*Fast with Purpose…to express concern for the work of God
1 ) Silence, stillness, and centering before God (2min)
2) Scripture Reading – Nehemiah 1:1-11 Click to Read
3) Devotional Just as a parent might fast and pray out of concern for the work of God in the life of a child, so we may fast and pray because they feel a burden for the work of God in a broader scope. One might feel compelled to fast and pray for the work of God in a place that has experienced tragedy, disappointment, or apparent defeat. This was the purpose for Nehemiah’s fast when he heard that despite the return of many Jewish exiles to Jerusalem, the city wall had no wall to defend it. After his fast, Nehemiah then went to work to do something tangible and public to strengthen this work of God.
A devoted believer in this rhythm of fasting, David Brainerd’s concerns for the work of God frequently found expression in fasting and prayer. In his journal entry for June 14, 1742, he demonstrated his concern for the work he believed God had called him to do.
I set apart this day for secret fasting and prayer, to entreat God to direct and bless me with regard to the great work I have in view, of preaching the gospel…God enabled me to wrestle ardently in intercession for absent friends…The Lord visited me marvelously in prayer; I think my soul never was in such an agony before. I felt no restraint, for the treasures of divine grace were opened to me. I wrestled for absent friends, for the ingathering of souls, for multitudes of poor souls, and for many that I thought were the children of God, personally, in many distant places.
Although, we will not fast continually, the Lord may at least may occasionally give us a concern for His work so great that our normal concern for food or other things we fast from will seem secondary in comparison.
4) Questions to Consider
Can you think of any place of God’s work that has experienced tragedy, disappointment, or apparent defeat? Do you find yourself in a similar situation? How is God leading you to serve or to pray in the work He is doing?
Lord Jesus, I know You are working in me. Thank you for loving me. I want to be right with you, to be close to you, and to know you. Help me to be sensitive to Your Holy Spirit and guide my hand, my path, and my prayers in what You are doing. I love you. In Your Name. Amen.
*portions of today’s Daily Office have been taken from “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney