- Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2021 07:28
We find ourselves living in tumultuous times, don’t we? And each of us has our own stories to live, I own valleys to go through and hopefully our own mountain tops to reach. How do we get through this thing called life? By holding onto Jesus, by seeking Him, by drawing near to him! A great way to do this is too fast and pray.
Throughout the bible we see people praying and fasting. They fast and pray as a response to pain and suffering, to difficulties, to tragedy, to death and to so much more. We also see people praying and fasting as a time to seek Him, and to prepare themselves both physically and spiritually. In these unprecedented times of COVID, lockdowns, economic upheaval, relational difficulties and so much more, is anything happening in your life that you may want to consider fasting and praying?
I believe the Lord is calling us to join in with his Church to a time of fasting and prayer, this is traditionally called Lent. Since I am Greek, I am going to call it “Our journey to Pascha”. Pascha comes from the Greek meaning Easter. This time of fasting and prayer is our journey to Easter.
What do we fast? In a nutshell, anything. Anything that you have daily that you give up so that when you would usually have it, you would be reminded of our three reasons to fast and pray. To prepare your heart, to gain perspective and to seek Him.
To expand briefly on the three key reasons I feel we should pray and fast:
To prepare our hearts for Easter.
Easter is not some magical ceremony about the date, the traditions or anything apart from reminding us of the suffering, the crucifixion, the death and ultimately the resurrection of Jesus. Think of it like communion, (I understand Easter is not a sacrament, this is simply a helpful way to think of it) Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” We remember and celebrate Easter to remember and celebrate Jesus.
We should pray and fast to help us gain perspective on the difficult times we are living through.
We can have two things that cause us to fall into despair. Either we get tunnel vision, and we believe we are the only ones struggling in these times. Or we are impacted by the echo chamber which is social media instead of the Jesus of scripture. Both cause despair, we pray and fast to gain perspective.
Most importantly, we pray and fast to seek Him.
I would like to call us to seek Him in this time of fasting and prayer. Why? Well, who else knows all, who else is the beginning and the end, who else is all powerful, who else is able, who else is the provider, the peacemaker, the healer, the comforter, the encourager, the protector, the all-powerful one? He is the one who will never let you down, will always be there and will love you no matter what.
We seek protection, provision, comfort etc. but none of it is to be found in programs, books or on Google. It is to be found in a person, and that person is Jesus. Jesus is the provision, peace, comfort, encouragement, protection producer. In this time of prayer and fasting let us seek Him.
I have drawn some scriptures together which I have paraphrased as a prayer letter from our Father to us as an encouragement to seek Him:
Father, I thirst for you, my whole being cries out for you, in a dry and gasping land where there is no water. I will look to You Lord and Your strength; I will seek Your face always. You, God, are my God, intently I pursue you; I will take delight in You Lord, and may You give me the desires of my heart. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. I will look to You Lord and Your strength; I will seek Your face always. I will seek the Lord while He may be found; I will call on him while He is near. I know that without faith it is impossible to please You Lord, because anyone who comes to You must believe that You exist and that You reward those who earnestly seek You. My Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Therefore, I will seek the Lord, I will ask, and trust that He will answer me; That He may deliver me from all my fears. I know that if I come near to Him, He will come near to me. For this is what He says, “Seek me and live.”
(My paraphrase of Psalm 63:1, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Psalm 37:4, Psalm 9:10, Psalm 105:4, Isaiah 55:6, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 7:7, Psalm 34:4, James 4:8, Amos 5:4)
Rather than wondering whether you should fast, ask why you would want to miss out on the Father’s reward.