Destiny In Bloom

A Life That Prays

A Life That Prays

posted on December 30th, 2009 / by Marissa Star / 39 Comments

Have you ever been burdened for someone you loved so dearly to come to the saving heart knowledge of Jesus? Have you cried out for healing for yourself or someone close to you? Do you have a financial situation that needs a miracle?  Are you desperate to find freedom from anger or depression? Does your marriage need a love intervention? And could it be simply that your prayer and spiritual life need an extreme Jesus makeover? What if you could position yourself in Christ that not only were you praying with your words, but your whole life was praying, every minute of everyday … you were praying? That is what fasting is; your life praying!

I don’t flippantly ask the previous questions hoping to hit the bull’s eye of something you might have been through. I’ve stood eye to eye with the mountains and giants I’ve mentioned above. In this blog I’m no more than a storyteller hoping to infuse faith, encourage hope, while exalting Jesus for what He has taught me and done in my life through fasting. I hope that you find that fasting isn’t just a religious act or merely abstaining from food (that’s called a diet) but that it is the surrendering of your whole self before the Lord. You may start out believing God for one thing and find He not only speaks to that thing, but also does so much more as you open yourself to hearing His voice speak to your whole heart (every area). There is a root system that goes down deep and like new life that springs up it produces fruit and continues to bear fruit through the many seasons of your life.

Shortly after fully surrendering my life to the Lord (I was 19), I spent a year at Teen Challenge (A Jesus centered one year program for recovering drug addicts, as well as other addictions including alcoholism and eating disorders.) It was like fasting my life for a year. I left the life I knew, my family, my friends, to start all over. I checked in for a heart transplant and came out a new person. I left my hometown and had cut off pretty much all of my friends. I asked the Lord for two, if I could carry them in my heart until they knew Him. One was my very best friend from high school. A girl I introduced to drugs. I spent almost three years praying for her before she asked Jesus in her heart. She told me about how she asked Him if He was really real to help her through a terrible break-up and help her start a new life. She had never been in the church and we would talk everyday on the phone as she had new questions about Jesus and the Bible. In the meantime I had left Teen Challenge, done some inter-city evangelism, and gone on to Christ for the Nations bible college where I was going to school at the time this story took place. I remember praying for her and hearing the Holy Spirit say that she needed to get baptized. My friend could be a little rough around the edges and I told the Lord I would stand in the gap and fast, but He would have tell her because I was just plain scared. In my zealousness (being pretty new to fasting myself) I chose to go on a liquid fast for 10 days. I drank water, juice and a pot of coffee a day (coffee is a liquid right? :) ).  I would press in everyday praying for God to speak to her, not really knowing how that would play out, but my heart was eager to see God do His business. On the 9th day of the liquid fast during our morning Chapel time at CFNI I had sharp pains on my right side. I immediately thought my appendix had burst. EMT’s rushed me to the hospital in an ambulance. They questioned me about the last time I had eaten, when I told them I had been fasting the young EMT said to me, “It wasn’t Lent or Ramadan last time I checked …” with a smug look on his face while he determined I probably had an eating disorder. After an hour of excruciating pain the doctor was able to determine that I was passing a kidney stone thanks to all the coffee and creamer I had consumed with the lack of food. I wasn’t exactly smart in my fasting but my heart was fervent before the Lord and He honored my heart. Later that afternoon I was lying in my bed on some nice strong pain medication, when I received a call from my friend. She stopped by to pick something up from a store and when she was returning to her car she got distracted by a new store that was recently opened. She went in and the guy that worked there began showing her a new bible program that looked up any scripture or topic you wanted to research. He said for example lets look up baptism. She left with a print out of all scriptures in the bible on baptism and read in Mark 16:16a, He who believes and is baptized will be saved;” That’s all it took, she had to be baptized. I wished I hadn’t been so out of it on pain medication so I could have reveled in the moment more with her. The next time I went home to San Diedo, CA I was able to be a part of baptizing her in the ocean. It was a pretty big moment in my walk with God … it energized my faith, as I was able to partner with God in His plan for my dear friend.

