This morning we received an email from one new club member, Kristin. Here’s a snippet:
Today is the second day for me in the 5 AM Club. By God’s grace, I have not hit the snooze yet, and that is a HUGE deal for me…seriously. I was so excited about this club that I sent out the idea to the women at our church. As of now, we have 17 college girls that are joining the club and waking up early to meet with Jesus. Praise God! It’s so encouraging to know that there are women all over the place fighting against laziness and pursuing holiness. Thanks SO much for initiating this club!
“Fighting laziness and pursuing holiness” might seem to be getting harder as the week goes on. The snooze button never looked so inviting as it did this morning!
We’re not sleep experts, but in our experience, you’re at the most difficult point right now. The initial adrenaline has worn off and your body is rebelling against the change. But our experience (again, we’re no experts) is that if you push through, it will get easier soon. Your body will adjust to the new routine. In the meantime, we recommend an extra long nap or an early bedtime!
But just because rising early (or fasting) is hard, doesn’t mean we can’t do it or that it isn’t worth it. J. Alec Motyer explains in his comments on Philippians. 1:9-11 Read it carefully. Then read it again:
“And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
“Our obedience, discipline and hard graft are not insignificant or optional. On the contrary, they are the God-intended context for growth. But something else energizes the growth till the fruit is ready for harvest: all is done through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (verse 11)….In this setting the daily task of obedience remains hard, but not fruitless. We are often neglectful, frequently failing, ever inadequate; yet the end is secure, for God is at work.”
Getting up early to sit at Jesus’ feet is hard, but not fruitless. We may fail, but the end is secure: God is at work. So let’s persevere in this “context for growth” to the glory and praise of His name!
So it’s day three of the 28-day challenge. How’s it going? Are you on your third cup of coffee and thinking about getting an espresso machine? Is your stomach complaining so loudly you can hardly hear yourself pray?
Do you wonder how you can keep this up for 28 days, much less a lifetime?
John Piper explains how, in his comments on 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12:
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul prays for us—and I pray for you even as I write this—that God will “fulfill every resolve for good” that we have. This means that it is good to have resolves. God approves of it. It also means that our resolving is important, but that God’s enabling us to “fulfill” the resolves is crucial. Paul wouldn’t pray if God’s help weren’t needed. “The heart of man plans [resolves!] his way, but the Lord establishes [fulfills!] his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
But it matters how we resolve. When Paul says, “every resolve for good and every work of faith,” he is not describing two different acts. He is describing one act in two ways. It is a “resolve for good” because we will it. It is a “work of faith” because we depend on Jesus to give us power to fulfill it. That’s how we resolve—by faith in Jesus.
So Paul says that the fulfilling of the resolve is “by his power.” That’s what we are depending on. That’s what we are looking for when we resolve. We are looking to Jesus who promised to be with us and help us. “I know that through . . . the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19).
We are praying for YOU that God will fulfill these resolves for good and that you would depend upon Jesus’ power to do them. So, I guess we know how things will turn out. We’re confident that, by His power, you can stay in the clubs!
When we called each other at 4:45 am yesterday morning to prepare to open the clubs, we didn’t know what to expect. “What if it flops and no one signs up?” we wondered.
“And why do we always launch new stuff so early?” Janelle asked in her groggy morning voice (I wish you could hear what she sounds like at 5 am!). No one answered her.
I mean, if you didn’t know better, you might think we were trying to sabotage our own blog. Why else would we start two clubs with such unappealing membership requirements as less sleep and less food, and then kick them off at 5 O’Clock in the morning?
But you all began to sign up before 5 O’Clock! We tried to keep pace—accepting each request as it came in; but we soon fell hopelessly behind and the site was so overwhelmed that we could no longer access the management page. By late afternoon our site designer came to the rescue, and accepted your requests in one large batch. We are working hard this morning to add the newest members.
As of right now, The 5 O’Clock Club has over 600 members and The Fam Club has over 250—and both are growing! (By the way, you’ll notice the names are sorted alphabetically, but we have a record of the order of signup and will be contacting the Starbucks card winners shortly.)
