Starting on Sunday, August 2, Springfield Assembly will be holding a seven day fast as a time of focused prayer and intercession related to the racial divide that exists in the United States. We will celebrate the finishing of the fast on August 9.
The people who follow Christ must lead the way and we are setting apart this week-long session as a starting line. As we go to our knees and seek the face of God, we are looking for the changes that begin on the inside of each one of us. We are also asking for heaven’s help in living out the love of Christ when it comes to our neighbors. The fast will also represent a corporate time to grow together and engage in spiritual battle.
We know that different people will fast in different ways, but we encourage those who are new to fasting to read portions or all of this helpful guide from Campus Crusade for Christ International (click here). It has information on who should avoid fasting and why, how to maintain nutritional balance, how to prepare physically and spiritually, and how to finish your fast in a healthy way. Some people may not be able to change their diet at all during this seven day time of dedication, but they can still participate by praying and temporarily giving up something from their typical regimen (e.g. TV, social media, etc.). Others may fast one meal a day, do a partial fast like Daniel when he gave up certain foods from his diet (Daniel 10), or some similar modification of their food intake. But we are asking everyone to set apart a portion of these seven days to spend time in the Presence of God.
As we dedicate ourselves to fasting and prayer, we should expect that God is going to bring His help, guidance, and power. We will be moved from seeking the things that we want for ourselves, to those things that God has for us. The problems will grow smaller and God’s presence and goodness will become that much greater.
Let’s choose to be of one heart and one mind as we fast and pray throughout the week. Because the lives we lead are so busy, we can always help by reminding one another and encouraging participation. And let’s bring our faith, if even a small measure, that the same God who parted the waters and calmed the seas, will begin to bring change and healing to the deep racial wounds that have hurt our nation for so long. And let’s also believe that, as we fast and pray together, the Lord can and will do unexpected miracles and works of grace in our midst.
To help guide us as we fast, a new devotional will be posted on our website blog August 2nd through the 8th. These will also be highlighted on our social media accounts and hardcopies will be made available in the church. They are designed for the whole family with a section for adults and youth, and a third area so parents can walk through a prayer time with children.
And finally, let’s remember to believe that fasting and prayer will bring change–that a difference will be made. The changes will start within us as we humble ourselves and seek God, because no one among us is exempt from the need to grow. Our thoughts and actions will become more closely aligned with heaven. And through the spiritual endeavor of fasting, positive change can happen in our families, our church, and our society. It will happen if our hearts are true, because God honors that kind of fast.
Isaiah 58 (ESV)
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’”