As I write this post, my city is shut down once again due to an epic snowmageton❄. We have been home bound for days, watching a blizzard blow around us. Ryan is daily fighting with snow to see who will win the battle; the snow, or him as he shovels... and shovels... I have to admit that I am kind of enjoying this time to rest. It gives me time to refocus and take a break from driving my busy kiddos around.
As we are going through this storm I can't help but cry out to the Lord for help. Our city is in a state of emergency as we are being affected by storms, theft, and illness. The question is, how much worse is it going to get? We are seeing increasing need around us. There is a reckless amount of theft and growing violence on our streets. Our streets are littered in a homeless, broken people searching for hope. We had been a lovely community with these things happening behind quiet doors, but just recently this is a rapidly growing problem. It seems to be getting increasingly worse that we can't help but do something because it has started affecting us all now. And I don't mean getting more security around your home though that can be helpful. I am feeling like we need to fight this battle on our knees...
"And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence; and I will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth—to be a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, because they have not heeded My words, says the Lord, which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; neither would you heed, says the Lord." Jeremiah 29:18-19
My heart grieves the destruction we see around us as a result of our distraction. The losses we are facing are extremely painful. We are seeing those we love be affected by theft or addiction or even death. People are getting angrier as theft is rampant. What has caused people to feed into the lie of this world? Lack of hope! And if the next generation sees a world without hope, they will turn to other things out of fear and hopelessness to escape the pain, just as the last few generations have done.
We ourselves have experienced a few break-ins and it feels awful! We were left feeling violated and on edge. Needless to say we are taking all the measures to stay safe. But it doesn't take away the anxiety as we go to bed every night praying we will be safe from attack. My heart groans as our world is shifting and the system doesn't seem to make sense anymore. It's really upsetting to watch the injustice, or even worse, knowing that the next generation is being raised in this broken, unjust world. While we are called to love into the broken places, how do we do this without enabling? How do we raise our children in truth in a fallen world? As it feels like what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right, how much worse does it need to get before we will do something about it?
As I prayed about what to do, this is what our Lord showed me;
Lord, what can we do to restore our city?
The prophet Jeremiah came to mind.
Jonah also comes to mind as He was sent by God to warn the people to repent or He would cause destruction upon them because their sin was so great. The people fasted and repented. God relented and healed their land.
So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying,
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?
Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. Jonah 3:5-10
We need to heed the Lord again. We need to repent from our sin and from what distracts us from living out our calling in Christ. He is calling us to depend on Him, and not to lean on the things of this world. He is calling us to refocus our faith back onto Him. He is calling us away from this dying world...
Lord, How do we repent in sackcloth and fasting ?
He showed me a simple one day a month prayer and fasting day. One day every month, for a year. Praying right from our own work place or living room! Think you could do this? Think how powerful would this be if we all decided to do this. Fasting can be used as an effective tool in repentance. To give the Lord your focus. To give Him your time instead of doing what distracts you. Through fasting He moves to convict and break the chains that cause pain in our lives. It is a powerful and effective tool to bring healing.
It is saying that you Lord are more important than what I enjoy so much.
It causes us to lay our lives down before the Lord and put Him above all. Whatever you are fasting from, spend that time in prayer instead of what you would usually be busy with. It is a time to refocus.
Can you imagine what would happen if we all heeded the word of God again?
I believe we would see huge results of healing in our city, restoration in our lives, and for those around us just by praying. Simple right? You ready for this?
Lord how do we get this message across our city?
Facebook came to mind. We have been given the blessings of amazing resources to be able to share the message of hope and restoration with the world
If my people will just humble themselves and pray....
"Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul." Jeremiah 32:37-41
What a promise from the Lord. He promises us restoration when we surrender our will to His and repent. The yoke of the Lord is easy and the burden is light. God is calling us all to back to Him and away from the distraction of this broken world. God is God and we are not. He alone is the only one who can redeem our hearts and restore what has been stolen from us.
We need the hope of our Savior once again in our city, our hearts, and our homes. How can start a community prayer and fast?
Five simple steps to restoration in your city:
- First day of the month, spend the day in prayer and fasting while you go about your daily activities.
- Set aside some time that day to just listen and worship the Lord
- Write down what you feel in your spirit that He is saying to you
- Share this post and tell others so they can join in the fast.
- Stay connected on my Facebook page (see below to "like" my Facebook page) for prayer and fasting updates.
We will be having this fast and prayer on the first of every month. Will you join me?
Our prayer for this month
Lord remind us to take one day a month for a year to fast and pray for restoration in our cities. Help us to turn our eyes away from the things of this world and back on to you. We need you Jesus. We need to worship you and put our hope into you and you alone. We pray your favor and provision over our land. That you are victorious and you are all we need for this day, this hour to know you and be known by you. Gather your people in prayer to stand in the gap for our cities and our country today. Please bring your favor upon our land once again and may we find favor in your eyes for our land, families and church in Jesus name amen!
We have a responsibility to reach the broken places with the life-giving hope of the Lord but that is another post for another time. Lets start with prayer for this very day, in this hour. May the victory be the Lords!
"Set up a banner in the land,
Blow the trumpet among the nations!" Jeremiah 51:27
"Come along for the ride.O Lord , you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more." Psalms 10:17-18
It is time to get your focus on peeps! What do you have to lose at this point?
Thank you Lord for correcting our hearts and turning us back to you the only one who brings life to our brokenness.
What did you experience in your time of fasting and repentance?