What’s exciting to us is not that we have a lot of names on our rolls, it’s what your eagerness to join these clubs represents—your hunger for God’s Word, your passion to grow in prayer, your longing to see the lost sinners in your family come to Christ, your awareness of your desperate need for God’s grace, your determination to sit at Jesus’ feet each morning.
These themes echoed throughout your comments. We wish we could post them all here, but our site—already creaking under the heavy load of traffic—simply doesn’t have the space. But here’s how a few of our fellow club members answered the questions:
“Why do you want to join The 5 O’Clock Club?”
To join women from around the world in pursuing godliness in this discipline of rising early and sitting at His feet.
To help me get a spiritually healthy habit started and doing it together makes it that much sweeter
I have three little ones who seem to be conspiring to wreck my quiet time in the mornings: a nursing baby, who wakes up at a different time each day, and two preschoolers who are making a rocky transition to sharing a room. I want to get up earlier so that I will be able to meet with God for a few minutes, at least, BEFORE I begin nursing the baby and intervening in the hey-get-out-of-my-bed arguments.
By God’s mercies & grace, your blog has been a means of grace to help me start & spur me to seek the Lord daily 1st thing in the morning… ever since then, (it’s been 1 year & 7 months already!), I’ve been enabled to enjoy doing it every morning. Praise God!
My sweet 5 AM friend Valerie and I have been alternating calling each other each week since the beginning of January to wake up and it has blessed us so much to be in the Word first thing each morning. It has definitely gotten easier and look forward to see how the Lord will continue to use it for His glory in our lives.
My husband and I have been waking together at 5 for about 2 years now. My parents made this a regular practice as well. It has been such a blessing to us in our spiritual growth as individuals as well as a couple. We want our boys to benefit from this practice as well.
I am the wife of one and the mother of ten children- ages 10 mo. - 10yrs. The Lord has been urging me to rise early for some time. This sounded like a beautiful way to encourage me to do just that. My godly mother was always such an example and encouragement in my life to get up early to spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. Since she has gone to be with the Lord, it has been a battle to get up early with consistency. Thank you for this encouragement. God bless you all.
Because I think its good reading the Bible and I’m doing it with my Mum! (I’m seven years old)
My mom asked me to join the club along with my sister, aunts, and grandmother. I already spend time with God, but I would like to be more deliberate in my time with Him. I also think it would be great to do this together as a family.
I have three little kids- 4, 2 and 10 months. I will not get a moment to read the Bible if I don’t get up early! I have been part of the “6 o’clock club” of my own since I read your book “Shopping for time.” I used to think I would get a time to read the Bible during the day, but day after day I would not get to it, promising my self and God I WOULD do it tomorrow for sure. Something had to change. When I started getting up before my kids and enforcing the “don’t get up before 7am” rule for my early riser my bible reading got consistent and profitable! It has been a blessing ever since! For the first few months my sister called me every morning. Now my husband and I wake up together so it is easier to get up! It is my favorite part of the day. Thanks for the encouragement on this blog and for us moms to make time with the Lord.
For the encouragement of knowing others are waking up at the same crazy time that I am
“Why do you want to join The FAM Club?”
I’m wanting to enter for my four grandchildren!
To lock arms with others that are crying out to the Lord on behalf of family members.
God has called us to adoption so we have a lot of kids. Some of our kids come with special needs and also some pretty significant scars, some visible and some invisible. I want to pray for them that God will do some amazing work in their hearts that will show His glory and His work in their lives that they will be an amazing testimony of God’s grace and mercy.
I am the first Christian in my immediate and extended family that I know of and long for the rest of my family - mom, dad, brother, uncles, aunts, etc - to know Jesus in a real way!
I would desire not much more in life than to see my siblings..[five younger brothers] saved by the Lord Jesus in my lifetime
How important my role is as a mother to do everything I can to win my children’s hearts to Christ. I teach them, train them, and pray for them, but have not fasted for them. The stories that you have posted have struck deep, and what better what to get on my knees for my girls than with fasting. I hope I can keep this up until all my children are saved, and then fast for their children… so until the day I die!
