February 13, 2012

Ezra 8:23

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and He answered our prayer.

 

I love the story of Ezra, and in this particular piece of passage we can read how Ezra is leading back his people to Jerusalem. He asked the king for this favor and told the king that it was God who wanted the people to be returned and the city to be rebuilt. Ezra runs into a few problems and is worried with cause. He then summons the people with him and asks that they join him in a fast and prayer. They are going to ask God for a safe journey. Ezra does not want to ask the king, for he wants to show the king that God can and will take care of His own.

The season of fasting is upon us; Ash Wednesday is February 22nd. Traditionally during this time you give up something as a sacrifice for 40 days. These are the days Jesus spent in the desert and fasted and prayed to His Father. I think it is good for us to remember that time and for us to follow His example. If we follow the example of Jesus during that time then we will not only fast but we will pray. That is the part of fasting and praying that escapes us. This year don’t let it escape you. This year make it a part of your Lenten promise.

I strongly believe that God does honor our prayers, and I think He is especially moved when He sees us fast and pray. That is because He sees us sacrifice for what we are praying about. So what is it that is weighing heavy on your heart that is worth fasting and praying for?

Do you want to be closer to God and know Him on a deeper level?

Do you want a loved one healed?

Do you want someone to accept Jesus as their Savior?

Do you want to take better care of yourself and the world?

Do you want to be more like Jesus and be more loving?

 

What is it you want to do that is so important you are willing to fast and pray?

Me? I am fasting and praying for Gary’s recovery. I have been praying for that since the night I pulled him off the bed and did CPR. Now, during the season of Lent, I am going to fast and pray for my husband. I am going to sacrifice in order to show God that I am truly depending upon Him to heal Gary.

After Ezra had the people fast and pray they set on their way.

Ezra 8:31, 32

On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and He protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem, where we rested for three days.

They not only arrived in Jerusalem safely but they got 3 days of rest. I would love 1 day of rest, 3 days would be a mini vacation for me. I know what I am going to do this Lenten season. I am going to fast and pray and ask God to heal Gary. What are you going to do? Let us pray.

Father God, as the season of Lent approaches I am preparing myself to sacrifice for 40 days. During that time, Father, I want to give up, fast from what it is that You impress upon me. Forbid me, Father, to fast just to lose weight. Forbid me, Father, to fast just to look holy. Forbid me, Father, to fast for any reason other than to show You the commitment I am making to praying for my petition. Father, let my fast be glorifying to You. This I pray in Jesus’ Name.

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