For the past two years, we have started the year with a church-wide focus on prayer and fasting. I think that is a wonderful way to begin a year. We have seen God’s hand move mightily among us because of these times of sweet communion with Him. We all believe that prayer and fasting are essential to a healthy walk with Christ. Because of this, we are planning to begin 2012
in the same way. I know it’s only October, but I’m really excited about what God has in store for us in the upcoming year…especially when we put first things first and seek God with all our hearts. I am asking God to use that time as a strengthening and encouraging time for the church. I will be asking God to give us some breakthroughs in 2012, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I don’t think we need to wait until January to pray and fast! I know we can’t reasonably call on the entire church to fast every month—especially going into what one dear brother referred to as “eating season.” However, that doesn’t mean that we all can’t begin to seek the Lord sacrificially even before we go into our time of corporate prayer.
You may not be aware of this, but the economy affects the church’s budget in the same way it affects the household budget. We are really feeling the effects of the broader economic crunch in our nation. But, our problem is NOT a financial one. Our Father owns the cattle of a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10)! In fact, the entire world belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1)! Nor is our problem physical. I know we have space issues, but there are Christians in the world who meet in dark basements to avoid arrest and torture. Their cramped spaces don’t inhibit the gospel. Our problem is also not numerical. We all want to see more people come to our church. But we have already seen hundreds, even thousands, come and go. Some we have reached, and some we have not. There are enough unsaved people within a few miles’ radius of us to fill our sanctuary dozens of times over every Sunday! Not to mention the fact that our ultimate exemplar for ministry never built abuilding, never opened a bank account, and spent the bulk of his life with just 12 men, none of whom really stuck by him when things got toughest.
Paul tells us point blank that “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).” There is a real spiritual battle raging for the soul of this church. If this church accomplishes the vision God has given us, it will absolutely rock the gates of hell. I am sure our enemy would love to make us think we are limited by our finances or by our space or by our numbers, but that is a lie. Jesus promised to build His church so that not even the gates of Hell could prevail against it. That is an invincible promise.
So, how do we begin to see the move of God many of us are desperate for? We pray and we fast. Not just when the entire body does it in January. That is a good time for corporate spiritual discipline, but our situation is too critical to wait. God is calling individuals to fast and pray for His glory to be poured out among us. God is leading some of you who are reading this blurb to commit some extra time each day to calling out to God for our church family. I urge you to answer that call. The future of our church depends upon it and so does the eternal future of those in this community we are called to reach.