My word for the year is prayer. At the end of 2015, I took some time to reflect and pray and ask God for a spiritual focus for 2016. I can’t remember how, but the verse God led me to was Luke 2:37…she never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. I have been doing a lot of praying this year, but I haven’t fasted except during Lent. I usually fast when there is something really important coming up. I do have a concern regarding a major decision that I am powerless over, so I thought I would gear up my prayer with fasting once a week. I don’t see fasting as a way to make God more inclined to do what I want Him to do. Rather, I see it as a way to remind myself of how dependent I am on God’s grace and through my tangible efforts. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that reminds me that the best I can do is entrust my concerns to His care. When I go without food as a reminder to myself that I am called to pray for a certain concern, I am acknowledging that prayer is my only hope. Adding fasting to my prayers has given me more confidence that I am doing the absolute best by turning my concerns over to God.
Just after I decided to fast for my concern, I felt the Lord nudging me to use this same time of fasting to pray for our country. My personal concern and God’s mercy and love for our country have become the focus of my weekly fast. I can’t tell you how much peace I have about the future of our country despite the rising concerns we are facing, including being in the mall to shop for a new dress. I don’t have confidence that all the ills of our country will be resolved. I don’t have confidence that we as a country are not prime for receiving the natural consequences of ignoring God’s instructions for living in blessing and peace. I do have confidence that God hears my prayers and the prayers of many other Christians in this nation who are looking to Him and Him alone for hope. Fasting has absolutely been more of a blessing for me than anything else. This result has surprised me. I come away from my times devoted to prayer with deeper confidence that God hears our prayers and that God alone knows what is best for us. I am confident that He will lead and guide me and never leave me, no matter what the future holds.
There are less than 40 days until the 2016 election. If you would like to join me in prayer for our nation, this could be the best time to consider praying for the next 40 days until and after the election. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a great encouragement about prayer for our county:
if my people who are called by my name 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.
What would delight the Lord more than for His people to unite in their awareness of the sins we have committed against Him and cry for His mercy?
I would love every reader to devote the next 40 days to pray over our nation and vote in this election Pray as One has a prayer guide that you can follow. I’m grateful that my church is calling all our members to 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting before the election and providing a devotional to use during these days. You can find it at pcbc.org/prayer/40-days-prayer/
No matter what the outcome of this election, focusing on the sovereign power of God is the only path to peace.