Many would argue that making the sun stand still is an impossible feat, but believers in God know that He is all powerful and that nothing is impossible for Him. Furtick argues that God has a plan for all of us, and that if we are bold enough to ask, and faithful enough to follow, that God will use us to accomplish impossible things for His glory.
I enjoyed the book, and I think that there is a lot that can be taken away from it. The biggest thing that spoke to me is Furtick's "formula" for a "Sun Stand Still" prayer. Basically there are five steps:
1. Activate Your Audacious Faith
Furtick says that activating your audacious faith starts with designing a "Page 23" vision for your life. This involves accepting two basic truths: God is good and God is strong. He has called each of us to a purpose and step one is all about discovering what the calling on our lives is and trusting in God to fulfill that purpose.
2. Approach God with Boldness
In this step, Furtick says to "build a case" for your Page 23 vision. This means that you make your request of God based on his proven character, promises in the Word, and his actions in the past. I found this step to be rather interesting, because it is directly tied to two areas of my faith that I struggle with: prayer and trust.
Confession 1: I'm not a big prayer, by which I mean it is not my "go to" in times of need. Don't get me wrong, I pray, but not as often as I should and probably not in the way I should either. As I thought about it, I realized that the majority of my prayers where really just generalized requests for blessings. Not that there is anything wrong with these types of prayers, but when I read this section of the book, I felt challenged to reconsider how I pray. In times of crisis, my first thought is to compile the evidence and make a list of possible solutions with their pros and cons. I don't usually turn to prayer (a.k.a. God) first. I'm too used to trying to go my own way and not relaying on others to fix my problems. When I do pray, I also don't often back my prayers up with scripture or examples. I like the idea of this, because when you stop to consider who God is, what He has promised, and what He has done for you or others in the past, it makes my current prayer seem a lot less impossible.
Confession 2: I sometimes struggle with faith because it requires trust, and trust is not something that comes naturally to me. Basing your prayers on the character, promises, and actions of God, makes trusting that God will deliver easier. If He promised it, did it in the past, or did it for someone else, why wouldn't He, if it is part of His purpose, do it for me? For me, adding this element to a prayer gives it more weight, a foundation, and makes it feels less like just a shout into the void.
3. Ask Specifically for What is Humanly Impossible
This step also spoke to me strongly. Another confession: I consider myself an analytical thinker (probably too much at times). When I am faced with a challenge or problem, I take the time to think through all the information available to me. I consider the pros and cons of each option. I seek out the advise of others. I sometime agonize over choosing the right option. Decision making is hard for me, but once the decision is made, I generally have no trouble following through with it because I have done my due diligence.
This is why I like this step. Being specific forces you to really think about what it is that you are praying for. It makes you consider what you really what and what your motives are behind the prayer. It also forces you to consider the consequences (both good and bad) of what you are praying for. What is considered "humanly impossible" will be different for each person, but taking the time to consider what we are praying for is important and not something that I really considered before reading this book.
4. Advance Toward the Answer
This is perhaps one of the biggest challenges when it comes to prayer, and I confess that I have been guilty of it too. We pray for something and then we sit there and wait for God to deliver. Pastor Furtick argues that having audacious faith is not a passive activity, instead you have to "push while you pray." In other words, at the same time you are praying for impossible things, you need to be taking steps toward your Page 23 vision. Just standing still is not enough. If you move forward, God will put opportunities in your path and remove obstacles, but only if you are willing to move. I found this to be an intriguing idea, especially since I have always been taught that prayer is "passive," that we should "wait on the Lord." I found it interesting that we can still "wait on the Lord" and be active at the same time. Joshua prays for God to make the sun stand still, but he also marches all night long with his troops to the top of the cliff. He was not passive while he waited for God to deliver on his promise.
5. Give God All the Glory
Perhaps the most important step is this one, but again, it's also one that is overlooked often, especially in our culture, which values the individual above all else. Pastor Furtick reminds us that it is important to praise God not only at the end of our journey, but along the way too. There is nothing that we can accomplish without God, because everything we are and everything we have comes from Him.
Overall, the message of this book is inspiring and Pastor Furtick lays out some practical steps that can be applied. I think it's worth the read, especially if you want a new perspective on prayer and faith.