We would like to invite those who are able to join us, like last Friday, in a Day of Fasting and Prayer for Hannah tomorrow, September 30th. It will run from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (roughly dawn to dusk). Some will choose to spend the day fasting, others will take a meal, and others will find a chunk of time during the day to devote to prayer.
We seem to have emerged from the worst of the crisis with Hannah over the last week, but as many of us have learned from experience and growth, our capacity for prayer, for deep communication with God, is handicapped when only practiced in times of deep crisis. Or, said differently and more bluntly, if we primarily pray in deep crisis, our relationship with God will constantly be at the level of a baby crying in distress to a parent. The baby doesn’t know how to communicate well and is frustrated, the baby lacks the ability to listen because they only know what they want, and the parent is frustrated and frazzled by the constant noise. It’s important that the baby is communicating, and the parent hears, but neither wants to stay there. When we move out of immediate crisis and into less traumatic times, the child can either take things for granted or choose to settle into the strong arms of their parent. And there’s just as much communication in that eye contact and soft embrace as the fearful cry.
I suspect, personally, last Friday God may have been a bit frazzled by me. My experience on Friday involved needing to learn the lesson of easing off the throttle, quieting my voice, and allowing myself and Hannah to be held by God. After all, God did make a promise to us. Would I learn to rest in it, to trust His power? For others, on Friday, you may have needed to learn the lesson of stepping up. One friend mentioned the phrase, “praying back the darkness.” As was said earlier, “Our prayer in this crisis will sometimes be more offensive, other times actively trusting God’s unrivaled power, but NEVER will be passive.” For each of us, the following words of Richard Foster in his classic work Celebration of Discipline are timely:
“Although the physical aspects of fasting intrigue us, we must never forget that the major work of scriptural fasting is in the realm of the spirit. What goes on spiritually is much more important than what is happening bodily. You will be engaging in spiritual warfare that will necessitate using all the weapons of Ephesians 6. One of the most critical periods spiritually is at the end of the fast when we have the natural tendency to relax. But I do not want to leave the impression that all fasting is a heavy spiritual struggle- I have not found it so. It is also “…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).
Fasting can bring breakthroughs in the spiritual realm that will never happen in any other way. It is a means of God’s grace and blessing that should not be neglected any longer. Wesley declares, “…it was not merely by the light of reason…that the people of God have been, in all ages, directed to use fasting as a means…but they have been…taught it of God Himself, by clear and open revelations of his Will…Now, whatever reasons there were to quicken those of old, in the zealous and constant discharge of this duty, they are of equal force still to quicken us.”
Now is the time for all those who hear the voice of Christ to obey it.”
Thank you for joining us however you may, and may the experience be a part of the transformation God desires to bring about in you, and in our world!