Joel 2:12-27 “Even now,” declares the Lord,“return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relentand leave behind a blessing—grain offerings and drink offerings for the Lord your God.Blow the trumpet in Zion,declare a holy fast,call a sacred assembly. Gather the people,consecrate the assembly;bring together the elders,gather the children,those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the Lord, weep between the portico and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations.Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’”
THIS is a reason to PRAY and FAST.
People, we MUST stop thinking our leaders will make the change in this nation. This is a spiritual problem. Of course, we should still vote! While God gives us privilege we should pray and vote. However, if God’s spirit isn’t making changes in hearts and moving our nation to repentance, there will be no change for the good.
Consider fasting. Consider getting up early to pray, or staying up late. Find a friend and meet once a week for an hour to pray. (Notice that in the scripture EVERYONE fasted. This is hard to deal with in our nation that has food in abundance and is afraid of going without food, lest our mood get out of whack.) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
Consider this scripture:
2 Chronicles 16:7-10 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.
In this scripture, God is speaking to King Asa that a nation should seek God, before relying on the things of this world. Last election cycle, everyone turned out in droves to elect a Republican congress to help stop our nation from going over a cliff. However, we see that it hasn’t made a difference, because it’s leaders care more about getting re-elected than protecting the lives of unborn babies or a myriad of other issues. (There are good people there, but their hands are tied by leadership.)
If fasting scares you….or makes you unsure…
If you have never tried praying along with fasting, start with a group or an accountability partner.
This prayer and fasting is not just for an election, but for repentance, starting with everyone of us and for the promised move of the Holy Spirit is why we do this. This is a promise in scripture over and over and over. We need a prayer and fasting habit.
2 Chronicles 7:13-16 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
Everyone knows this scripture. Let’s read it in context. What do we pray for? Print out this list, if you need it, for starters.
- We pray for repentance to come over the nation, starting with the leaders in the churches and then the body of Christ in general.
- We pray for God to forgive us as believers for compromising God’s Word.
- We pray for God to forgive our selfish attitudes and living.
- We pray for God to forgive us for thinking the great commission is a job for the pastor or paid staff.
- We pray for God to forgive us for immorality and sexual sin in OUR lives. Cleanse us Lord! Change our hearts!
- We pray for God to move in power as we repent!
- We pray for God to forgive us for division and fighting, pride and loving ourselves more than unity in the Body of Christ.
- We pray for God to seek our hearts and to show us if there is any wicked way in us and to lead us in the way everlasting.
- We ask God’s forgiveness for sitting on the sidelines, while other people do the difficult work of God’s kingdom.
- We ask God to reveal to us any lies we are believing. Do not allow us to be deceived in these wicked times, Lord.
- We repent of prayerlessness, and for neglecting the Word of God. Give us a hunger for your Word, oh Lord!
- We repent of treating church, worship and fellowship as an extra-curricular activity, behind other things in our lives that we deem more important. God, forgive us for setting up idols in our lives.
- Forgive us Lord for thinking that the problems in this nation are political! Help us to rise up into true relationship and fellowship with you and one another.
- Fill us Lord, with your power! Fill us Lord with your forgiveness! Fill us Lord with your fruit of the Spirit!
- Heal our relationships! Heal our families! Heal our land!
- Forgive our elected officials of their sins and move them into a place of truth in Jesus Christ!
- MOVE HOLY SPIRIT! Sweep across this nation in a national revival. Touch every dark and hidden place, leave no stone unturned. Touch every heart, mind, soul and spirit. Lift Jesus Christ up in the cities and in the country, in the suburbs and in the mountains! Let your spirit fall upon us in a wave of revival and renewal. Change our hearts! Oh Lord, we pray! Hear us!
Here Jesus says when he leaves his disciples will fast. (Are you a disciple of Jesus? Let’s follow his commands and advice.)
Luke 5:33-35 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.” Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”
I give you this challenge to call someone right now and ask them to meet and pray with you on a weekly basis! Go to God’s Word every day and if you come back to this blog, I will post more encouragement and tips!
P.S. Ladies…fasting is not about being skinny or losing weight. I have an inkling that women would go without food to get skinny, but not to see God’s Spirit move. Let’s repent of having our priorities mixed up.
P.S.S. Men. The great and powerful men of God went without food. You can too. Jesus said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.” Repent.