Monday, January 20 - Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Christians across America participated in a ten-day fast (fasting from food). Participants followed the example of men and women of Scripture who humbled themselves and sought the Lord through fasting. Our country needs the spiritual renewal that only God can bring.
From Monday, January 20, 2020, participants sought God through the biblical practice of fasting. Some fasted from all foods for the entire ten days—drinking only liquids—or you may choose to fast one or two meals each day. For some, health limitations will require a different type of fast (see fasting resources).
Christian Union Ministry Fellow
A decision to sacrifice food or pleasure in order to get God’s attention is a demonstration of faith and assurance in the God who sees, hears, and answers the cry of His people. I’m reminded of Cornelius in the book of Acts, chapter 10. He was a devout centurion of the Italian regiment who always prayed and gave generous alms to the poor; yet, after a time of fasting, God instructed Peter to share the Gospel with him, so that, in the end, Cornelius’ whole family and friends heard the Gospel, received the Holy Spirit, and were baptized! Theirs was an unlikely meeting that ushered change for and within both men.
Grace to the Humble
Sunday, September 1, 2019
The last 21 days have been rich times for me, and I trust they have been for you as well. Whenever I fast, I receive more fillings of the Spirit, more revelation from the Lord, and I experience more of His power in my life. As part of the 21-day fast, 12 of us in New York City took five days to really press in hard to the Lord. The group consisted of several Christian Union associates, as well as friends who are transitioning to new positions and therefore had time to take off a week, including a lawyer, an investment banker, a surgeon, and a few entrepreneurs. We spent Monday through Friday from 6 am to 8 pm (14 hours per day) praying, reading the Scriptures, worshipping God and discussing Biblical matters. It was an incredibly rich time, and a few of us plan to do the same for four weeks (excepting weekends) in November.
Fasting As Mourning Saturday, August 31, 2019
"Yet even now," declares the Lord,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
and rend your hearts and not your garments."
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
— Joel 2:12-13
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
— Matthew 5:4
Driven to Revival on our KneesFriday, August 30, 2019
The book of Esther reveals one of the most influential men of his era in the middle of an extended feast that was celebrated. King Xerxes requests that his queen parade her beauty before a council of over indulged men. She publicly refuses! Tempers and pride flare causing her to be publicly dethroned because of advice given by his council! Pride is a funny thing in that heart of a powerful person. King Xerxes is then placed in the position to find a new queen for his kingdom. Nestled in its pages of this drama, we find a hidden biblical narrative about two very intriguing people, Hadassah and Mordecai, who are the beginning of a beautifully woven together a message of hope for revival.
Following InstructionsThursday, August 29, 2019
Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
From Fasting To FeastingWednesday, August 28, 2019
“‘Should I weep and abstain in the fifth month, as I have done so for so many years?’ Then the word of the Lord came to me…‘When you fasted and mourned, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted? And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?’…Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts. Therefore love truth and peace.” (Zechariah 7:3-6, 8:19)
“[Fasting] is the most misunderstood of the Christian spiritual disciplines. Fasting is the natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life…People fasted in the Bible in response to some grievous event in life—like death or the realization of sin or when the nation was threatened.” (Scot McKnight, Fasting)
Ready, Fire, Aim! Tuesday, August 27, 2019
“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.” — Ezra 8:21–23 (ESV)
Christian Union Ministry Fellow
When this happens, one trick my father taught me as a kid is to quote, in order, the Psalms (or, let’s be honest, maybe just remember a snippet from some of them) until you fall asleep. Granted, this is a lot easier to do if you grew up in a church tradition that sings the Psalms regularly. Nonetheless, the point of this trick is rest comes from being in God’s presence through His word and prayer.
Praying For Our Church LeadersMonday, August 26, 2019
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. — Acts 14:23 (ESV)
Raising up, establishing, and praying for strong church leaders is as important today as it has ever been. In Acts 14, the apostles Paul and Barnabas share the gospel of the Kingdom with demonstrations of power to the people in Lystra and a revival breaks out as a result. In order to sustain this move of God and extend its reach and impact, Paul and Barnabas appoint leaders and with prayer and fasting, they commit them to the Lord. We can see from this example and elsewhere in the book of Acts the great value placed on fasting and praying for God to establish committed church leaders and sustain them in ministry in order to advance the Kingdom of God.