My husband is not saved. We have 5 children ranging in age from 2 years old to 20 years of age. Obviously the little ones haven’t received salvation but neither have the big boys. I would love to take a day and a meal a week and spend it in prayer for them. (If not more!) My greatest hope and prayer is one day my whole family can share a love of Christ together.
words cant even begin to explain what something like this means…I just want to SEE GOD WORK in the LIVE OF THOSE I LOVE!!!!
My mother passed away in August and my father was just recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. My mother had made a profession of faith, but my father never has…I want to truly commit to praying for his and my brother’s salvation.
What a joy, honor, privilege, and blessing to be able to fast and pray for my family, my church, Sovereign Grace, and other needs I hear about. I agree with David Brainerd who wrote: “Blessed be God that I may pray.”! Thanks you four for providing this opportunity to pray and fast with and for others!
To pray for my mom.
I have been concerned about my younger brother’s salvation. He is a young teen that is in a Christian home, but I don’t see a heart that yearns for God. I have prayed for him off and on, but now I want to make the commitment to fast and pray before the Lord for him.
My immediate family has been awakened to the beauty and delight of God in Christ, but our relatives are still far off and constantly mock and ridicule us. I LONG for them to love the light and be saved! This will help me to regularly pray for them - especially my Gram, whom I love dearly.
UPDATE, 9:00 am: Wow! We’re thrilled that so many of you are joining the clubs! Due to the overwhelming traffic on our site, we’ve experienced a few technical glitches. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of entries are showing up at the moment. We’re so sorry! But signup is working and we are receiving all registrations. We’re seeking to resolve the problem and hope to have it fixed very soon; so check back to find your name in the order it was received. And if you won a Starbucks card, we’ll contact you shortly via email!
It’s club day, girls—let the fun begin! Check out our new clubs page and officially become a member of The 5 O’Clock Club and The FAM Club. You can share a testimony and read the testimonies of others. You can also read past posts on both clubs and see which of your friends have joined. And if you are one of the first 28 people to join (after the four of us) or in the 28th slot after that, we’ll send you a Starbucks card.
Our hope and prayer is that these clubs encourage you as you seek to rise early to meet with God and pray for those you love!
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worth of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11
Janelle for the girltalkers
So, Monday’s the big day. Club signup will begin at 5 O’Clock am (EST) and if you’re taking the 28-day challenge, be sure to set your alarm (2 or 3 if need be) for whatever early time you want to get up! The way we figure it, after 28 days of rising early or 4 weeks of fasting once a week, these disciplines will be well-worn habits.
And join with your friends—that’s how we got started. Mom used to call the three of us each morning to wake us up; and we all used to fast on the same day of the week as well. As I poured my second cup of coffee or tried to ignore my growling stomach, it was nice to know my mom and sisters were too. And excuses don’t sound so noble when you tell a friend. So, sign up for the clubs together and hold each other accountable.
OK, we said there would be a prize for the first 28 people (not counting us) and every 28th person after that. You will each win a $5 Starbucks card!
Finally, to the funnies. We first posted this cute story after our initial FAM Club posts. It still makes me smile. Renee wrote in:
Just wanted to share a funny….now it is….. story about a friend who was fasting. I saw my friend in church. His face was scratched and had brushburns, bruises, scrapes, like when my son fell off his bike. I asked what happened and he said he was fasting and passed out!!
So much for trying not to have a disfigured face, and then everyone knows what you were doing…..
See you Monday, bright and early!
Nicole for the girls
First, to clarify: sign up for the clubs begins on Monday, along with the 28-day challenge. Monday morning we will direct you to a new page on the site with a sign-up form and all the information. Of course you can sign up for the clubs any day after Monday as well. Until then, we hope you will review our posts on The 5 O’Clock Club and The FAM Club and prayerfully consider joining one or both come Monday.
