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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Our culture is obsessed with being the most famous, the best, and the brightest. Perhaps it's not our culture so much as our human nature just exaggerated by technological capabilities. Regardless, this obsession has taken the secret, silent beauty out of the hard and mundane. The problem is that while perusing Instagram or Facebook, discontentment can begin to creep in as you creep on other people's so-called lives. We want to climb mountaintops and reach the stars so badly that the concept of being faithful in the little feels boring. But the truth is, the daily grind of small, faithful diligence is as admirable as it is difficult. Personally, my ability to be diligent is far from amazing, but with each new day I see that God has sustained me from the last and that I get to start over (Lamentations 3:23, Romans 8:28).

As Christians, what does it look like to be faithful with hard circumstances or mundane tasks?

By God's Grace. Jeremiah 31:3 says God loves His people with an everlasting love, therefore He will be faithful. I'll admit, while I'm happy to point others toward God's faithfulness in giving His people grace, I'm terrible at preaching it to myself. I put my prideful self on a pedestal as if I don't need His grace and cloak it with "I just don't deserve it." The truth is, if I don't spend time meditating on what God's grace is and means then I'm not going to understand it. Part of God's grace is the community that He offers us. Utilize that Facebook or text or whatever means possible to ask others to help you see clearly.

With Prayer. Or shall I say: Pleading. Psalm 145:18 says the Lord is near to all who call on Him in truth. Recently, one place I had to be faithful with something tedious God has given me was potty training my oldest child. A blog post I read about potty training suggested praying for your child. Honestly, at first I kind of laughed, but then I got so desperate that I tried it. I found that if I was seeking to pray for my child I was slower to anger and quicker to love.  

In Realism. “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife” (Proverbs 17:1). Those of us living in western culture love taking on as much as possible . . . from soccer practices to small groups to board meetings to playdates. Help your spouse, your children, and the people around you by cutting out the unnecessary. This means you slow down in order to prioritize and focus on the things God has truly called you to. 

With Joy. Yes, I mean this in a spiritual sense. There is great joy in knowing Christ. But I also mean remembering to have joy and laughter. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” 

Choosing Thankfulness. Everyone has struggles. Everyone deals with either cancer or fear or death or depression or debt. Everyone has something. I want to remember that even in my trials I can be grateful (Philippians 4:6). Not because it's easy. Not because my struggles aren’t a big deal. Not because there is someone somewhere worse off. But because there is something to always be legitimately thankful for. There may be moments where I feel like there isn't, but there always will be.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial . . .” (James 1:12a). While often times the idea of anything inside of us being steadfast amidst our rigorous lives is comical, I cling to the fact the God is perfectly steadfast. When you become a Christian, you aren't given a switch to flip in order to cause gratefulness, but you are given the Spirit of God. What baffles me is that I should be this reliant on the Spirit of God with or without trials and hardship, yet I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t be. While it can certainly feel like my environment, job, or relationships are the problem, the truth is that my issues were already there. Hardships, like bankruptcy, and even daily tasks like potty training, simply reveal dormant grenades planted long ago in my heart.

May the revelation of our need for Jesus be brought to light as we trudge forward in suffering, trial, and the monotony of everyday life. And may that revelation push us to the feet of Jesus! And for the very fact that I am being pushed to the feet of Jesus, may I be forever grateful.
 
Rebekah Hannah
Ministry Fellow at Columbia University
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