Whom Shall I Fear?Sunday, August 25, 2019
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. — 2 Chronicles 20:1-4 (ESV)
Fasting for a City's SalvationSaturday, August 24, 2019
When a person sins against God, forgiveness is available through Christ Jesus. When a city has transgressed against God, absolution can seem far fetched because compounding ills plaguing communities appear to be without viable solutions. And yet, Scripturally, there is an answer! With wickedness comes warnings, and God will relent when we fast and pray.
The reality is, with sin comes the destruction of life and the degradation of any society, but God does not just exact punishment without warning. Rather, He gives grace and reveals (Amos 3:7). He does not overlook humility, but He forgives (2 Chronicles 7:14). And, He does not ignore the prayers of the righteous, but He answers (Psalm 34:15). No matter how pervasive or great the sin, through Christ forgiveness is still available as our Father responds to people with love, compassion and integrity.
Father, Free Me From These ShacklesThursday, August 22, 2019
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. — Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV)
God’s people were in want and God brought them manna. This longing and hunger tested the people in obedience and trust in the Lord. How would they respond? Would they turn to God in their hunger and pain or turn to idolatry, longing for the enslavement that provided them with physical nourishment, yet shackled them, robbing them of their freedom? The wilderness revealed the state of their hearts, and God was faithful despite the sin and failings of his people.
The Value of Corporate Fasting
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God?
Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.
Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep and say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and make not your heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” — Joel 2:12-17 (ESV)
Fasting for Jesus' Presence
Monday, August 19, 2019
Now John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, “Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”
— Mark 2:18-20, ESV
When was the last time you went to a wedding? What do you remember most? Who were the people getting married? Who were the other guests?
Weddings are feasts and celebrations. We hope that the weddings we attend are ones that involve people we love and fully support in their unions. We hope that we can celebrate with the bride and groom wholeheartedly. But, even in the cases where we may have mixed feelings, the wedding is still always a celebration and a feast. The planning takes months, and food and drink are in abundance. It would be strange and even inappropriate to refuse to eat at a wedding. It would either show disrespect for the hospitality given or grave disapproval of the union of the two people.
God’s Promise to Revive Those Who Turn to HimSunday, August 18, 2019
God’s love towards us is intense and illogical. The demonstration of God ‘SO’ loving His world was on full display when Jesus, the sinless son of God, paid the ultimate penalty of sin on behalf of a willfully disobedient humanity condemned to death. The life-giving blood of Jesus is offered freely to anyone who wants to be saved and restored to an intimate relationship with God.
Around 750 years before Jesus, a young prophet named Hosea was called to enact God’s unrequited love for the nation of Israel. Hosea’s humiliating assignment was to live out in real life the role of a jilted lover. God’s outrageous command to this righteous prophet was to wed Gomer, a common prostitute. The marriage was filled with pain. Hosea had to love his wife through her wanton adulterous living. God is portrayed through Hosea as a faithful husband who is deeply wounded and betrayed but remains committed to Gomer despite her cheating. Gomer represents the nation of Israel.
Nehemiah’s PleaSaturday, August 17, 2019
And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name…” — Nehemiah 1:2b-11 (ESV)
Whom Will God Revive?
Friday, August 16, 2019
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” —Isaiah 57:15
Isaiah saw that God’s people, the Israelites, had strayed far from God. They were living in disobedience to His will. They had turned their backs on God’s ways and had adopted their surrounding culture’s practices. In this chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, God bluntly expressed his anger toward His people, calling them witch’s children, sons of adulterers and prostitutes, reminding them of their child sacrifices and pagan worship. God’s holiness could not ignore their wickedness. Their self-centered behavior, not unlike our modern culture, did not escape His sight or His judgement. God was angry!
Praying and Fasting for Our NationThursday, August 15, 2019
In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
— Daniel 9:1-3 (ESV)
Rebellion and RevivalWednesday, August 14, 2019
Restore us again, O God of our salvation,
and put away your indignation toward us!
Will you be angry with us forever?
Will you prolong your anger to all generations?
Will you not revive us again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
— Psalm 85:4-7
The text of Psalm 85 is introduced by a particular historical designation: “Of the Sons of Korah.” When we know Korah’s story, we gain unique insight on this prayer of restoration and revival. In Numbers 16 we learn of Korah, a tabernacle servant during the time of Israel’s wilderness wandering. Along with 250 fellow dissidents, Korah rose up and challenged Moses and Aaron for priestly authority.
That didn’t go too well for him…