I seldom share my personal written prayers in public. But as the LORD mercifully answers this one may it be your reality too.
So where did I get the idea that I am somehow an originator of love when you are not only the pioneer, picture and perfector of love, you are Love itself; or rather should I say, Himself?
Today, I am happy to be caught in the cross-fire of the “love that flows between the Father and Son, enfolded in [your love], sharing [your] passionate love for the world” (Seamands 2005, 53). As I read about Jack frost (53-56) I wondered if the author had heard about me and retold my personal story with that pseudonym. You know I am a recovering workaholic, performance-driven, results-oriented, doing-more-than-being hard taskmaster, but you have been transforming me by the renewing of my mind since I began Fuller over a year ago. Thank you.
And now if indeed Jesus is sending me as you sent him (John 20:21), o then may I feel afresh “the profound awareness of the Father’s affectionate love [as] the foundation of [my] ministry” too (63). May my sending (achievement) be out of a sense of being (acceptance), well-being (sustenance) and being-ness (status) (63-64).
O how I often slip away from this foundation and time and again become a ‘loving worker’ instead of a ‘working lover’ (65). May I truly profoundly and experientially know your heart for me before having your heart for the nations (66-67).
What a stark reminder, dear Lover and Lord, that who I am is more important than what I do not just because the latter flows from the former but that my identity as a son is proto, prime and permanent. If even I did nothing, I will always still be your beloved son in whom you are well-pleased. Profound. Wow!
May you remove every known and unknown barrier to your love for me, may I feel your passionate phileo and even eros love for me—not just agape. I want to feel the fire of your love afresh in my soul.
So! back to the beginning. I am happy to be caught in the cross-fire of that divine love which “is a burning fire; in all its intensity and infinity…has but one object and but one joy, and that is the only-begotten Son” (72).
Thank you for including me in “the circle of that fiery love” (73). May I always be content to stay there—to just be.
Your co-lover and co-loved,
Seamands, Stephen. 2005. Ministry in the Image of God: The Trinitarian Shape of Christian Service. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
With another new year comes another fresh challenge of fasting and prayer for 21 days—just like Daniel did.
HARD TO BEAT
Make no mistake. Every excuse you may have not to fast and pray, Daniel had same and more. He was super smart, highly intellectual and well-trained—from Alchemy to Zoology (Daniel 1). He aced the national test to serve the king.
He was super gifted with insight to interpret dreams, mysteries and hard puzzles that baffled the most sophisticated magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners of his time—in fact, he was once appointed chief of them all in King Nebuchadnezzar’s era (Daniel 5).
Daniel was super busy—he was one of three senior ministers overseeing 120 regional ministers of the Babylonian kingdom—he wasn’t slack. Indeed, Daniel so distinguished himself among the ministers and senior ministers by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the entire kingdom as prime minister (Daniel 6).
He was super principled and ethical—his diet, motives, honesty, disciplines, integrity, convictions… He was a man of noble character. He served several successive kings—he outlasted them—even as an immigrant in high political office.
Super young, super good-looking, super liked and all the above, he still found the need to fast for 21 days, seeking understanding of an issue that he wanted to unravel. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. (Daniel 10:2-3)
If you are satisfied with being super by earthly standards, then by all means forget about the pain of fasting and the work of prayer. But if you want to see the supernatural intervening in your earthly matters, then welcome to the school of fasting and prayer.
DO THE MATH
Every new year is a mystery, like Daniel’s, waiting to be unravelled. To take 21 days seeking audience with the Author, Executor and Perfector of all the 365 days laden with prospects and dangers is only a 6% investment of your year but worth 100% of the effort.
Since 2007 a number of us have done this math and figured an exciting time of seeking the Lord in 21 Fasting Days of Prayer, Purpose and Planning at the start of each year is so worth it. See my blog last year for some of the most important reasons why I personally do this year after year for over 10 years now!
Please plan to join us as we seek the Lord in fasting and prayer from January 2nd to 22nd. We will plan to meet together daily for corporate prayer times in person or via video call (Zoom) from 5 pm to 6 pm local time (wherever you are in the world) and 5pm to 6pm ET in North America in particular. You will find the meeting link and schedule of daily prayer topics below.
CHOOSE YOUR FAST
In fasting, we commit to denying ourselves of food, drink or other comforts to more fully focus on prayer and fellowship with God. There are many types of fasts. There are complete fasts where you deny yourself all food or partial fasts where you forego certain types of food. Food is anything with calories 🙂 so does not include water (which has zero calories). It is actually a healthy practice to keep hydrated since the body is 60% water. A dry fast (no water) isn’t recommended beyond three days. Usually, when people set out to fast for an extended time—like the 21 days in the Daniel Fast—they will choose to do a partial fast.
The Daniel diet during this fast (like he did) is mainly vegetables and denying yourself meat, drinks and other choice foods. Basically, nothing fancy. Some still have three meals a day but nothing fancy (as described above) while others go the whole day denying themselves breakfast and lunch and eating only in the evenings.
Here are three suggestions of different partial fasts you could choose this January:
1) Full day fast Type 1: Fast from breakfast and lunch and eat a normal supper in the evening for the 21 days.
2) Full day fast Type 2: Fast from breakfast and lunch and eat a Daniel fast supper in the evening for the 21 days.
3) Fast Type 3: Eat three Daniel Fast meals each day for 21 days.
Please prayerfully consider joining us for this exciting 21 fasting days of Prayer, Purpose and Planning for 2018!
LAND THE DEAL
“Do not be afraid…Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days…Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” (Daniel 10:12-14)
It is the same dude, Daniel, who was unequivocal in stating, “…the people who do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32b). Now you know. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Schedule: January 2-22 daily topics here
Zoom Link: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android
Or Telephone: US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833 (Meeting ID: 248 246 747)
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=BWpwOmbBqIO9McEisO8aYDJSSz5Wzav_