Bible studies for writers

Bible studies for writers | Ezra 8

“So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” Gosh, this verse got my attention today. I was thinking about Ezra and the Israelites and their situation and comparing their actions and attitudes to today’s environment, or at least parts of it. I think a lot of people might not see completely what this verse says. I know if it hadn’t stood out to me today, I probably would have read it like … “So we … prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” Sometimes, we put a lot of pressure on God just to automatically do the right thing. For instance, and I’ve said it myself, when faced with a challenge, we’ll declare, “Our God is bigger than this. He’s got this.” And we go on about our daily lives proclaiming a faith for which we have no intention of sacrificing anything … or even sharing with others when the outcome goes in our favor. We just simply say, “Our God takes care of us.” I talked about my Twitter feed a few posts back and the men and women of faith I follow who are just completely going at it. And the comments … good grief. I had to give it a rest for a few days because the last time I got on there, several pastors were in, what I’m calling “the mask fight,” and it was brutal. It was the most unloving, pitiful show of “Christianity” I’ve seen in a long while. And I’m here to say, I’m not having it. At. All. Y’all want to feud and fight and decide who’s right and wrong and better and less sinful and more “Christian” than whoever, you go right on ahead. There is a time and a place and a season to stand up for things, yes. I’m not saying that. And I truly believe social media is an excellent platform for a million things, but bashing each other’s values and souls is not one of them. And I guess that’s why verse 23 of this chapter stood out so much to me today because I realized that sometimes we ask God for things and just assume that we are superior enough in his good graces that He is just gonna answer. That He is just going to protect us. That He will just show up. Because we, in our self-deemed righteousness and holiness and goodness and tight-knit relationship with God, asked him to. Who are we to cop this attitude? Who are we to assume God is “just gonna” because “we” prayed for it. God is GOOD to answer prayers when we are unworthy. Oh, yes, He is. But I truly believe He also wants to see something from us, a show of gratefulness, a heartfelt thank you, a solid minute in time dedicated to Him and only Him with zero distractions. Not just a random proclamation of, “Our God is number one and everyone else stinks” on our social media pages. Now, let’s add back in to the verse what we took out above: “ … we fasted and earnestly prayed … “ See the difference? See the commitment? See the relationship? Do you see it in yourself?

Writing prompt: fasting and earnestly praying

There is a huge difference between praying and earnestly praying. I’m not saying plain ol’ praying is bad. I’m just saying God loves when we pray in earnest. It means we are taking some 1:1 time with Him. We are choosing to consult Him and only Him. We are coming to Him for our needs and wants, and He so loves when we do that. Spend some time writing to God today. If you’re a person who fasts, maybe you can fast something for today. Just grow in your relationship with God today. Don’t take Him for granted.

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