Fasting doesn’t always have to be food. It could be what ever has your heart and that giving it up for a period of time is a sacrifice of love. You don’t have to be in a conversation with me long to hear about what I love. For surely out of the abundance of the mouth the heart speaks (Matt. 12:34b). And this heart speaks of the love of yummy latte’s, latest fashion trends, great movies and reality TV shows centered around dance and singing. Several years ago at Gateway Church (which is my home church) a forty-day fast was called. When I felt the Holy Spirit’s hand on my heart I knew this time it was going to be a great challenge. In this particular fast I felt the gift was giving up shopping, TV, and coffee. Which really breaks down to no shopping for myself at Target (aka home away from home :) ), no going to the mall with my faithful Venti Starbucks cup in hand, and no American Idol for 40 days.  We had a rally to kick off the 40 day fast with a celebration of worship as we put the Lord first that year. I was in the middle of worshiping the Lord as He reminded me of all the times I had asked for healing since I had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome which I had been struggling with since I was 23 years old. It had caused us to walk through a painfully frustrating season of dealing with infertility while our friends around us easily conceived. It took us two years to find a doctor who helped us have our babies with the help of infertility medicine. If ever the Pastor or minster would say there was an anointing for healing I was front and center. The disorder had caused increased weight gain and hormonal imbalances and the doctors offered no real hope except for treating the symptoms.  The voice of the Lord spoke straight to my heart, “ask again”, my heart “what?” “Ask again to be healed,” He responded. So I did. I poured my heart out before Him for physical healing. I can’t say I felt anything in that moment or walked away from that night feeling changed, but what I do know is that a sonogram five weeks later showed that a baby was conceived three days after that prayer meeting. The miracle of our naturally conceived fourth son followed and forever solidified that we are called to raise husbands. My body miraculously fell into alignment after our baby was born. I could ask why the healing came then and not before, and why we had to walk out our battle with infertility. But I have resolved in my heart that He is good and His timing is perfect. Who would of thought that the fasting of Target, TV, and a good ole’ cup of Joe would result in the blessing we find in raising our littlest Star, Davis.

Which leads me to my last story and one I’m still very emotional about. This October, while reading the book “The Blood and The Glory,” (by Billie Brim) I stopped to mediate on one of the verses in the book and began to pray in the Spirit desiring for the revelation to go deep. I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me to go back to California and visit my Grandma and Grandpa. I hadn’t been there in at least four years and I knew that they were getting up there in years, but the way He spoke to me … my heart knew there was something more. I went to my husband to see if He was in agreement because it would mean him taking off work to watch our four children and hold down the fort. He agreed it was God’s timing. For three days I grieved like one of them had died and all in the natural was fine. I felt the call to a 21-day fast and this particular time I felt called to a strict Daniel’s fast (veggies, fruit, legumes, and the real Ris doozy, no coffee!). Half way through the fast I began to realize that this isn’t just about my Grandma (who had been a great spiritual example to me) … something is going on with my Grandpa. As I began asking God about it He told me it was the last time I would see him alive. It was kind of hard news and hard to swallow when everything looked fine. I knew I was going to have to ask him (my Grandpa) if he had ever asked Jesus in his heart. He had the fruit of a life change but he had never confessed to anyone in our family that he had received Jesus. He was the quiet type, he was a loving guy, but the quietness always intimated me and like in the story above I had simply been too scared to ask before. So on my trip, after pacing in circles and eating a dozen cookies from the kitchen table, I worked myself up to ask him if we were going to end up in the same place together. I told him I needed to know we were … I told him I needed to know if he had asked Jesus in his heart. He said, “Of course, I’m the one that has to get your Grandma to go to church now.” The questioning ended and the answer settled well in my heart. 28 days after returning from that trip I received the phone call that my Grandpa went to be with Jesus. I could just stand there with the phone in my hand in awe of God. Trembling really, my humanness couldn’t absorb it. Fasting had prepared my heart for a truth that was coming that I didn’t understand. This fast started with God speaking and fasting was the physical act of inclining my ear. The story of my Grandpa is just a facet (but a pretty big one) of what God did on this fast, but also He strengthened my marriage, and stirred up dreams and vision in my heart for myself and my family in the coming year.

