2 Chronicles 7:14 - “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
For most of us, our motivations in fasting are personal. We are sure you are finding those benefits personally. But the promises of fasting can also impact our communities and our nation.
In the Bible there are two cases where fasting literally changed a nation and changed history.
Firstly, the city of Nineveh was in trouble. It was full of wickedness and headed for destruction. Jonah took God’s message of impending destruction to Nineveh and the people took God seriously. Their only hope was to cry out to God through prayer and fasting… and that’s what they did. They repented and fasted before God as a nation. God listened and relented. Their repentance through fasting and prayer turned His judgment of their sin.
God changed His mind because of Nineveh’s prayer and fasting. Their corporate fast released God’s mercy and preserved their nation. The course of history was changed because of the prayer and fasting of Nineveh’s citizens. Apart from repentance and fasting Nineveh would not have been saved. The city was not judged for another 200 years after that time.
Secondly, the Jews were on the verge of annihilation because of the evil plot of Haman, one of the king’s advisers. Haman was enraged because a Jew named Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour. Mordecai went to Queen Esther, his niece, for help. His request meant that she would have to risk her life. It was dangerous for her to approach the king unless she had been summoned. So Esther called a fast. Those three days – just 72 hours – of fasting changed the story completely. When Esther approached the king she received favour. She obtained favour not only for herself, but for her people. Instead of destruction and death, they received honour and promotion – because of three days of fasting and prayer.
We can help change the history of our own nation through fasting and prayer. The responsibility is ours – not another Christian’s, not another church’s, not another generation’s responsibility. It is ours.
Some of us are feeling a lot when we think about our nation right now. You might be feeling compassion. You might be feeling frustration. You might be seeing and feeling the immense need. Turn your compassion and all that you feel into prayer - pray prophetically into the situation.
When you see or hear things on the news that bothers you, pray.
When you see needs that burden you, pray.
This is a time to intercede.
Intercession = prayer on behalf of another. It is standing in the gap.
We have the incredible privilege of being able to intercede on behalf of our nation, to stand in the gap for our nation.
You can’t carry the burden and all that you feel yourself. But you can pray.
You have the life of Christ in you and the power of God released through your prayers – therefore, you can affect change!
Let’s pray today for the leaders in our nation. Let’s pray for the Gospel to be spread and for new initiatives to be birthed that will spread the Gospel. Let’s pray for our churches to grow because of the rapid increase of salvations. Let’s pray for the needs we see across our land. Let's pray for the peace and prosperity of our people. Let’s stand in the gap.
There are many things you may desire to see changed in our nation, but let the greatest of all your prayers be that people right across NZ would find hope and freedom in Christ.