When the Bluemel family dropped Tanner off at Grand Canyon University just a few years ago I remember their expectation was to miss him terribly, but that was overwhelmed by their excitement for his first adult adventure. Their first born, full of optimism and promise for the years ahead and the experiences college life would bring must have flooded their imaginations. We all missed seeing Tanner on stage during that fall but rested in the joy that he was loving college and was actively pursuing a deepening heart for God’s Kingdom using the gifts given to him.
The following spring Tanner experienced his first seizure.
Tanner had no pre-existing health issues, no history of seizures, and zero indication of where these were coming from. In the nearly two years since that time the seizures have continued; in fact, by all measures they have worsened.
Through the attentiveness of Michelle Nation and Calvin Lamb sensing the Spirit nudge them to increase the intensity of our collective prayers, God birthed a vision for the Disciples community to enter a season of fasting and prayer. We invite you to join with the leadership for a five day fast that will culminate with the leadership team anointing Tanner with oil and praying over him in person on Saturday August 15th. Please begin, if you have not already, to ask God what he would have you to fast from for these five days leading up to our in-person visit to pray over and for Tanner.
A Word on Fasting
For some in our Disciples community there may be confusion or curiosity on fasting. For others it may simply be a brand-new concept. This is wonderful! The Scriptures are chock full of stories of the people of God temporarily going without food in order to cry out to God in prayer, often coupled with mourning. Esther asked her friends to fast for three days on her behalf before an important meeting (Esther 4). Daniel fasted meat, wine, and lotion (what, really?) for three weeks as a practice of mourning, after which a breakthrough vision (Daniel 10) from God came to him. Joel, the prophet, relayed God’s call to his people (Joel 2) to “return to Him with their whole hearts, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” And in the Book of Acts, the apostles fasted and prayed before sending out Barnabas and Saul on the first of their three missionary journeys in Acts 13. When something matters deeply to one in the faith family, fasting and prayer is appropriate for all. After all, this is not an individual faith we live; Christianity was only ever intended to be a communal life.
Anytime we deny our bodies what they want, we align ourselves in the physical realm with the desperation and need we sense in the spiritual realm. Something shifts in the atmosphere when we force our physical experience to mirror our supernatural desperation. It comes from the deep belief that we are not merely physical beings experiencing occasional supernatural encounters. We are in fact, supernatural beings living a temporary physical experience. Paul reminds us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against evil rulers and authorities, mighty powers, and evil spirits in a dark unseen world (Ephesians 6:12). Fasting and prayer realigns our souls with the rule and reign of God in our midst.
A Word on Healing Ministry
Since last Sunday’s livestream broadcast there have been a few inquiries about this subject of healing. Of course, the ministry of Jesus is full of healings. Pastor Dan referenced Mark 9 and the inability of his disciples to bring healing to a boy. Jesus responds, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
Healing sits at the heart of God’s reconciling work of new creation. Whether healing from an evil spirit, or in this case, debilitating seizures, God is at work. In this very moment God is working to restore every bit of broken creation back to himself. To restore Eden. We fast, we pray for healing as an act of love and community with a family we love. We also pray and fast as a declaration to God that we desire to cooperate with his work to restore all of creation back to his original design of beauty, peace, and joy.
This is God’s work, not ours. For those who have experienced the abhorrent manipulations from churches in their past that would accuse the ill of having too little faith or not praying hard enough, we rebuke this perspective. This is God’s world and, in his timing, we have confidence that all of creation will be offered complete healing. Our thoughts are not his nor our ways his ways. Our prayer and fasting aligns us with him, not him with us. But I’d be lying if I said there was not a rising expectancy in us that our prayers move the heart of God. After all, some things are only cast out in prayer.
We fast with desperation
We pray with expectation
We wait with confidence trusting God’s goodness is running after us all, not the least of these is Tanner.
Back to Tanner
For five days, Monday August 10th through Friday August 14th, we are inviting the entire community of Disciples Church to join in unity around a fast from something that will serve as a depravation of physical need in order to align our hearts with the spiritual desperation we feel for Tanner’s healing from seizures. We want to have God’s heart on this, knowing our desires are finite and our visions are small.
And to be clear, we will arrive at the Bluemel home on Saturday August 15th as a leadership team believing for healing in Tanner’s body from seizures. We are crying out to God to heal him to the Glory of the father, because of the blood of Jesus, in the power of the Spirit. And candidly, for the encouragement of the church!
Ways to Get Involved
- Choose what you will fast from and using the form below let us know that you are fasting with us. Then fast Monday Aug 10-Friday Aug 15. We will all break our fast on Saturday August 15th.
- Send a short (1-minute max) video of encouragement for Tanner to 916-850-5655 by August 13. We will compile the videos for Tanner to watch on the 15th.