I want to clarify that when I talk about God speaking, I am talking of the prophetic speaking of the Holy Spirit straight to the heart of the issues of life. Fasting has a way of quieting the flesh so we can hear clearly the voice and prophetic wisdom of the Holy Spirit. As we follow His guidance He allows us to see the truth about ourselves, our situation, and others. This kind of profound partnership in praying has rocked my world and has yielded the sweetest of rewards.

So here we are, the start of a new year! What are you believing for? Fasting is a great way of inclining your ear to hear what He has in store for you this year as you dedicate it to Him. He wants to tell you what He desires to do in your heart, your family, your finances, your health … you name it. He desires to be the Lord of your life and guide you in His prophetic wisdom.

If you feel called to a fast there are many kinds … only the one the Lord calls you to is best for you. I am attaching links to some additional references to learn more about them. There are also some great 21-day devotionals out there that when coupled with prayer serve as a great encouragement while fasting.

It’s my prayer that these stories encouraged your faith to hope again even against great odds in a God that performs miracles. And One who let’s us be a part, not for His sake, but for ours as we see the fruit that comes from a life that prays!

With the Greatest Love!

Links & Resources:

Gateway Church’s 21-day devotional http://letsgo.gatewaypeople.com/

Resources on fasting as well as being able to join in the 2010 Fasting Movement with Jentezen Franklin http://www.jentezenfranklin.org/fasting/

The book FASTING by Jentezen Franklin http://www.jentezenfranklin.org/cart/product.php?p=228&c=425

Types of fasts http://www.jentezenfranklin.org/fasting/typesoffasts.php

Scripture References for Fasting:

Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 9:14-15, Luke 18:9-14

Relation to Prayer and Reading of the Word:

1 Samuel 1:6-8, 17-18, Nehemiah 1:4, Daniel 9:3, 20, Joel 2:12, Luke 2:37, Acts 10:30, Acts 13:2

Corporate Fasting:

1 Samuel 7:5-6, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 2:15-16, Jonah 3:5-10, Acts 27:33-37

Remember: The Holy Spirit is the perfect prayer partner “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will. We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:27-29 AMP. Version

39 Responses to “A Life That Prays”

  1. So good, Ris! I haven’t really prayed about fasting this new year, and this stirred that up in my heart. Love it.

  2. Thanks so much Ris! This is a beautiful testimony. “fasting was the physical act of inclining my ear”…that’s my favorite line I’ve learn today. Your Heart is Beautiful!! Great Love to you too my Friend!!!! and….HAPPY NEW YEAR as well for you and your whole family. Have fun!

  3. You are one amazing lady with so much inspiration. You have motivated me to press in during the next 21 days, thank you for being so transparent and thanks for being you!

  4. Also a beautiful testimony of sharing Jesus, simply Jesus. Why do we make it so hard? I don’t know. I am still trying to figure that one out. I have some friends that do not know Him. I have the opportunity to share Him with them this weekend. Will I?

  5. Good Stuff! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hey, Marissa! That’s really the best article on fasting I’ve read in a while. Thanks so much for writing it!

    Love Sarah

  7. that was so good! thanks for sharing, I was gearing up for the 21 day fast, but hadn’t really thought about the purpose behind it. thanks

  8. Thank you for confirming that I’ve been hearing from God about what and how to fast. You are so precious and gifted!

  9. Great read! I sympathize with your kidney stone…have had 6 myself. Not fun! Guess I could almost say I had six natural births-that’s how I understand to equate the pain! :-) Awesome read Marissa. Thank you for sharing your passion, devotion and beautiful heart for Jesus!

