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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

I recently returned to Princeton, New Jersey, from a trip to Nepal where I spent one week serving in Kathmandu and one week sharing the Gospel in a region called Sarlahi with a team of native Christians.  I returned home with tears in my eyes, as I had to say goodbye to a group of people that I came to love so deeply. Even now, I find tears running down my cheeks when I think about how long it might be until I get to visit that beautiful land once again.  Regardless of the attachment I formed with the people and the nation, my experience there was marked far more by discomfort and unease than it was by enjoyment and excitement.

It didn’t take much more than a day for me to recognize my deep desire for familiarity and to be in a place where I could predict the cultural, social, political, and religious climate.  Nepal definitely is not a place where safety is a guarantee or where Western norms are particularly welcome, and for these reasons, fear crept increasingly into my heart as the days progressed.

Interestingly enough, before I left for Nepal, I felt that I had fallen into a bit of a spiritual slumber, a slumber that prevented me from relying upon, trusting in, and crying out to the Lord with passion and sincerity.  I remember asking Him specifically to use this trip to wake me up, no matter what it took as I did not want my heart any longer to reside in a place of indifference and spiritual apathy.

About half way through my trip, I began to see how God was working in the moments that I experienced fear, discomfort, and unease:  He was allowing me to see all the other sources of comfort and security I had apart from Him and was breaking down all that was preventing me from trusting in Him alone.  Gradually, as I worked through the fears, my reliance and trust in Him grew, as did the peace and joy inside of my heart.

I feel that I can relate a little better now to what Paul said, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)

I’m right now grateful for this fasting season because I believe God will use it to reinforce what He taught me while I was in Nepal, namely that I ought not to rely upon anything other than Him to be my source of life and strength.  It is a great opportunity to let all those things that claim my attention over Him, the things that I trust in besides Him, to come to the surface.  I’m praying that God uses this time for all of us, as we come before the throne of grace with a heart hungry for Him alone.

Maria Greshock
Ministry Fellow at Princeton