Greetings, friends. One of the most beautiful promises in the Bible is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14—"If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
If ever there was a time to pray and seek God's face, it is now. Today, amid mounting crises and polarization across societies, is the time to humble ourselves and ask for God's wisdom and guidance in carrying forward the mission and message He has asked us to share with the world.
This coming Sabbath, April 3, has been designated as one of four special days of Prayer and Fasting throughout the year. Why a day for prayer and fasting? Because it helps us, in a special way, to focus on the Lord, and our need of Him. We fast because we are in earnest for God's blessing--not that it is a way to "earn" that blessing, though. Fasting and prayer allows us to set aside everyday distractions and to focus more fully on connecting with God.
In Matthew 6:17 we read, "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Notice that this text says, "when you fast," not "if." So, we see that fasting is a part of the Christian's life. Interestingly, if we study all the fasts in the Bible, we find that every time God's people prayed and fasted, God worked mightily on their behalf, offering deliverance and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Fasting has always been part of the lifestyle of believers, just like prayer and Bible study. In fact, every major character in the Bible fasted.
We are told, "Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food" (Counsels on Diet and Food, pp. 188, 189).
You see, fasting is more than just skipping meals--it is choosing to do without something in order to pray more intentionally, and to focus more fully. Many choose to skip meals, but not everyone can do without food completely, and not everyone chooses this type of fast. Some other ideas might include choosing to eat more simply, or fasting from social media, television, or other time-consuming habits. I invite you to pray about what kind of fast the Lord would lead you to do. But whatever you do, it's important to remember that fasting isn't about earning a heavenly reward. The main point is to remove distractions so we can seek Jesus more wholeheartedly.
The Revival and Reformation team here at the General Conference has prepared a beautiful packet of materials, including a program outline, story, sermon and more, encouraging churches and individuals to participate in this very special day. I invite you to visit revivalandreformation.org to download this free packet
Friends, what a privilege it is to draw close to the Lord through prayer and fasting. May He guide each one of us as we seek Him with all of our hearts on this special day.
Let's pray together. Father in heaven, we ask that you will help us to focus our attention upon you. Help us to put aside those things which will interrupt our direct connection with heaven. Lord we long for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We long for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit, we plead for you to send that latter rain so that the work will go like lightning around the world. We want to go home. So Lord, bless those who will be participating in fasting and prayer, whatever fast that may be lord you direct individuals in some way to focus more clearly upon their relationship with you, so that you can impress them as to what they can do for you in these last days of earth’s history. Thank you for hearing us in this prayer. We commit ourselves into your care. In Jesus' name we ask it, amen.