Because the Holy Spirit makes life an adventure, Christians must boldly follow his lead.
Now, considering these things, and along those lines, the session and I want to challenge each of you. We want to challenge you to a time of fasting and prayer. If there is ever a time to pray and fast, we are living in it now. Normally, on Wednesday, we at MPC have our fellowship meal in the evening, but we are on hold from that for wise reasons. So, instead of feasting, let us fast and pray together in the Lord. We’re asking families and individuals to do this. It is a very biblical practice of God’s people that we see throughout the Old Testament and the New. Jesus himself fasted (Matthew 4:2).
There’s a method to fasting, but let’s start small. If your health allows, on Wednesday, pick a meal (or if you want to skip more that’s fine, but if you’ve never fasted, it is good to start small), so pick a meal, and skip it—don’t snack, but be sure to hydrate. If you can’t fast on Wednesday, pick another day. The important thing is to fast and pray.
Now, fasting isn’t just skipping a meal or a few meals. It is a discipline meant to focus us towards a particular purpose. The particular purpose of this fast, as a congregation, is for heartfelt and diligent prayer along seven points. With your scriptures open (seeking the Lord’s Word), pray to the Lord, and pray diligently.
The first point is …
- Give thanks and praise to the Lord for his many blessings.
- Pray according to whatever the Lord is putting on your heart.
- Pray concerning this whole coronavirus situation (fill in the details—there are so many—a short list includes praying for the Lord’s mercy, our leaders, healthcare workers, healing, for the sick, for a cure, for those who mourn, for protection, and prayer concerning this whole situation’s impact on the community, nation, and world), praying particularly, about how we, as God’s people might be faithful to him during these times.
- Pray the Lord will turn this terrible situation from being a victory for evil, and that he would overcome it, using it, somehow, according to his sovereign will, for his good purposes.
- Pray for revival across the nation, even the world. Pray that if, as people say, things will be different from here on out, then may that difference include a resurgence of faith in the Lord Jesus everywhere.
- Pray with a willingness to obey, when he answers your prayer—even if he’s calling you to missions or ministry in some way.
- And again, pray according to whatever the Lord is putting on your heart.
Lord willing, I’ll send these out on the prayer chain to you, so that you will have them in front of you, when it comes time. I’m also going to send some verses to consider concerning fasting—there are many (Matthew 4:1-2; Matthew 6:16-18; 2 Samuel 1:12; Ezra 8:21-23; Nehemiah 1:4; 9:1-3; Daniel 9:3, 20; Jonah 3:5-10; Esther 4:3; and many more). I recommend a personal study from the scriptures concerning the discipline this week, so that you might go into the fast armed with knowledge as to what you are undertaking.
God bless you in this endeavor. I know fasting might be a new thing for some of you, and for some it is probably a periodic or regular spiritual discipline. It’s part of that journey I preached about, my friends. Let us be faithful and diligent, loving and self-controlled in the Lord.
 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (New York: Ballantine, 1979), 15-16.