala so in addition to following my usual subscriptions, I’ve been catching up on a bunch of old podcasts that had started to pile up. In lieu of this post and knowing that you follow blogs/podcasts, I thought I’d pass on a few that I’ve found to be very insightful.

    This series, preached by Mark Driscoll with Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has turned my prayer life upside-down, in an amazing way. He’s not Vineyard, but he’s a great preacher that doesn’t skimp on theology. I’ve listened to A LOT of his stuff and the only theological point that I disagree with him on concerns women in leadership. Interestingly, while he doesn’t support it, he views it as an open-handed theological point leaving room for others to disagree. Anyway, here’s this:

    http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/pray-like-jesus/feed/audio

    Next is a sermon by Jeff Heidkamp with the Mercy Vineyard in Minneapolis. It’s nothing but good, practical insight on the act of fasting and its historical impact within the church.

    [audio src="https://mercy.s3.amazonaws.com/2008.02.22.2.mp3" /]

    Last is a sermon series preached by Francis Chan with Cornerstone Christian out in Southern California. This series really got me thinking strongly about how my life is impacting those around me. Who am I living for? Am I giving myself and my resources away? Do people want to know Jesus because of the lifestyle I choose to live? I could go on, but won’t. Just listen to these:

    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-10-26_francis_chan_living_a_life_that_matters_pt1.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-11-02_francis_chan_living_a_life_that_matters_pt2.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-11-02_francis_chan_living_a_life_that_matters_pt3.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-11-16_dave_phillips_raising_our_children.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-11-23_francis_chan_living_a_life_that_matters_pt5.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-11-30_francis_chan_living_a_life_that_matters_pt6.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-12-07_francis_chan_living_a_life_that_matters_pt7.mp3" /]
    [audio src="http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/sermons/audio/2008-12-28_francis_chan_living_a_life_that_matters_pt8.mp3" /]

    I got a ton of others, but I think this comment is probably long enough! Stay strong and know that I am praying for you guys. For now…

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