The start of 10 Days is just over a week away. Over 25 cities and regions are gearing up for a set-apart season of seeking God's face. As we approach this season with anticipation, my biggest encouragement to you is: Make Room!
Our lives are busy and distractions are easily available to fill in whatever cracks remain. I encourage you during these weeks leading up to 10 Days to intentionally prepare a space in your life for an encounter with God! While making space is important for you personally, it's equally important for what God wants to do through you to bring His Kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven."
Consider Mary, who made space for the Messiah in her own womb. When told by Gabriel that she would conceive the Messianic King as a virgin, she responded in faith: "Let it be to me according to your word." In other words, "Amen, Let's do it your way God." God's word found space in her heart through faith, causing God's Eternal Word to find space in her womb through that same faith, leading to this mystery that somehow we get to be a part of, "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Jesus: Lonely Places
One thing I love about Jesus is that he never chased crowds, they always chased Him! Jesus was a publicist's nightmare, always inconveniently disappearing from the most promising photo ops and ministry situations in order to attend to a more vital ministry: the joyous work of being attentive and available to His Father. Often he would vanish "before it was light" or "to a mountain" or "to a lonely place", even at one point spending 40 days alone in prayer and fasting. He knew the importance of creating space where He could receive love, strength, and direction from His Father. Jesus knew the importance of setting apart extended time with His Father. His example is meant to be followed--if Jesus needed this time as closely as He walked with God, we must need it a lot more!
Daniel: Sacred Space in Compromised Times
Daniel's faithfulness was demonstrated in the midst of incredible cultural opposition. He was continually surrounded by every idolatrous temptation of Babylon, yet he remained faithful to God while also having incredible favor and influence with unrighteous kings. He needed daily wisdom and insight from God just to keep from getting swept away by the cultural pressure around him and he found it by creating space to meet with God. Each day, Daniel had three set-times of prayer each day. This prayer rhythm was based on the daily prayers and sacrifices in the Temple. While the physical Temple had been destroyed by Babylon, Daniel became a mobile temple in Babylon continuing in prayer until the order to rebuild the Temple was given. Daniel would also periodically enter into extended times of fasting and prayer. These set-apart times were necessary for his faithfulness in Babylon (Dan. 1) and were often seasons of revelation from God (Dan. 10). In fact, we owe parts of our Bible to Daniel's faithfulness to create space to meet with God.
10 Days will begin the evening of Sept. 13. As we near that time, we encourage you to make a plan to make space!
1) Decide on a fast. There are many ways to fast, but I'd recommend a Daniel Fast (simple foods, no meats, dairy, or sweets) or a juice fast (liquids only). You may also want to consider fasting from certain types of media as well.
2) Make Space for Prayer. If 10 Days is taking place in your city, familiarize yourself with the schedule and plan out which nights to attend. In addition, you may want to create space, like Daniel, for 3-times of daily Prayer. A number of cities have corporate prayer options available at least 3-times a day, and some even 24-7. Even if no one around you is doing 10 Days, you can enter into this time on your own or with a few friends.
3) Each year, I share the vision of a city that had "stopped everything" for 10 Days in order to seek God. All I can tell you is that when people say "yes" to this, God does crazy and amazing things!!! 10 Days: Transforming Cities Video.
I want to invite you all to join me this fall in "stopping everything". Seriously, let's completely clear our calendars and seek God together in our cities! How would God respond if a city sought Him in this way? We'll only find that out with the help of many of our brothers and sisters. But how would God respond to you if you took up that invitation? You can find out the answer to that question by saying "Amen God, let's find out."
Let it be to us according to your word, O God. We make space for you!
We are excited that Wilmington, N.C. will be seeking the Lord with us this 10 Days, Sept 13-23, 2015. Check out their encouraging promo video and hear what they are expecting God to do in Wilmington!