This Sunday we will begin a 3-day fasting and prayer campaign. I can hear your excitement coming through the internet!
I fully realize “not eating” is not exactly something we look forward to. But I want to take a moment to inspire you to join us. Fasting in the scriptures is practiced throughout generations in the lives of God’s people both individually and corporately. Fasting is something we do that truly sets Christians apart from the rest of society. It isn’t that we become better people or more important. It is a firm reminder that we are people who belong to God and His purposes. Sometimes that means we take a break from normal life to empower our spiritual lives with God.
One of the reasons we do this fast is so that our church body does something together. When the hunger pains begin next week, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone! For some who are new to Waters, this is a great way for you to connect with us personally. Your spirit will be fed with us and drawn into the things of God.
In the New Testament, Jesus fasted in the wilderness during His time of testing. He also commanded us to fast in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:16). He described that some demonic influences can only be truly cast out when we pray AND FAST (Mark 9:29, NKJV He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”) There is no doubt fasting is empowering for God’s people. We want our whole church united and full of the power of God.
There is also this peculiar moment fasting is mentioned in Jesus’ and His disciple’s lives:
Luke 5:33–35 (ESV) And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
Here Jesus and the disciples are critiqued for not fasting as many other groups did. Jesus’ response is telling. He uses the imagery of bridegroom and friends – He being the bridegroom and the disciples as his groomsmen. In other words, His presence with His people was a time of celebration and feasting, not fasting. But then Jesus adds a curious phrase, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” If we compare what Jesus says here to the idea that in His presence we should feast, we can draw a very important spiritual principle. There will be times when the presence of Jesus will not be as inherently felt or realized in our lives. It is then we should fast and pray. There will be times when we need God to fill our lives with His power and presence in ways we may have felt before or may need to experience for the first time. Jesus tells us, in those times – fast and pray!
That is my prayer for us as a church: That we will feel and enjoy a more palatable sense of God’s presence in our lives personally and corporately. Join us this year! Let God draw you near to Him and to us. We begin Sunday after lunch and continue through breakfast Wednesday. Have a good (not too large) lunch on Wednesday, and then join us for 1st Wednesday on the LAST Wednesday of January (31st).