Week of Fasting & Prayer
This week, Living Hope Church is fasting and praying for God’s purposes to be done in our church family, and for His name to be known in the cities we live in. Don’t miss the prayer meeting Wednesday (the 10th) at 7pm at the LHC building.
Choosing God’s Will Over Our Desires
In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve all the good food they could ever want. And He gave them one item to abstain from. Just one tree out of many.
Built into creation is the need to say no to ourselves. God made us to desire and to desire deeply. It’s one of our attributes that reflect what God is like. But unlike God, our desires must be restrained at times in order to do what God desires.
Of course, we all know the story. Adam and Eve didn’t say no to themselves for long and promptly ate the forbidden fruit despite the fact that they had plenty of other fruit that God had not restricted. And this is how sin goes.
When we sin, we have chosen our own desire of God’s. We have refused to deny ourselves and instead have denied God.
The good news (quite literally) is that Jesus appears in Matthew chapter 4 and fasts for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. During this time He is tempted by Satan to make His own food our of a stone. Jesus refuses to use His divine right to do as He desires, instead choosing to do as the Father desires. In short, Jesus succeeded where Adam failed.
Jesus didn’t just succeed for Himself, but He then gave that obedience to us. Now we are learning to live in that same obedience as Jesus lives through us each day.
Fasting is a reminder that we must deny ourselves, but it it not just self denial. It is choosing to fulfill the deep desires of the Father’s heart. It is setting the heart on it’s true and better path by denying the body what it wants.
So this week, let your hunger remind you of how prone to wander you really are. And in that hunger, choose the will of God despite it. Simply not eating will do it, but also pray about any other areas where you are delaying obedience to God’s direction in your life.
Fasting as Intercession
Fasting in the OT was often done as a form of intercession. Perhaps nowhere is that more clearly demonstrated than with Moses’ 3 trips up the mountain to meet with God in the glory cloud. Moses’ fasting was not only a response to the presence of God, it was also an expression of his own heart for his people down the mountain.
God was angry and ready to wipe them out and start over, and rightly so. They had grown hard hearted, angry, and full of rebellion. They only remembered the good things about Egypt and not the beatings, abuse, and slavery. They complained that at least back in Egypt they had bowls full of meat to eat to the full.
How ironic then, that Moses fasted 40 days and 40 nights to interceed for them before God!
Of course, God had mercy on them and instead gave the law to Moses.
When we use fasting as intercession, it is as if we are saying to God “How can I eat and fill my belly when so many are suffering? How can I eat when my marriage is failing? How can I satisfy my hunger when so many are starving?” You are coming before God and identifying yourself with those that are broken, lost, or hungry.
So this week when you are fasting, I encourage you to consider those around you that are in need. Whether it is a physical need or a spiritual one. Ask God to heal your marriages, your households, your workplaces, your friends, and all the broken people in the world.
Ask God to have mercy on those that rebel against Him. Ask God to lift the broken hearted and set the captives free. Spend your day thinking and praying for someone other than yourself and lets see what God will do.
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