Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. Ezra 8:21
Ezra is leading the people who have spent their lives in captivity in Babylon, greatly influenced by the culture around them. Their children were born there, and had no first hand memory of worshipping the One True God. Ezra stopped to humble himself and to seek God. They needed Him, and more than that, they needed to know their need of Him, and the right way He had planned for each generation. Even after a generation of captivity in Babylon, Ezra declared God had a right way for them, and He would show them that way if they would pray and fast.
I believe the same is true for us, who are in very similar circumstances in our nation in crisis. And that is why I have decided to join Crestwood Baptist Church in their call to fast and pray for our nation on November 5-7. Frankly, I have seldom joined a church wide fast before. They are usually called for in January, and at a time when the sun is so scarce, I find myself much more susceptible to illness, and I struggle with depression and low energy. It is a difficult time to take care of my business, which involves work both outdoors and indoors, and there is added stress in just getting around in bad weather. Poor excuses? Maybe so. But there is more.
Now I understand why I and 85 percent of the population either never attempt, or fail at fasting. Eating three meals a day of concentrated sugar and processed foods overloads the pancreas, and sets the body in constant insulin load. A healthy body will burn the carbohydrates and sugars consumed, and easily switch over to fat burning for energy. Not so with a body that has been taxed for years with the Standard American Diet. Our sugar cravings become irresistible, and instead of fulfilling the purpose of fasting–to humble ourselves before God and concentrate on hearing from Him–we are consumed with hunger, fatigue, and a physiological need for processed sugar, which many studies show is more addicting than cocaine.
John Calvin said of fasting, “ for want of knowing its usefulness, we undervalue its necessity.” Yes, fasting is necessary. Our nation is in crisis, and fasting is clearly a scriptural method for finding an answer. America used to be able to depend on its president to call for national prayer and fasting in a crisis! Now we must depend on Christians who love America and are willing to intercede.
If you are willing, but share in the struggle, I have a suggestion for myself and for you: the 18-hour fast. Choose a six hour window, where you will eat healthy one ingredient foods–lean meat, fruits and vegetables, and fats such avocados, butter, coconut oil or olive oil. Eliminate all sugar and grains (breads, potatoes, corn, rice), to minimize your body’s demands for sugars, and during your 18 hours of fasting, set aside an hour to seek the Lord and intercede for America. My six-hour window will be between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The rest of my day and night, I have committed to seeking God, confession, and intercession. I hope that most of the adults at Crestwood Baptist will join Pastor Donnie Patrick’s call to seek God for our nation, and I pray that the call will reach beyond one church to our city, our state, and our One Nation Under God. Will you join us?
You can visit our video invitation at https://www.facebook.com/crestwoodbaptistchurch/