At the time I'm writing this, it seems like there's a lot of turmoil in the world. We're a couple of months out from a significant kidnapping in Nigeria. Russia and Ukraine are not on great terms. And we're hearing that all of the Christians have been purged from Mosul, Iraq.
All of this reminds me of Jesus's words in Matthew 24:4-8
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
One of my friends and a former guest of the Engaging Missions show, Sean Steckbeck is remarkably close to the situation in Israel right now has asked his friends to enter into a partial fast. Regardless of your opinion of these conflicts, who's right and who's wrong, or your particular views on the role of government in these, I'd like to invite you to join him (and me) in this fast. I'll have a little more about what he's asking for in a minute.
A Side Note
This is a big step for me. As I shared in a lesson last night, fasting has been a place of brokenness in my life for the past few years. I tend to shy away from it. But I feel like God is calling me into this space again.
Perhaps he's calling you as well.
Laying a Foundation
You may or may not have practiced fasting in the past. If you're unfamiliar with it, I'd like to point you to Richard Foster's book, Celebration of Discipline for more information.
There's a little about this fast that's different from what you may have practiced in the past. First, we're not asking for a TOTAL fast. Rather, that you pray and ask that God show you what, if anything, you should give up as part of this.
Second, most fasts are times of prayer and withdrawal. But for this fast, we're asking that it be a fast that includes action. There will be some points that follow the Scripture in just a second.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
What we're asking
Credit where it's due. I've copied this pretty much directly from Sean's newsletter but before we get to that I'd like to prepend one prayer target to this list because of what Curt Bryson shared last week.
Pray that God would open our eyes and that we would clearly see that He is in control.
This is directly from the newsletter
I am calling for the first 21 days of August to counter the demonic onslaught of the last 30 days of the Fast of Ramadan. I encourage you to give up something whether it be coffee, alcohol, sugar, television, and any other pleasure for the sake of the brethren suffering around the world now. Instead we can do the following:
- Pray for your Jewish and Arab brothers and sisters in the Middle East that are suffering from this demonic onslaught of Islam to be victorious and stand.
- Pray for the salvation of Muslims and that the yoke of Islam will be broken off of them.
- Pray for the schemes of terrorism to be foiled and for the authorities who are called to stop them (whether it be Israel, Egyptian, American, or other international authorities).
- Pray for Israel and the Jewish people to be protected from an onslaught of anti-Semitism.
- Find ways to aid Syrian, Gazan, and Iraqi brothers and sisters in the Lord who are refugees, research and do your homework to good Christian aid agencies.
- Volunteer to help these refugees.
- Reach Muslims and do a “Love Your Enemy” campaign by reaching out to your Muslim neighbors, which is the greatest weapon of spiritual warfare against Islam. Step up your evangelism in love to them.
- Reach out and show love to local Arab Christian community who is grieving right now.
- Reach out and show your love and support for Israel.
- Speak to your government and Congressmen on behalf of Christians in Iraq, Gaza, and Syria, as well as support for Israel and the Jewish people.
Will you join us in this? Leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to so we can connect on this.
Photo credit: gypsydawg (Creative Commons)