We wrapped up the series Circles and the 21 Day Daniel Fast this past weekend. What an incredible experience! I learned so many valuable lessons about myself, my church, and God’s faithfulness. Mark Batterson says in his book The Circle Maker, “Praying hard is praying when it is hard to pray.” I added my spin to that saying, “Learning to pray hard comes when we are disciplined to pray even when it is hard, even when we don’t feel like it, even when we don’t want to.” It is so ironic how God has allowed me to live out the biblical principles I teach in my sermons at City on a Hill Church. This past Friday I was tired and hungry. I have learned the H.A.L.T. lesson a couple years ago from a friend of mine. Don’t make any decisions when you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. I’m glad I pulled that up from the recesses of my mind and someone else reminded me of it a few weeks ago in an email. God knows just what we need and will bring it back to our memory just at the right time. Anyway, it was Friday my usual Sabbath day I spend in prayer. Well I didn’t feel like praying at all. I didn’t want to pray. My want to was busted! I didn’t want to do anything. Luckily I have a workout partner that I committed to for a work out so I fulfilled my commitment and had a decent workout. Didn’t want to but I did. Afterwards I didn’t want to go to Fort DeSoto and pray. I just didn’t want to which is totally unusual. I usually always look forward to my time with Jesus. I was tired, hungry, feeling lonely and a little bit angry. I had all of the symptoms for making a bad decision. But I believe in being a man of my word. I really strongly desire to see God working in my life, my family, my church and this city so even though I didn’t want to I went. My prayer time started out like this, “Well God I really don’t want to be here today, but I guess you already know that. I am going to practice the discipline of prayer right now and trust you with the rest so here it goes.” Literally that is how it started, two hours later I was still going strong! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even want to be there now I didn’t want to leave. In the middle of that prayer time God spoke to me clearly. You see I have had an addiction to Diet Pepsi I couldn’t break. Correction I didn’t want to break. All my life I have struggled with food addiction, not to goof healthy foods but to bad foods. In the middle of my prayer God spoke to me in my spirit and said, “Hey Mike when is the last time you had a Diet Pepsi?” I answered, “January 8 at 5:55 pm.” The Spirit replied, “Your devotion to me is stronger than your addiction.” I was totally floored by this revelation. Then I heard in my spirit, “Hey Mike when is the last time you had sugar, salt, cheese, eggs and meat?” I replied, “Lord you know none of that has touched my lips since January 8.” The Spirit replied, “Your devotion to me is stronger than your addiction.” I just began to worship and praise God thanking Him for this experience and calling me to this fast. I didn’t want to but God requested and I answered. Sometimes we have to push through things that we don’t want to do to see the things that we do want to see. Sometimes we have to do things that we don’t want to do to get to do the things that we do want to. I didn’t want to wait seven years to pastor a church but I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. I always thought that I would pastor an established church I didn’t want to take the long, hard road of planting a church from the ground up but it has been the most incredible faith filled, powerful, rewarding and challenging adventure of my life and I thank God everyday for calling to me to it. A lot of times I don’t want to go to the gym, but I want to have a long vibrant healthy life. Many times I don’t want to bring correction to people, but as a shepherd and leader I must if I truly love them. Life is filled with want to’ and don’t want to’s our job is to be obedient and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit even if we don’y want to. I would have missed that special revelation that was just for me if I did want I wanted to which was waller on the couch. Learning to pray and living a life of faith will require us to do things that we don’t want to do to get to do and see things that we do. Learning to pray and fast when we don’t want to will teach us what it is to truly pray and seek God’s face. Praying and living a life of faith in adversity when we don’t want to will mold and shape us into the people God has called us to be. Praying and living a life of faith when we don’t to will release miracles in our lives and the lives of others. Ask yourself today, What good thing don’t I want to do? What is God asking me to do that I don’t want to do? Now ask yourself why? Why don’t I want to? Perhaps it is thing that will give you your greatest breakthrough and you are one prayer away. Perhaps it is time to change our perspective. Even if we don’t want to, we get to! We get to pray to a God who hears. We get to openly go to a house of worship without persecution. We get to offer a hand up to our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know it is easier said than done, but how do you climb the highest mountain? One steps at a time. How do you learn to hard pray? One prayer at a time even when you don’t want to. How do we learn to live a life of faith? One day at a time by the grace of God. Be encouraged!