Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sun Stand Still

Sun Stand Still is the first book by pastor Steven Furtick, and it is subtitled "What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible". Actually, I decided to read this book based on the recommendation of my friend Rob. In the back of my mind though, I was thinking that this book sounded like another cookie-cutter, self-help Christian book by another wanna-be celebrity pastor. Yet by the time I was done reading, I felt a part of my spirit that was once dormant, somehow rekindled. I felt real passion and understanding coursing through me. All of this caught me by surprise given how I initially approached this book.

I have read several books lately whose message is that we should pray to God as if he were a divine genie. "Ask and ye shall receive". If ye aren't receiving, ye aren't praying the right way. This book too is about praying bold, high-stakes, audacious prayers. Finding that Godly spouse, healing for that sick child, making a difference at your job, impacting the world. Praying for the miraculous, the seemingly improbable or impossible, and expecting that God will come through. Furtick refers to these as "sun stand still" prayers. This concept comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua, where Joshua and his army are chasing down the remmants of a scattering enemy as the sun is getting ready to set. If the sun goes down, the enemy will get away and be able to regroup. Joshua prayed to God that the sun would not set so that he could finish the job of destroying the enemy of God's people. This is exactly what God did.

However, as you can imagine, there is more to understand than simply praying big and sitting back and waiting for God to deliver. In James 2:17, the brother of Jesus writes "Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead". In other words, there is more to this than simply having the faith to pray for miracles. Once the prayer escapes our lips, we don't just leave it to God. If He does He does, if He doesn't, oh well. We need to pray and then jump into action to do our part. We need to pray and then do all that we can to prepare. Don't just stand in hope, walk in action.

Furtick also makes it clear that just because we pray and do everything in our power to get ready for God to act, things won't necessarily work out as we might wish. We must understand and embrace the fact that God sometimes lets the sun go down so that he can be our only light. It can also be that even if we are praying and acting according to his will, his timing may be totally incompatible with ours. Sometimes, though, God's greatest gifts to us are unanswered prayers.