The FAM Club is all about praying and fasting one meal a week for the salvation of family members—whether they be children, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews. To encourage your participation, we have two stories to share with you. The first we received just the other day from Rachel:
My mom was a great mom. Loved God, her husband & her 4 kids. God in His wisdom took her home sooner than anyone would have expected, instantly in a car accident during my freshman year of college (1996). She was 44. I was 18. At her funeral service, several ladies contributed to her eulogy, most of the things they shared to honor her I already knew being her daughter. I was surprised when a close friend who lived with us shared something none of us kids ever knew! I’ll spare the long details of how our houseguest discovered the secret, but my Mom spent every Monday lunch for years fasting & praying for us kids & my dad. Once the friend discovered Mom’s secret, she was sworn to secrecy too. It was the best inheritance anyone could have handed me at her funeral. Many times as I see God at work in my life and my siblings, I wonder how many prayers my Mom didn’t know the answers to but prayed anyway and I am so glad she served us in that way! I can’t wait to “catch up” with her on the details!
What a legacy this godly mother left for her children! Rachel, thank you so much for sharing her story with us. I want to follow her example!
And I want to emulate the faith and faithful prayers of this mother, who prayed and fasted for her daughters’ salvation:
In a seaport town of New England lived a pious mother of six daughters. At the age of sixty, she had been for many years subject to disease and infirmity, which confined her to her house, and almost to her room. In an interview one day with a friend, she said—“I had not for many years enjoyed the pleasure of going to the house of God with his people, and taking sweet counsel with them. But I have another source of grief greater than this—one that weighs down my spirits day and night! while disease and pain bear my body toward the grave.” Her friend tenderly inquired the cause of this peculiar grief. She replied, “I have six daughters; two are married and live near me, and four are with me; but not one of them gives any evidence of piety. I am alone. I have no one for a Christian companion. O that even one of them were pious, that I might walk alone no longer.” Such was her language. Yet she seemed submissive to the will of God, whatever it might be, having strong confidence, that in his own good time, he would answer her daily prayers, and in a way which would best advance his glory.
Not long after the above interview, a revival of religion commenced in the town in which she lived. Among the first subjects of this work were four of her daughters. A fifth was soon added to their number, but the other, the eldest, remained unmoved. One day one of the young converts proposed to her mother and her converted sisters to observe a day of fasting and prayer for the sister who remained so insensible. The agreement was made, and a day observed. Of this the subject of their prayers had no knowledge. But on the same day, while engaged in her domestic concerns at home, her mind was solemnly arrested; and she was soon added to the Christian sisterhood.
The praying mother lived a few years to enjoy their Christian society. They surrounded her dying bed, received her last blessing, and unitedly commended her spirit to God.
Our hope and prayer for The FAM Club is that God would mercifully grant us many such testimonies of His saving power in the lives of family members. We hope you will join us!
To cap off our sitting series, we’re excited to announce a new feature here at girltalk. Next Monday, February 1, we will officially launch our two clubs: The 5 O’Clock Club and The FAM Club.
The 5 O’Clock Club is for those who want to rise early (it doesn’t have to be 5 O’clock, that’s just the name of the club) to meet with God.
The FAM Club (Fast A Meal) is for those who want to fast one meal a week to pray for a family member’s salvation.
You will have the chance to put your name on the rolls, to share testimonies, and to read about God’s grace through these spiritual disciplines. We hope these clubs will provide encouragement and accountability to keep sitting at Jesus’ feet long after the sitting series is over.
Many of you are long-time members of one or both of these clubs. Or maybe you’ve let your “membership” lapse. Some of you have never heard of these clubs! But all of us need reminding and refreshing. So for the next few days we’re going to post information, encouragement, and the stories of two women who experienced the grace of God to rise early and to pray eagerly for unsaved family members. As you read, we hope you’ll prayerfully consider joining one or both of our clubs.
Next Monday we’re going to kick things off with a 28-day challenge, one that we will take ourselves: to rise early and/or fast one meal a week for the entire month of February.
You don’t have to take the 28-day challenge to join our clubs, but we hope it will help all of us—by God’s grace!—turn a good intention into a consistent practice. We’ll try and provide encouragement along the way and you can do the same for us through your testimonies.
And of course there will be fabulous prizes! The first 28 people to join each club and every 28th person after that will receive a prize.
