Phil Miglioratti of Pray.Network had a conversation with John Snyder, author of
Phil: John, what prompted you to compose this “100 day journey?”
John: Phil, for years, my family has practiced praying for 100 days before making any major life decisions, or when facing a serious problem. Several years ago, some of our friends around the world were facing some major challenges, so we invited them to join us on one of our journeys. One of our friends asked if I would help them by writing a short devotional (or prayer starter) to encourage them to keep going. So I did. Every morning, I would rise to write a short piece, email it to all our friends, and together we would use it as our daily devotional and focused time of prayer for our need as well as each other’s needs. It was a terrific bonding experience. And then when it was over, someone suggested that I should try to publish it because it was so helpful.
Phil: Please unpack how the subtitle prepares us for the journey.
John: Sure. To begin…
- The Transforming Power… I’ve found that there’s a power in waiting on God to answer our prayers. We continue in expectation and patience, in constant reference to him as the source and center of our hope. In some mysterious way, God’s way, we’re transformed during this period of expectancy. I think the power lies in God’s interaction with us as he remains our focus and reference point over time.
- of Actively ... Phil, for me this captures the essence of Jesus’ teaching that when pray is not just passive, it’s active—we are to ask, seek, and knock. The grammar of the text is clear—it requires the translation that we are to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. We aren’t sure exactly why, but God seems to favor this never-give-up attitude when presenting our needs and requests. Also, in the parable of the Persistent Widow, Jesus told his disciples that “they should always pray and not give up.”
- Waiting On God ... When it comes to waiting—we live in a fast-paced world where we want it yesterday. But the waiting is vital to understanding the trustworthiness and generosity of God. If God always answered our prayers five minutes after praying, we would never grow in faith. He would be merely our valet, or a genie in the bottle, not God. In waiting for him to act, our faith is stretched and we’re changed and matured. Often, even the very thing we desire from God is altered in the time that passes. He loves us too much to just grant every prayer of ours, but each prayer is answered according to his very best for us. Phil, as we look back on certain events in our lives, how many times have we said, “Lord, thanks for not answering that prayer?!”
Phil: Talk to us about the implications of your statement in Day 31 “When believers live intentionally by the kind of love Jesus is talking about, a love that is a product of the Holy Spirit’s presence among us, it gains the attention of the world.”
John: When God’s Spirit generates his unique quality of love among God’s people, others will be so impressed that they can’t deny there’s something different about Christians that they can’t find in the world. Unfortunately, today, we as Christians don’t have a very good track record in this respect, so if people could witness the kind of radical love found in the early church, they won’t be able to brush it off as just phony piety. The popular cliché, “Christians aren’t perfect, they’re only forgiven,” usually is nothing more than the lame excuse, “Don’t expect anything very impressive from us; we’re just like everybody else.” And, to be honest, if you look around, it’s often difficult to differentiate between a Christian and non-Christian. But we’re supposed to be noticeably different from the rest of the world if the Spirit of Christ dwells in us.
Phil: On Day 65 you say, “Have you ever wondered whether God was actually listening to you when you pray?”
John: From time to time, most of us are tempted to think that God isn’t even listening to our prayers, particularly when we’ve been praying a very long time for something. We need to remember that we might be in a hurry, but God never is. What we want no later than next Tuesday God might want for us a year from Tuesday, or even ten years from Tuesday. Or, as difficult as it may be to accept, perhaps God doesn’t intend to grant our request if he thinks it isn’t good for us. And here’s the heart of the problem: God is God and we aren’t. He knows better than we do what we need and when we need it, but we can be sure that he knows every thought of every heart, the motivation behind every thought, the true value of the request, and the exact time he should bring us his answer. Only time and experience will teach us this difficult lesson. What we should never forget is that nothing ever escapes God’s notice, that he always pays careful attention to us, and that not a single word or longing of ours is ever overlooked or ignored.
Phil: Why these final words on the last page… “So the next time God takes his own sweet time in coming your way, just thank him for making his presence known and clear, for doing it his way, and for training you to meet the challenge ahead.“
John: Thanking God for doing things his way and in his time affirms that in his infinite wisdom his timing is perfect and ours isn’t. It’s in this long-term experience of faith—of waiting, trusting, and seeing later his good plans for us—that we are trained to face the increasingly more difficult challenges ahead. This is the school, or training ground, where we are steeled into mature disciples. What we learn over time is that our way is not the best way, and that if God delays in answering our prayers, it’s always for our good. He answers according to a higher purpose, and his good purpose is consistently tilted in our direction.
Phil: John, please write a prayer for those of us need to take a 100 day prayer journey…
John: Thank you Lord, that I can address you as Almighty God and my Heavenly Father. You are the only one who has the power to provide what I need, and you know whether and when to grant what I ask. Thanks for the privilege of coming into your presence and telling you anything that’s on my heart, and for not judging or criticizing me for whatever feelings, fears, or doubts I may have on this journey. I ask only that along the way you’ll increase my faith, clarify my mind, and make yourself and your will more known. Change me by my constant asking, seeking, and knocking, and transform me in heart and mind as I tell you in blunt honesty all that is in me. Keep reminding me of what I so easily forget, that your generous grace and faithfulness are based strictly upon your gracious character and not on mine, or on how faithful I’ve been or how well I’ve performed for you. Whatever you choose to do on this journey, draw me closer to you and equip me for all that lies ahead, for Jesus sake. Amen.
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