A Call to Prayer and Fasting
Our Lord has designed the disciplines of prayer and fasting joined together as instruments through which He moves powerfully in His kind Providence. This truth is not only promised but displayed in the Bible and the history of His Church. Pastor Reeder has challenged our congregation in following up on last night’s post Sunday evening worship service “Assembly of Prayer,” to set aside one day this week for prayer and fasting with a specific focus on the following three areas of concern:
1. Intercession for our Christian brothers and sisters who are now undergoing persecution by the Islamic Jihadist movement, some unto death, throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia as well as other Jihadist targets of persecution.
John 16:32–33 (ESV)
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
2. Pray for our government and others to both understand and embrace with moral courage the responsibility to protect men and women, including Christians from the malevolent design of the Islamic Jihadist genocide against Christians, Jews and other nations. At the same time, pray for our Lord’s church to make use of the Sword of the Spirit and the Weapons of the Spirit to pursue those who would persecute Christians. Specifically pray that the Gospel of Grace will bring them from death to life, knowing that God delights to make His enemies into citizens of His Kingdom through the Gospel of the Kingdom. He not only delights to save persecutors of His Church but to turn them into those who would proclaim the Gospel and serve His Church (i.e. Saul/Paul).
Romans 5:6–11 (ESV)
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Hebrews 10:12–13 (ESV)
“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
3. As the Church at Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary trip to the world from a worship service with prayer and fasting, we now desire to send out our 200+ Gospel missionaries to the nations with a day of prayer and fasting, while praising God for the extraordinary Faith Promise commitment response. Also pray with anticipation that our Lord would allow us to move even beyond the Operational and Stretch goals to our Halleluiah goal! Pray that Briarwood would be a church of missionaries, sending out missionaries, who, with courage and wisdom, will embrace Gospel evangelism, discipleship, church planting and revitalization, leadership multiplication and mobilization displayed with deeds of love, mercy and justice.
Acts 13:2–3 (ESV)
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
A PASTORAL WORD ON FASTING
As God leads you to a day of prayer and fasting and embracing the guide given above, here are a few reminders:
• If you have a medical condition, please check with your doctor. If it is not medically advisable for you to fast then consider focusing the fast on some “thing” instead of a length of time (i.e. an item of food, television, technology etc.).
• Remember, we fast not as an act of penance, but as a declaration, commitment, and reminder to focus upon our Lord and that He is the foundation of our life and is supreme in our life even over the God-given necessities and enjoyments of life.
• One suggestion would be to begin your fast after the evening meal and continue throughout the next day. Don’t overeat before you start!
• If possible, drink only water. Drink lots of it. Some say it is okay to drink coffee so you will not be battling a headache along with the fast.
• It is important to have a specific verse of Scripture to focus upon throughout the period of fasting and whenever you feel hungry use that moment to devour the Word of God and specifically to meditate upon your chosen verse for the day of prayer and fasting. .
• Try to go to bed earlier than usual, and rise earlier than normal to spend quality time with the Lord.