A Call to Fast and Pray
This is Day 22 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
It seems that fasting is a lost art in our modern society, but it is an art that we need to recapture. There is something about fasting that brings us closer to God. It's a sacrifice, something we voluntarily give up for Him. It clears our minds from our carnal desires so that we can focus on our Spiritual needs. It is a sign of penance, a way to demonstrate our sorrow and regret for our wickedness and our disobedience. And it reminds us that we "shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4).
Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights out in the wilderness. He expected us to fast as well. He instructed His disciples that "when you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full." So clearly He expects us to fast AND lets us know that if it is done correctly (for God and NOT to show others how pious we are) that there will be rewards for fasting.
One reward for fasting that often appears in the Old Testament is forgiveness and withholding of punishment. For example when Jonah went to Nineveh to describe their offense against the Lord and to preach repentance, the King of Nineveh dressed in sackcloth and ashes and ordered a fast for the entire kingdom. Neither humans or animals would eat or drink. This was a demonstration of their sorrow for their wickedness. God spared Nineveh the horrible judgment and punishment that was coming.
With the Coronavirus and other plagues sweeping the globe, it might be a good time to bring back fasting as a way to show penance for our wickedness. Fasting coupled with prayer can have a profound effect and clearly can turn God's ears toward us, to hear our pleas to save us from the pestilence that is destroying the land.
GAFCON (The Global Anglican Futures Conference) is calling for a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow Sunday March 22, 2020, to intercede "against the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, swarming locusts in East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, and famine and hunger in regions of Africa." I urge everyone to join in this fast and prayer whether or not you are Anglican. Let God hear all of our prayers and our sincere repentance so that he might forgive us and heal our land.
"Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls into Heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy. Amen."
R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.