A Time To Pray and Fast

God has been prodding my heart to take some time off of social media and to make some extra time to pray and fast for situations and people in my life, and to be in His word to hear from Him. This will mean pulling back some and being home more. This will mean scheduling social media posts and not being as responsive for a time.

There have been many places in God’s word where His people fasted and prayed. Some as individuals and other times it was as a Nation. I think of Esther and Daniel off the top of my head.

This morning I was reading in Daniel. This scripture really moved my heart. Daniels’s love for God and for His people is beautiful.

Daniel’s Prayer for His People
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. 3 So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 5  we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. 6 Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. Daniel 9:1-6 (NASB) Olive Tree App.

I love what it says here, He gave His attention to the Lord to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. This isn’t just your casual prayer time. The sackcloth, and ashes were used in mourning.

The mourning here is more of a remorseful mourning. Daniel is mourning how this people of God have sinned and rebelled against God. He is mourning because they had turned away from God.

7 To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8 To us, O LORD, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him. 12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers who ruled us, by bringing upon us a great calamity. For under the whole heaven there has not been done anything like what has been done against Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth. 14 Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. 15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. 18 O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.” Daniel 9:6-19 (ESV) Olive Tree App

As I read the words of Daniel’s prayer, I realize this is my heart right now. I am using this scripture as a starting place for my prayers during this time of praying and fasting. I will be taking October 19th until November 25th to pray and fast. For myself, my family, people I love, the church, my church family, and this beautiful Nation of ours and every person in it.

Up until then I will be scheduling social media posts and prayer focuses so you may be praying and fasting with me. There is power in prayer and prayer is part of the armor of God.

We don’t fight people and I need to stop seeing what people I love are disagreeing and debating about. I need to shut off opinions and seek God’s face and direction for what He is telling me to do. I need to shut off the voices and noise for awhile. The fact is no solution is perfect but one is the one God will use and I want to use my voice and vote for the God’s choice, not mine or anyone else’s.

As God deals with deep wounds in my heart that need to be healed, and parts of the past that needs to be let go and not define me anymore, we need to do that as a Nation as well. My heart is to be part of the healing, not the lemon that keeps sticking in the wound. We need to heal and only God can bring that healing. We need a heart of repentance, not blame. We need a heart that sees and hears those around us, the ones we know, and the ones we don’t know. We need a willingness to be part of a moving forward, and not staying stuck in the past.

Just like with our parents. They didn’t always make good decisions. They didn’t always treat us well or make us feel loved. Sometimes they have made decisions that have affected us in some really deep ways and as much as we tried to do better, we did some of that to our own children as well. But we have to get to a place where we stop blaming and we start looking at our own hearts and dealing with what is there and allow God to heal us, restore us, and redeem what the enemy has stolen.

That is what I am committing to do and I am giving my attention to the Lord and seeking His face, with a repentant and open heart for Him to show me whatever He needs to, as well as to guide me in the steps He wants me to take in this season. I am seeking Him for our family, and for this Nation, and I pray we will all give our attention to the Lord and seek His face.

I encourage you to take a break from all the voices and all the noise. Take time to back away from the opinions, debates, the news, and social media. Spend some time in the presence of God and see what He does in your heart, and in the hearts of those around you and this nation.

I pray you will join me in this time of prayer and fasting. I would love to know that you are doing this with me and I will send you an email with focus scriptures and prayer prompts I use.