TUESDAY DAY 28
FASTING AND INTERCESSION
Scripture Reading: Nehemiah 1:4
Throughout Scripture and church history, fasting and intercession have been intimately linked to each other. Over and over again people fasted when they wanted God’s help. Moses fasted for forty days before he received the Law (Exodus 34:28). Hannah fasted as she begged God to give her a child (1 Samuel 1:7-8). Nehemiah fasted for the restoration of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4). The entire city of Nineveh fasted in response to Jonah’s call to repent (Jonah 3:5). Daniel fasted as he prayed for insight from the Lord (Daniel 9:3). Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast prior to a battle (2 Chronicles 20:3). Jesus Himself fasted before beginning His public ministry (Matthew 4:1-2). St. Paul fasted after his conversion (Acts 9:8-9). The elders of the church at Antioch were fasting and praying when the Holy Spirit told them to set aside Paul and Barnabas for their first missionary trip (Acts 13:1-2).
Fasting does not change God, it only helps us to be more open, available and express our hunger and prioritization of God above everything else. It humbles us and makes us more dependent on the Lord. By fasting we seek divine intervention. By fasting we ask God to fill us with His power, grace, healing, comfort, guidance, or support. Fasting makes us more pliable and less self-oriented.
Once when the apostles were unable to deliver a demon Jesus said, “This kind” comes out only by fasting and prayer (Mark 9:29). Likewise, there are serious needs—sicknesses, unemployment, broken relationships, depression—that may require prayer and fasting. If you have a specific, pressing need or an important decision to make, consider turning to the Lord with fasting and prayer. If you are relatively new to this discipline, begin slowly. Maybe give up one meal and spend the time in earnest prayer. You may want to try this once a week, and then slowly build up to a more regular fast. But always be careful to consider your health and energy. It may also be a good idea to consult your doctor before trying anything too demanding. The goal, is simply to make ourselves more available to the Lord.
MASS: RED: 1 Jn 1: 5 – 2: 2; Ps 124: 2-3. 4-5. 7cb-8(R. 7ab); Accl. We praise you, O God; we acclaim you as the Lord; the white-robed army of martyrs sings your praise. Gospel Mt 2: 13-18 HOLY INNOCENTS, MTS F
1. Look with favour, Lord, on Your household. Grant that, though our flesh be humbled by abstinence from food, our souls, hungering after You may be radiant. As I fast I beg You Lord, come, my Light, and illumine my darkness. Come, my Life, and revive me from death. Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds. Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins, kind my heart with the flame of thy love.
Exercise: Reflect on Isaiah 58:6
Meditation: Ezra 8:21-23