  10. Ris,

    I read your blog after spending 3 hrs this morning seeking God for 2010…theme, focus, direction, scriptures. He was so good to speak so clearly to me and to not withhold anything. Tomorrow, I'm seeking Him about the 21-day fast, so you're blog comes as such an appropriate time.

    First…so well written. You took so much time and care to share your story and, also, to give us so much meat to chew on regarding fasting. You have inspired me to seek this time of fasting with such an expectant heart to expected the unexpected. Did that make sense?

    I am excited to hear the direction God will give me for this fast. I am approaching it with such a different heart and spirit than I ever have. I feel God bubbling with new – something I so struggled with this month.

    I am printing this one out to continue to encourage me through the fasting period and into a year where, hopefully, this will only be the first of other fasts throughout the year.

    You have made my heart smile today. Much Love and Many Blessings!

    Babs

  11. Marissa,
    This really did encourage my faith in the way and the reason why I fast and pray! Thanks for the touching stories. I am looking forward to the new year and all that He has in store for me and my family!:)
    Thank you also for being a listening ear with me this morning!!:)
    Love You!!
    ~Maree

  12. I was reading Isaiah 58 this morning, kind of gearing myself up for the 21 day fast- my mister has asked me to join him in a tv fast. I know God is so able to bring To fruition all that is in my heart. Thank you for the confirmation!!!!!!

  13. I remember that kidney stone thing. I love this God who allows us to come so close and so deep. Who has so much to say to our hearts and our situations. Who can change everything by saying just one word. Love you, Ris! Thanks for being so real with latte in hand. LOL!

  14. Powerful as always! I love how you have surrendered your writing gift to Him!

    I didn’t know you attended Teen Challenge. That ministry has affected my life in precious ways more times than once. I pray it continues until Jesus comes because I know it tranforms lives and generations on a regular basis.

    Thank you for stirring up my own powerful stories of what fasting can do. I wasn’t really looking forward to it this year. I needed a perspective change. Thanks for allowing the HS to use you to speak to me.

    Love ya girl,
    Kisha

  15. How beautiful, instructive, and inspiring! Thank you for your vulnerability, and faithfulness to remember God’s deliverance so poignantly, His miraculous power through your obedience so grippingly! Yes, you helped me prepare for the upcoming fast.

    Blessings,
    Barbara Hill, Crista’s mom

  16. Dear Marissa, This is Jesus’ life message worked out through you! Thank you for taking the disciplines and “cost” of fasting and giving it life that produces HIS Spirit in and through us and in and through others.

    I continue to thank my God every time I remember you. (Phil 1:3) He has given you a voice that is genderless and ageless. May HIS blessings overtake you Dear One.

    Love,
    Mary Jo

  17. Marissa-

    Goodness, it's been literally years since I've seen you but your blog and your FB posts have blessed me all year! I want to thank you for sharing your heart with this "cyber audience", especially me.

    I want you to know that your life impacted me from the beginning. I remember doing exercise videos and playing cards with you and Yuri, (in the early days of your wedded bliss:), and the thing I found so amazing about you was your true joy in Christ. I remember you always having a smile on your face and laughing a whole bunch too! I'm guessing those things are still the same, probably more so because you walk daily in the grace and mercy of Jesus.

    I am seeking God for 2010 as well and thanks to your blog today, I'm going to go deeper! God has been speaking to me about 2010 and I'm pressing in to find out from His heart what He has in store.

    If I could see you in person, I would throw my arms around you and give you a big hug and say thank you…maybe even sit down over a latte with you. But for now, smooches over the web will have to do.

    Blessings on you, Yuri, and your adorable boys this new year!

