And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:44)
Jesus was certainly passionate about praying and fasting, and seeing that kind of passion in present day saints is encouraging. Just this week, I was inspired by the story one of our commentators (ToniHD) told about praying one night from 10:00 p.m. until daybreak without recognizing it. So that the rest of us wouldn’t feel too intimidated she did go on to say it only happened once :-). Having found inspiration in Toni’s story I thought I would wrap up our discussion of challenges to Prayer and Fasting with another inspiring story. I have again selected an excerpt from the book entitled “The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected” by Nik Ripken. The author tells of sharing stories one night with believers in the underground church in China. He told them about the oppressive circumstances some Muslim-background believers had to live under. The excerpt below recounts what happened the next morning:
“At 6:00 the next morning I was awakened by screaming and shouting outside in the compound. My first thought was that the security police had come……. I spotted my friend David across the way and I rushed over to him. I demanded to know: ‘what in the world is going on?’ He told me to be quiet and listen. ‘ You know I don’t know a word of Chinese,’ I told him. ‘What do you mean “just listen”’?
Again he insisted, ‘Just be quiet, Nik!’ Before I could protest again, he took me by the arm and began to walk me among these people who were crying and screaming. Because I was now silent, I actually began to hear and recognize the names of the two Muslim countries that I had told them about the night before. The names of those two countries were being repeated again and again in passionate anguished prayer.
When David stopped and turned to look at me, there were tears streaming down his face. He said, ‘They were so moved by what you shared last night about believers who were truly persecuted, that they have vowed before God that they will get up an hour earlier every morning to pray for those Muslim-background believers”.
When have you been driven to exhibit this kind of passion in prayer and possibly also fasting?