#DETOX is designed to prioritize God in the new year as we allow him to cleanse and renew our souls (Psalm 51:10). Together, we are committing to 21 days of prayer and fasting so that we might come into greater alignment with God’s will, purposes and plans believing and trusting in His power alone to create lasting impact and change in our lives, our church and our world.
Over the course of our #DETOX journey, we will have a daily prayer focus that will help guide and unify us as a community in prayer as we seek God's heart together on a variety of topics. You can find an overview of our daily prayer focus topics here. The following post is meant to serve as a reminder and inspiration on what and how you might pray on today's prayer focus, but should not limit how God leads you in praying. Be sure to follow along daily at our #DETOX Daily Blog here.
Prayer Focus: Sacrificially Generous
When I was a teenager, I’d get up every morning focused on loving people that day. After all, the greatest commandments are to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-40). While I desired to please God with my life, I think my love for others was also motivated by a desire for control, security, and self-worth. My identity was centered on being kind and loving toward others and my sense of wellbeing was rooted in my ability to help people. And until more recently, I would give of my time and resources to others almost boundlessly.
In my personal life, I would be quick to say, “yes,” when someone would ask for my attention. In my professional life, I would give therapy clients extra time in sessions without additional compensation. And as a result, I would find myself feeling tired or run down, behind in my work, and not investing in people who were dear to me. While it is God-honoring to be generous with my time and resources, I am learning that my time and resources are not limitless and that healthy sacrificial generosity requires boundaries.
In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ —Matthew 6:9-13
Interesting that Jesus instructs us to pray that we receive our “daily bread,” that we receive what we need in order to be sustained for the day. Y’all, how are we gonna receive our “daily bread” from God if we don’t sit down and stay a while to eat it? How are we going to have the energy and presence of mind and heart to love others if we are not taken care of? We need to connect with Jesus, to receive His love and delight in us in order to love others well. Our “cups” must be filled in order to give someone else a “drink”—we must have something to give if we are to give generously.
Friends, I do not think that God expects that we give sacrificially without first being filled by Him. Yes, it is pleasing to God that we sacrifice our time and resources for the sake of loving others, but not to our own detriment. I don’t think God feels satisfied or pleased when we are suffering because we’ve neglected to care for our needs—that doesn’t make us more holy, it just makes us more tired and unable to love well. We give out of plenty, out of excess, out of an overflow of what God has given us.
I struggle to make time to receive God’s love, to set boundaries around my responsibilities so that I might be filled by Him. I fill my time with so many things—even seemingly good things like connecting with others, serving others. I love feeling limitless—it makes me feel powerful, self-sufficient. I wonder if Martha shared these sentiments.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” —Luke 10:38-42
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Matthew 11:28-30:
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I know that the feeling of limitlessness is just an illusion. This passage reminds me that I don’t need to strive for my sense of worth or security, that God offers to be my Savior and Sustainer, that He invites me to rest in His love and saving grace.
As you start this day, before you contemplate how you might generously and sacrificially love someone, maybe you can sit down and stay awhile in Jesus’ presence? Set a boundary and go ahead and refrain from doing whatever else needs to be done right this moment and just breathe and rest in Him.
Help me to chill out. Please, give me the strength to sit and stay awhile in your presence. I am currently saying “no” to the things on my “to do” list because I want to meet with you—you are most important to me. Would you remind me of your love for me? Remind me that you are God.
In Jesus’ Name,
— Kelly M.