Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Seeking God through Fasting

As much as I love the fall and December, I have also grown to like the month of January for the opportunities for discipline it offers as we prepare for the new year.  In my own life, the past two weeks I have given special attention to asking for the Lord to direct my life in this new year.

This past Sunday I preached on the subject of Seeking God through Fasting.  I challenged our church to set aside time the next two weeks to fast and pray.
The Bible includes numerous examples of people fasting and praying:

·       Ezra and his people for protection on their long journey (Ezra 8:21-23)
·       Nehemiah dealing with the burden in his heart and asking God to help him do something about it (Neh. 1:4)
·       Esther and her people asking God for deliverance from a horrible threat (Est. 4:15-16)
·       Daniel grieving for his people’s sins and asking God for revelation (Daniel 9-10)
·       Jesus fasting for spiritual empowerment (Luke 4:1-14)
·       The early church fasting and praying for direction (Acts 13:2; 14:23)
·       Jesus told his disciples that there are some serious problems that can only be fixed through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).

The Lord Jesus spoke clearly that fasting would be a normal and expected spiritual practice – or discipline – in the life of His followers.  Richard Foster, the author of the best-selling Celebration of Discipline, has remarked that he does not believe the church in the United States will survive the 21st century if she does not get back to the disciplines of fasting and solitude.  Fasting should be a habit of the Lord’s church.
In the history of our country, Presidents and Congress in previous generations called the country to fast and pray at different times, asking for divine intervention.

As I look at my own life, I see various areas where I know in 2014 I need God’s direction, His provision, His protection, His empowerment, and His hand upon my life and the life of my family.  When I look at our church, likewise, I see many areas where we need the same.  We want to be a people who walk with God and please Him.  We want Him to put His hand of favor upon us.  We desire His blessing of love and unity and His protection from the enemy.  We want Him to work through us to reach people for Christ.  We need His provision in various areas. 

Let's seek Him together these days - expectantly.

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