When in trouble. . .fast

25 Mar

This morning’s reading is from Nehemiah.  He has just hear that the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and the gates set on fire.  The chosen people of God are in trouble.   Nehemiah response is to fast and pray.

I think about Gandhi’s response to the violence in India was to fast and pray.  Maybe we misnamed the event when we called it a hunger strike.  For a hunger strike, you just stop eating.  To fast, you humble yourself before God, focusing your mind, body and spirit towards the Divine with nothing to distract you.

Wednesday,  A normal fast                              Nehemiah 1:4-11

When I heard these words I sat down and wept, and mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God of heaven. I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments; let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Both I and my family have sinned. We have offended you deeply, failing to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the ordinances that you commanded your servant Moses.Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place at which I have chosen to establish my name.’ 10 They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great power and your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man!”

So, what do we do when we are in trouble?  Nehemiah was fasting because his people were in trouble and he was their leader, but what do we do when trouble is knocking on our door?  I know that many of us prayer, and seek a good friend to talk to, but I wonder what would happen if we also choose to fast for time.  This would not be like our appetite deserting us when we are upset, but an intentional focusing on God.  To opening lay out the hurt, and pain, and problem before God, fast and pray, and then look for the healing that God’s presence can bring.

Just wondering. . . Peace

 

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