What is the point of times of Prayer and Fasting?
Why do we do it?
Is it because somebody tells us we should? Is it because we feel guilty and want our guilt removed? Is it because we realize we’ve gotten off track from God and want to get right again?
Yes–all of the above…and then some!
Ultimately, times of prayer and fasting should be because we want a renewed relationship with the Lord.
Many of us have realized that our country has gotten “off track”. What used to be a country that was at least ‘friendly’ to God and His Word has now become increasing antagonistic to it. What used to be a Church that lived for the Lord and His glory has increasingly a church that seeks above all, to fit in and be comfortable and, as a result, have compromised our standards and beliefs.
This week, we’ve also realized, as hard as it is to admit, that we–individually–have lost touch with the One we need. We’ve grown lukewarm in our faith, and have taken on a very tepid feel, so that there’s little contrast between us–as a child of God–and a person who has no faith whatsoever.
We have–as a nation, as a church, and as individuals–become far too comfortable just ‘going along’ in this world.
We think in America in 2015, we don’t need much. We’ve pretty much got it made. We’re pretty safe, pretty comfortable, pretty content.
God sees us differently, just like He recorded about the church in Laodicea.
“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning[e]of God’s new creation:
15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.” (Revelation 3:14-19)
God said to that church–that comfortable, safe, content and lukewarm church–that they were about to be spit out! They thought of themselves as ‘rich’ and without needs. They didn’t realize that they were “miserable, poor, blind and naked”.
The way God viewed them and the way they viewed themselves were very different.
He advises to ‘buy gold from me–that has been purified by fire.”
I believe this is referring to trials, tribulation, and persecution…which the Lord allowed in order to ‘purify’ the Church again.
It is a sad fact: Many of us simply Will Not humble ourselves (see yesterday’s post) unless we face hardship, crisis, or trial.
The Church has historically done much better at ‘Being the Church’ when it is not in the ‘majority’ status. The Church has always been more committed and more pure when it faces opposition.
I believe that this is part of the reason the church in America has been weak over the last few decades–we took for granted our influential status on the country and its culture, and became too enamored with the things of this world. We lost touch with our purpose: To Glorify God. We turned it around and made ‘God’ be about ‘us’!
As a result, we stopped calling for Repentance, Obedience and full-on Worship. We stopped spreading the great news about Jesus and started emphasizing ‘fitting in’. We found ourselves going along with–albeit reluctantly–a culture that celebrated sin, and we started re-interpreting the Word of God to make it more ‘palatable’.
We started bowing down to the ‘gods’ of this age: Popularity, comfort, ease, religious pluralism, moral relativism…
And we grew lukewarm.
Well, today is a new day!
It is time to get white-hot again, on fire for Him–and that will only happen through Prayer and Fasting, Repentance and Obedience, Worship and Service to Him!
He does not want to punish us, but to restore us!
20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 3:20–22)
Are YOU listening?
Do YOU hear?
Will YOU “Open the door” and let Him come in again to restore your ‘spark’ of love, your commitment, and a white-hot vision for His Glory? Will you share it with others, no matter the ‘cost’? Will you live it out in love, service and devoted obedience, even in the face of persecution?
If you will, I believe He will come in and restore us.
Otherwise, we’re in serious trouble.