Prayer and Fasting

We have been called as a nation to pray to God regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic and for those who have been infected by this virus. We are also called to pray for our nation, its leaders, and the medical providers who are battling this virus. Churches have also called for a day of prayer and fasting. I believe this is a good thing and join in that call.

But what does fasting really mean and what are we to “fast?” When we hear of fasting many believe we are to give up something we eat, be it a certain food or meal, or abstaining from all food for a certain period of time. There are certainly cases in the Bible where people like Moses, Daniel, and Jesus, fasted from food, but I think the most effective fast is a fast of the heart rather than a fast of the stomach.

In Isaiah 58:1-5 we read that the nation of Israel was fasting in order to make their voices heard by God. Really? Does God not know what is going on? Of course He does! The problem is that the people don’t know what is really going on as God makes clear in these verses. They are trying to get God’s attention with their fast but God is trying to get their attention. What is really needed is the people need to do a fast of the heart. The fast that moves God’s heart is found in verses 6-9. The fast that God desires is one that gives up self and selfishness, and rather, gives of self to minister to the needs of others. God does not need us to tell Him what is going on. God needs us to tell others what is going on and why. This is the fast that we, the church, must do if we want to be heard as verses 10-12 make clear.

Verses 13-14 make it clear that this type of fast; a fast of the heart, is to be on going, and not a one-time or special event. Over the years Church attendance has been declining. People have become more casual in their attendance. Church attendance does not automatically mean salvation. One is not saved by going to church. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. However, declining or casual attendance may be a symptom that a virus of worldliness is starting to spread among Christians. The symptoms of this virus will also be evident in the day to day lives of those infected with the worldly virus. One by one the things of God in the infected persons life will be fasted away or set aside and something from the world that appeals to self will replace that which is given up. That person may think they are healthy but they are not. Their relationship with the Lord is suffering. This is a pattern in the Bible that is repeated over and over which is why God sent Isaiah with this message, “Cry loudly, do not hold  back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression, And to the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1 NASB

To transgress is to move beyond the boundaries. This is always the case when a believer is infected with the worldly virus. Let me ask you this. How is your walk with or your relationship with the Lord? Is it stronger than ever or has is weakened over time? Is it as fervent as it was in the beginning when you were on fire for the Lord? Or have the things of the world put the fire out? If that is the case there is no better time than right now to begin a fast of the heart!

I urge you to join with me in prayer and fasting. Those suffering with this virus need our prayers. So does this nation and its leaders. So does this world. With mechanical things I have found that when everything is put in order everything begins to operate smoothly as they were designed to do. The same is true in God’s kingdom. As Christians serving God and as His ambassadors to this world we have a responsibility to make sure we have our lives in order and are obedient to God’s Word. It is then that the light of our life in Christ can shine brightly and be a beacon of hope to those around us. Instead of trying to get God’s attention, let us turn our attention on Him and ask God to direct us in the days ahead.

May God bless and guide as we navigate through this present crisis, and may God be glorified in all we do.

Pastor Dave