The 21-Day Challenge
March 19, 2006
This morning I preached on “Discovering God’s Will” at the First Baptist Church of Tupelo. I ended the sermon by sharing the following story: My wife and I had lunch with friends who were visiting from a distant city. As we began our meal the thought passed through my mind that the husband looked more relaxed than I had seen him in a long time. I soon discovered the reason for his calm demeanor. He told me about a simple prayer he had been praying at the beginning of each new day. He heard a noted Christian leader suggest using this prayer for 21 days. My friend said that he had tried it and that the prayer had made a profound difference in his life. At that point his wife chimed in to say that she had noticed a drastic difference in him as well. Before he started praying the prayer, he often came home tense over things that had happened to him during the day. But now he comes home relaxed and in a good mood. As I listened, I wondered to myself what kind of magic prayer could make that kind of difference. My friend said that for him the key is to pray the prayer the moment he wakes up—even before he gets out of bed. He even said that he had awakened that morning at 4:30 AM so he prayed the prayer and then went back to sleep.
The prayer itself is the essence of simplicity. It goes like this: “Heavenly Father, you are in charge of everything that will happen to me today–the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the positive and the negative. Please make me thankful for everything that happens to me today. Amen.”
This prayer is powerful because it doesn’t change anything outside of me, but it does change everything inside of me. My circumstances don’t change, but my attitude does. And that’s why my friend looked so relaxed when we ate lunch.
Perhaps you need to take the 21-day challenge. Take that simple prayer and pray it first thing in the morning for the next 21 days and see what happens in your heart.