3 Questions: Mark Batterson

The pastor and best-selling author discusses how habits impact our spiritual life, the power of prayer and the importance of forgiveness.

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Posted in , Jul 29, 2021

Pastor and best-selling author Mark Batterson; photo courtesy Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church, in Washington, D.C. NCC also operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, the Miracle Theatre and the DC Dream Center, which has served more than 60,000 meals to those in need during the pandemic. The best-selling author’s latest book is Win the Day: 7 Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less & Accomplish More.Celeste McCauley, Editor

1. How are our daily habits connected to our spiritual well-being?

Everything boils down to habits. Our lives are this jumble of habits: conscious and subconscious, good and bad. Over time, those habits end up being who you become. Our habits help us persevere through obstacles and stay focused on our God-given assignments.

I like to focus on the following: Flip the script—bury your past and change your signature story. Kiss the wave—the obstacle is not the enemy but the way. Eat the frog—the one thing you like to do least is what you feel best about afterward. Fly the kite—how you do anything is how you do everything. Cut the rope—take the right risks to chart a new course. Wind the clock—time is measured in minutes, but life is measured in moments. Seed the clouds—sow today what you want to see tomor­row.

Give these actions enough days in a row and they have the power to change your physical, mental and spiritual health.

2. What’s powerful about prayer?

Prayer is the difference be­tween the best we can do and the best God can do. It’s the difference between letting things happen and making things happen. It’s the way we write history before it happens. I think you’ve got to pray as if it all depends on God and work as if it all depends on you. Prayer is the catalyst at the beginning of a journey.

A bold prayer is praying a prayer you’ve prayed a hundred times that hasn’t been answered yet but one you feel as if you need to keep praying and believing. It’s hard not to give up on things that you’ve prayed for that haven’t been answered in the way you want. That’s where I think you have to acknowledge it’s not about outlining our agenda to God but about God outlining his agenda to us. Someday we will thank God for the prayers he didn’t answer maybe as much as the ones that he did.

3. Why is it important to learn to forgive?

A nail in my tire creates a slow leak; if I don’t deal with it, I’m eventually going to end up with a flat tire. I think unforgiveness is a slow leak in our soul, on our spirit. When we have a hard time forgiving someone, it really doesn’t hurt that person. It ultimately causes the greatest damage to us.

I have a Deuteronomy 29:29 file folder, named for the verse that says the revealed things belong to us, the secret things belong to God. It means there is not going to be a solution to every problem. There’s not going to be an answer to every question. There’s not going to be reconciliation to every breach that all of us are prone to.

When I experience things that feel unforgivable, all I can do is put it in that file and trust God in the process. In years to come, I’ll have some revelations about what I put in that folder. I’ll think, Okay, I see this differently now.

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