Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel and Daniel fasted and prayed. Jesus fasted for 40 days. Paul and the early Christians fasted. In the early Christian Church they fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. Martin Luther was criticized because he fasted too much. John Calvin fasted and prayed until most of Geneva turned to God. John Knox fasted and prayed and the wicked Queen Mary said she feared no weapon like she feared John Knox’s prayers. Jonathan Edwards who was God’s instrument in the revival in New England, fasted and prayed. John Wesley fasted twice a week. Charles Finney one of the greatest spiritual leaders in history was a man who fasted and prayed. D L Moody was not unfamiliar with fasting and praying.
Come brothers and sisters, let us participate in Wesleyan Fast and Pray Campaign in the next four years.
1. The purpose of fasting
1.1 In one accord: Pastors and brothers and sisters of all churches to unite in calling unto God, using one of Wesley’s means of grace (fasting), to pray for God’s grace to revive and renew our churches
1.2 With one focus: Those fasting to focus on drawing near to God, desiring him, repenting for the first love to be rekindled for God, to love God and love people.
1.3 After God’s own heart: those fasting to seek to understand God’s will, look to him alone, stay close to the Holy Spirit and rely on him completely, to do God’s will in the next 4 years (the 10 main emphases; 10 items of God can), to become a church after God’s own heart.
2. The scope of prayer
2.1 Intimacy with God: worship God, meditate on His Word, respond to His Word.
2.2 Intercede for others: Pray for family members, for the church (bishop, presidents, pastors, lay leaders, brothers and sisters in Christ). Confess, give thanks, and pray for the country.
2.3 Pray for yourself: Confess your sins, give thanks, cry out to God. Pray for your service unto God (pastors pray for preaching, etc, church members pray for marketplace ministry, etc), pray for God to use you.
2.4 Prayer content: Use the Lord’s prayer (Mat 6:5-15) as reference, also 2 Chr 20, Neh 1, Dan 9 etc.
2.5 Record God’s grace: While praying, write down what the Lord impresses upon you, and how he answers prayers, as to remember God’s wondrous works.
3. The method of fasting
3.1 Those doing a complete fast will begin after dinner every Thursday, and break fast at 3 pm (the moment when Jesus died) on Friday.
3.2 Those fasting should join the Thursday night prayer meetings. United with brothers and sisters to begin fasting and prayer.
3.3 Those fasting should use the regular meal times to pray. Praying, singing, reading the bible, meditating, being silent, or anything else, is for drawing near to God and trusting in Him fully.
4. Things to note
4.1 During the full fast, you can drink more water, and live your normal life (Mat 6:16-18).
4.2 When breaking fast, do not eat too much too quickly. Eat some light porridge, biscuits, or juice, and then slowly increase the quantity of food intake.
4.3 Save the money otherwise used on food to help the needy (Isaiah 58). This also conforms to John Wesley’s exhortation to “gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can”. Churches can use the money for work of mercy.
4.4 Anyone who is willing to trust God completely is welcome to join this fast. Those unable to do a complete fast due to special reasons e.g. illness, pregnancy, travel etc, are also welcome. In any event, everyone should fast and pray in faith. Remember that fasting without prayer is starvation. Hopefully everyone will fast in the same timeframe, so that we are able to seek God as one.
By Rev Dr Tie King Tai