So grab your mom, sisters, cousins, and friends and get them to join our clubs with you (oh, and did I mention they are free?).
Together, let’s rise early to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen eagerly to his teaching. And let’s bring unsaved family members before His throne of grace.
(P.S. - Tomorrow we’ll post the Pick One Spot contest winners. Yep, you read that right: We couldn’t pick just one!)
Today concludes our series of FAM Club posts. But The FAM Club has only just begun. How excited we are that so many of you are eager to join us in fasting at least one meal a week for the purpose of praying for members of your family! We look forward to hearing testimonies of prayers answered, and God’s love and faithfulness on full display.
We leave you with selections from a Valley of Vision prayer that express the heart and desire behind the FAM Club: that our Savior be glorified in our lives and in the lives of our family members.
“O God, I cannot endure to see the destruction of my kindred.
Let those that are united to me in tender ties
be precious in thy sight and devoted to thy glory….
Let not those of my family who are amiable, moral, attractive,
fall short of heaven at last;
Grant that the promising appearances of a tender conscience,
soft heart, the alarms and delights of thy Word,
be not finally blotted out,
but bring forth judgment unto victory in all whom I love.”
The most famous of all praying mothers is probably Monica, the mother of Augustine. She has encouraged women for centuries to persevere in praying for their children, and her example can inspire us today as we pray for our family members. Jabez Burns (in the book Mom is reading, Mothers of the Wise and Good) quotes Augustine who relates the nature of his mother’s persistent prayers:
“While I was yet walking in sin, often attempting to rise, and sinking still deeper, my dear mother, in vigorous hope, persisted in earnest prayer for me. I remember also, that she entreated a certain bishop to undertake to reason me out of my errors. ‘Your son,’ says he, ‘is too much elated at present, and carried away with the pleasing novelties of his opinion, to regard any argument. Let him alone, only continue praying to the Lord for him; in the course of his study he will discover his error.’ All this satisfied not my anxious parent; with floods of tears she still persisted in her request, till a little out of patience, with her importunity, he said, ‘Be gone, good woman, it is impossible that the child of such tears should perish.’”
Augustine did repent and put his trust in Christ at the age of 32. His conversion was yet another monument to the faithfulness of God in answering a persistent mother’s prayers.
The FAM Club is all about fasting for the purpose of praying for our family.
The state of our family members’ souls before God should drive us to prayer and fasting. We don’t fast and pray so our kids will get better grades or win the big game on Saturday night. We don’t intercede merely so our parents will have a plush retirement or our siblings will succeed in their careers or our cousin will get married.
Our concern is much deeper. Our requests far greater. We beseech God to protect our family members from worldliness, or to rescue them from sin’s entanglement. We ask God to give them an undying love and passion for the Savior. We pray that God would strengthen their faith and uphold them in the midst of trials.
We long—above all else—that our unsaved family members would repent and believe in Jesus Christ; that they would know Him and experience eternal life.
This quote by Charles Bridges aptly expresses both our fervent hopes and the faith with which we ought to pray. Even though it was written to parents, it applies no matter which family member you are praying for:
But do we mourn over the evil of our child, especially when tracing it to its original source? Oh! let it be our stimulus to earnest and persevering prayer, and to the diligent use of the appointed means for that entire change of heart and nature, which we so intensely desire….The answer may be delayed. But “though it tarry, wait for it. For at the end it shall come; it shall not tarry.” Meanwhile “live by faith” (Heb. 2: 3, 4); work in faith. Never forget that we serve “the God of Hope.” Despair not of his grace. Doubt not his faithfulness. Hold on in active energy and patient hope. The tears of despondency shall be changed into tears of joy, giving a happy glow of warmth to every tender remonstrance, and animating every prudential effort….“The end of the Lord” will put unbelief to shame. (James 5:11.)
Whether or not you’ve been praying for a family member for many years or only just begun, we must “hold on in active energy and patient hope.” We must faithfully and earnestly preach the gospel to unsaved family members. We must encourage and correct those who are wayward. But we must always pray with confidence in the goodness of our God, for “‘The end of the Lord’” will put unbelief to shame.”