PRAYER, FASTING, & THE 10,000 HOUR RULE
If Misty Edwards was a pop singer she would be the biggest phenomenon in the country. She’s that good. But Misty Edwards doesn’t perform secular music- she’s a worship leader and her albums are praise music- and the music she makes is some of the best in the world.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, has a net worth of $104 billion dollars making him the second wealthiest person on earth. According to Business Insider magazine if the average American spends 1 dollar it’s the equivalent of Bill Gates spending $1.06 million dollars. Last year alone, Bill Gates became $12 billion dollars richer. (https://www.businessinsider.com/how-rich-is-bill-gates-net-worth-mind-blowing-facts-2019-5)
As strange as it might sound, Misty Edwards and Bill Gates have something in common that could affect the way you pray and fast. In fact, just for fun, you can throw the Beatles into the conversation as well.
One of the most interesting authors today is Malcom Gladwell.
He has written 5 books that reached #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list (https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/). My favorite is Outliers which examines the question of why some people are immensely more successful than the average person. One of his answers Gladwell calls “the 10,000 hour rule.” He argues that 10,000 hours of doing a thing repeatedly gives you a competitive edge and makes you a virtual expert in whatever venture you’ve been willing to devote the time .
Gladwell uses the Beatles as an example. When they met as teenagers they were an average amateur group of mostly self taught musicians. What distinguished them was their early, long term engagements in little clubs in Hamburg, Germany. It was there- where they played week after week in all night sessions for more than two years, that the group became the tight unit of performers who went on to become the legends they are today. They played live for more than 10,000 hours.
Likewise, Bill Gates grew up with a father who was heavily involved in the early days of the tech industry (https://www.geekwire.com/2015/life-and-times-of-bill-gates-sr-a-giant-impact-on-technology-philanthropy-and-the-seattle-region/). As a result, Bill Gates has had access to computers since he was 13 years old. We assume that is true of most kids now, but Gates was well ahead of his time. As a result, he spent hours a day learning about computers and eventually founded one of the most successful companies in the world. He had spent 10,000 hours learning about computers before anyone had ever heard his name.
Now, what does any of this have to do with Misty Edwards, or your prayer life? When Misty Edwards was 19 she went to Bible College in Kansas City and at that time could play only 4 chords on the piano. At about that same time the International House of Prayer in Kansas City was starting and needed non-stop worship music playing to support those who came to pray. The little group only had 25 players available to cover 168 hours of non-stop prayer and worship every week. Since Misty Edwards knew some chords, and had grown up singing in church, she spent 6-8 hours a day in the prayer room playing her piano and singing. Soon, the four chords she knew became 8, the 8 became 12, and so on (https://youtu.be/Wf5CoAXnlTE). Today, Misty Edwards is one of the most gifted worship singers with one of the purest sounds in the world. She unknowingly achieved the 10,000 hour rule.
What if you wanted to develop your prayer life beyond the norm? How could you? The answer is arrestingly simple. Pray more. Fast more frequently. Give God more time. Jesus prayed long hours. Luke tells us, “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12).
I’m planning to pray more during this period of 40 DAYS of Prayer and Fasting. I have committed to a plan for prayer which will include getting up earlier every morning. I know exactly which Bible passages I am going to read each day. I have chosen my days of fasting. I have arranged my schedule to allow much more time in prayer than normal. Why? I am planning ahead to give God my best and make the most of this time in our life as a church.
Can we really pray 10,000 hours? If you start young enough, say at age 20, you can pray 30 minutes a day and hit 10,000 hours in prayer by age 80. That’s not a bad way to spend 60 years. If you’re older than 20 you might need to get caught up so you better get started. There’s no better time to begin than now if you want to reach your goals. Just ask Bill Gates or Misty Edwards!