What if: every day, for thirty days, I pray and ask God to surprise me? ‘Surprise Me,. God.’ Nothing more, nothing less. Three words. Not asking for something in particular. Not giving him my list. Not presenting my agenda. Just inviting him to barge into my life in any old way he pleases – to crash into the busyness of my schedule and mess with it.
Then, what if: every day I record my thoughts and activities? All the twists and turns that give shape to the month. I’ll look for when, where, and how God steps into my world in a practical, everyman sort of way, and then I’ll transfer it all onto my hard drive. I suspect this won’t be a collection of ‘highlight’ stories (TV tales of only the positively answered prayers that seem out of context and too good to be believed), but rather a measure of ‘reality spirituality.’ I suspect it will include stories of seemingly unanswered prayers as well. Maybe the surprise will be that on many days no sugarcoated coincidences aligned at all – the day headed south and just kept going. Maybe the surprise will be in how I handle that, or don’t handle it. Maybe the surprises will be more internal than external. Maybe the sea will part, the rod will bud, and the sky will rain biscuits. Maybe not.
I have no idea what those ‘maybes’ will look like – except that I expect they won’t be what I expect. Today there is no story. But come Monday, the experiment begins. Thirty days from now I’ll be done. The book of stories will have been written, assisted by the Surprise-Meister. All the ‘aha’ moments will be in the bag; the good, the bad and probably the odd as well.
I’m hoping it will be a tapestry that blends my physical , emotional and spiritual worlds. I’m hoping it will feel real and honest. I’m hoping it won’t feel like on of those happily-ever-after dimple-grinned Christian tomes that smack of well-intentioned inauthenticity. I’m hoping it will look like thirty days in the life of a regular guy who embarked on a terribly irregular experiment.
I’m not sure exactly why I’m doing this, except that I feel the need to stir the pot of my personal suburban faith.
From the Introduction to Surprise Me – a 30-day faith experiment, published by Navpress, 2005