    Much love-

    Jaymi

  18. Marissa………. This was amazing. ust as if the Lord was speaking to me. I have been waiting for many things in my life and this coming year I am believing to see many deliverances and loved ones saved. Your story gives me hope. Thanks for the various links u put up…… I just ordered Jentezen Franklin’s book. I heard abt it and always wanted to order it….. but never did…… NOW IS THE TIME!!!!! Im so excited. Thank u soo much.

  19. My love for you grows every time I “hear” your heart speak. Each of these accounts are so poignant and even though I already was committed to fast, I have a renewed desire to be more focused and to really listen to Holy Spirit during this time. Thank you for sharing from your heart!

  20. Oh my gosh…I remember the kidney stone incident! I also remember gathering together in our apartment and praying over the letters that you were sending your friend and witnessing the fruit of those prayers later. I’ll never forget those spiritual lessons I learned living in that apt!
    I agree with someone else who said that was the best thing I’ve read on fasting in a long time. Thanks for sharing your heart!
    xoxo

  21. great read! something about resolving in our hearts that God is good and He has our best interest at heart brings a sister to tears. ha! the least He is, is good! thanks for sharing!

  22. Thanks, Ris! His thread of faithfulness in your life carries so much truth! These words sharpened my ears to his calling to draw me to fast with Him! Thanks for linking your heart with our Father & even laying it out to minister to your heavenly sisters & brothers here!! We all need a break through!! We all need to sit at His feet & let go of our other loves! I don’t think facebook & junk food will miss me anyways!!;) Love always, Sach

  23. Marissa,

    This might be my favorite of your blog posts! So well written and well thought through. I have been talking to my older boys about the 21-day fast and some of the phrases you used and the way you explained things have helped me make it all more understandable and meaningful for them. Great job!

    Blessings,
    Tammy

  24. Marissa,

    Thanks so much for your testimony. It’s very encouraging. I’ve been a Christian for nine years and secretly have always dreaded fasting, looking at it as merely a duty even though when it ended I had deeper revelation and a greater sense of awe for the Lord.

    I’m glad to say that going into 2010 I am excited more than ever before about drawing closer to my Lord. I long for His voice and His touch.

    All those years before I really didn’t get the point in fasting. It’s all about Him and how He wants to pour into our lives. It’s our job to make ourselves available for Him and deny ourselves. What an awesome God that we serve that we can choose to draw closer to Him. His promise is that He will draw closer to us.

    Thanks for sharing!

    -April

  25. SO EXCITED!! So glad that you are stirring us all up for a fast. Nothing is more exhilarating than connecting with God through fasting. It’s the kind of spiritual high that changes your life forever. Your awesome! love you!

  26. This summer a long time friend asked me about fasting- why, its purpose, etc. You answer this so well in your writing. In words that cross the church cultural language. I will pass on this link to her.

    Thanks for a listening heart that shares with others!
    Jackee

  27. As I was thinking about your blog yesterday – and that happened frequently throughout the day – a thought crossed my mind. Your words so eloquently inspired to the works of fasting, to what it brings and how God uses the time, that I completely skipped over such a huge part of your story when I commented…your Grandpa.

    While this part of your life is woven into the bigger picture of fasting, it could have stood as a blog all on its own. How consumingly sweet of the Holy Spirit to tell you in advance of your Grandpa’s passing and give you the opportunity to see him before he went to be with Jesus, and, more importantly, have your salvation question answered so you wouldn’t have to wonder.

    You were given such a priceless gift in that word to your heart, that prompting, that came because of your obedience to listen to God. This is not only a blog about fasting, it’s a real-life example of how much our God thinks of us and the ways He chooses to bless us that could come by none other than Him.

    Still completely reeling from inspiration…

  28. Sooo good! Great stories of His faithfulness and, as always, I love your candid sharing. I am encouraged as we are about to be on the fast as a church family. :)
    many blessings~~

  29. I don’t really believe in “New Years Resolutions.” I think they are kind of lame and juts set you up for failure. With all the hype in the media lately asking all of us “what’s your New Years Resolution?” I vowed this year to not even make one.

