Our churches are under attack.
This is not just a rhetorical statement where you answer, “Yeah, yeah, I know… We’re under attack from the forces of Satan and will be until the rapture occurs…” and then you yawn and turn back to whichever of the reality shows or Facebook games that captures your attention every week.
No, I mean our churches are under attack! I don’t think I could name 5 churches that are not undergoing some extreme times of trouble right now. In nearly every single church I know of (and I know of a bunch) there is some type of “something” that they are dealing with. And not only that, but our eyes are so clouded by our own troubles, that we are blinded to what is happening in the political arena which will affect us in the coming months and years.
The time has come for Christians, those who are called by Christ’s Name, to fast and pray.
We often think of fasting as just missing a meal. I’ve written before on fasting, and for those who follow my blog, you’ll remember that I did a 40-day “daytime” fast in January/February in preparation for my ministry direction. http://prayerlogue.blogspot.com/2010/01/time-of-preparation.html
I also wrote a little booklet a few years ago titled, “Fasting for Lent.” However, there is much more to fasting than simply missing a meal.
The Bible describes several different types of fasts; for instance, there is Jesus’ fast in the wilderness where He is tempted of Satan. This fast can actually be looked at as a fast in preparation for ministry. Others include Elijah’s fast, the widow’s fast, Esther’s fast, and one of the more well known is the Daniel Fast. Daniel’s fast is well known for the fact that it is more explanatory than any of the others.
The Daniel Fast is a 21 day fast where one simply eliminates certain foods from their diet for 21 days, while spending time in prayer. However, one I want to lift up today is the Ezra Fast.
Ezra, you may remember, was an OT priest who led one group of the exiled Israelites back to Jerusalem from Babylon in 538 BC. As Ezra prepared to embark on the journey (carrying millions of dollars worth of provisions) he called for a time of fasting and prayer before setting out. I don’t want to take time to go into the details now (this would make a great study by the way) but just let me say that as Jesus’ fast was a fast in preparation for ministry, the Ezra fast is a fast for facing a problem.
Many fasts are done in private, but in Ezra’s case, he called the people together and proclaimed a time of fasting. In that regard, I am encouraging you to set aside a time for prayer and fasting – it may be one day a week, it may be just one meal a week. But, whatever you do, identify your church’s battlefront, call together your prayer warriors, set your timeline, then fast and pray. And may God give you a clear answer to your problem. I lift up your church, and mine. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.