There is a prayer seminar coming up soon and for those of you who live close by, I would highly recommend it. I don't have an inside track to the outline or the notes but I am confident in God's work in SKH's heart toward prayer and fasting. Please sign up quickly if you desire to go, it will be well worth the time and dollars as your hearts will be encouraged and probably admonished.
Discipline is good. Spiritual discipline is better. A heart to follow hard after God is best. Before we leave I have to take another opportunity to talk about Is. 58. What a great passage centered around what we are trying to see happen, not only in our lives, but also in the lives of others.
In this chapter God is telling Isaiah what to tell His people. The Israelites had been doing all that God had required of them. They were seeking Him daily, they found delight in knowing His ways, they fasted, they humbled themselves, but God was not happy with what they were doing. Isn't He the One who set this all up? Didn't He tell them to do all this stuff? Why is He not happy with them if He told them what to do and they did it?
Does this sound like the American Church? Doing, Doing, Doing. God told them to do all these things ad they did them, BUT they also did some other things that took away the sweetness of the offering; these things took away from the fasting they were doing.
What kind of fast does God choose? Notice-God does choose that we fast. But what goes along with the fasting? It is not to just follow all the requirements, but it is to care for those whom God has a heart for- the poor and needy.
6"Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
9bIf you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted.
God adds a multiplicity of blessings that are connected to doing these things, but His heart is for these people. If, when we are fasting and praying, we rise from our fasting and praying and we go back to oppressing our workers, if we hoard our food and clothing, if we place heavy burdens on others but take only a small load ourselves, then God is not going to listen to or see our spiritual discipline and will just ignore it. The Israelites had done all that God had required of them, except they did it all with the wrong heart. They went from fasting today to beating others tomorrow. God doesn't honor this type of behavior.
When you fast and pray and do the "church thing" do you go home and take it out on your family? You are hungry and the entire world is going to suffer for it? I have been guilty of this more than once. That is why Jesus taught us to fast w/o looking gloomy. If we're fasting and grumpy about it, we should just eat, because no amount of NOT eating is going to atone for our bad attitude.
So, fast and pray for our trip, but do it following hard after God. Don't take it out on your family. When you are fasting and praying look at your own life and see what changes God is calling you to.
I am hoping that SKH will talk about fasting in the seminar.