    Without any fear of man, I say that I’m bipolar and i hate it. I hate the diagnosis and i feel like it is ruining my life. Coming in the way of my job, finances, marriage, and relationship with others. I’ve pretty much just given up hope. The only thing i really only hope for is the “right” medicine to make things easier.

    Lately people have come into my life and needed help, but i can only do so much because I’m running on empty. My daily walk with God has slowly faded away and my heart has become numb and hardened.

    I need to fast like i need to eat and drink daily. I’ve heard all these stories before, but this blog was anointed. By breaking the vow in my heart i say learning to “fast” is MY New Years Resolution. I will hope and pray for not just the right pill, but a complete healing from my Lover. That my job, finances, marriage, and friendships with align with God’s heart and will for me.

    Thank you, I lover your face off!

  30. Ok, since I’m on vacation, just now got a chance to read this! And I’m honored to be your 30th comment! This one was too perfect for starting the new year! God really reawoken me to fasting when Rebecca told me about the book by Franklin Jentezen. The word of your testimony- so powerful. It’s one thing to tell people what we know or have read about, but when it’s the story of our lives, that’s just powerful! This has encouraged me today that when I get back, to listen to God and find out what fast Hes calling me to…oh, how I liked your liquid one (coffee) until you were rushed to the hospital!!! 2010- Lets Begin! ;p

  31. This post was just what I needed to read! I have always enjoyed fasting but not really understood it this indepth. Your story about your grandpa was amazing!~ I loved it!
    ~Lori
    The Bargain Shopper Lady

  32. This is so timely!! We are gearing up as a church to do this….and I must admit my old walk of religiousness tends to steer me away from things like fasting, I want to do them and see them as acts of Love to my Father and I have been asking Him to show me what that looks like again. He has been faithful in stirring me up and putting those spiritual desires back in my heart and showing me what they should look like. This only fuels me to fast for the right reasons and reminds me of what an amazing God we serve!!! Thank you for always sharing the deepest depths of your heart!!!!

  33. I have been thinking of starting a fast… My kids are having surgery soon, and I feel I need to be prepared to deal with what they are telling me will be a two week recovery. I’m believing for a quick recovery for them and strength from on high to serve them during it. This was a timely post for me today! Thanks! BTW – my hubby and I went to CFNI as well. :)

  34. Another great blog babe. Thanks for taking the time to pour your heart out again.

    Loves ya!

    Yuri

  35. I was so incredible blessed by all the comments and to see God stirring hearts that are hungry for His presence to fast. Getting ready to start fasting together with my husband and our corporate Church body tomorrow and these responses have only added to my expectancy to see God move in our lives in 2010. Thank you for sharing your hearts!
    Great Love!
    ~Ris

  36. Marissa,

    Your Nana will be pleased to read this blog. She cries every night that your grandfather had not been saved before his death. She will be relieved to know the message you received from God while fasting and your grandpa’s last conversation with you before his death. I will read this blog to her tomorrow and have her leave a message and comment on your blog. Glad you called this evening to remind me to read your blog, “A Life That Prays”.
    Many Blessings,
    Mom

  37. Marissa,

    It is so reassuring to hear the message revealed to you in you’re fasting journey about your Grandpa and his salvation. I have been heavy hearted about your Grandfather’s salvation. Your Grandfather never went forward at church to demonstrate his salvation and acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord. I wish he had told me, I had been praying for four years. In his silent way he had accepted the Lord, your story, a “Life That Prays” is so reassuring to me during my mourning for your Grandfather.

    During the past few months your Grandfather was the one who made sure we made it to church, it was getting harder and harder for me to get out of bed and attend church regularly. The roles had changed and he was now the one who was the encourager to get to church on Sunday mornings. God is good and answers steadfast prayer. Thanks for being a prayer warrior and praying for us. Your Mom read your testimony to be and made a copy for me. A heavy burden has been lifted!

    Love

    Your Nana

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