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?
March 24, 2017 at 11:59 am
I really don’t know. I think I may be guilty of being passionate in prayers only when I need God.
Guilty as charged ! I do know now and for some years now that we must pray and talk to our God and not wait for situations to pray.
As I grow in the Word I seem to be more connected with my Saviour.
Maybe soon I can evolve to a higher level .
March 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm
I have exhibited passion that when your cry comes from the pit of your stomach it literally hurts. As the scripture today says (And being in anguish), there have been times when I’m in anguish not knowing how to fix a situation that pertains to family, and I’m totally helpless , tormented, confused and weak.
However I feel guilty that this kind of passion has never been for anyone outside of my immediate family. I’ll continue to pray that I’ll be touched with that kind of passion for my neighbour.
March 24, 2017 at 5:45 pm
There have been times in my life when I have felt my life depended on hearing/knowing the will of God. Other times I have fasted and pray for the healing of family and friends. In some instances my prayers were answered with a yes, sometimes no and other times wait. During these times, regardless of the answer, I have walked away knowing God was present.
March 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm
The need to expand the “passion boundary” (for example beyond family and friends) when it comes to praying and fasting is certainly worthy of deeper reflection. Thanks ever so much for these reflections! In a way they shine a light on who and/or how we love deeply.
March 24, 2017 at 8:42 pm
I love the Lord
March 24, 2017 at 9:48 pm
The earnest prayers of God’s people are a sweet swelling aroma to the Lord (e.g.Psalm 141:2)
My heart is not burdened to pray for others beyond my inner circle. The prayers I’ve offered for those outside this circle sounds like platitudes to my ears. Therefore I imagine how they must assail the senses of my Precious Lord given His holy distaste for lukewarmness among His people (e.g. Revelation 3:16)
There is a story about an American teenager who tragically killed 4 people and injured 9 while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. By way of sentence he received a ‘slap on the wrist’ – 10 years probation and therapy after his lawyers successfully argued that the teen had ‘affluenza’ and needed rehabilitation instead of prison. The argument made was that the teenager was brought up in an environment of considerable wealth and privilege, in which his parents did not place limits on his behavior, he did not know that his actions had consequences. The young man has since violated his probation and has been re-arrested.
I wonder if the Church in the affluent West does not suffer a type of ‘affluenza’ – unlike our brethren in the East – it has been graciously spared persecution, worshiping freely, with abundant resources. The Church has grown fat and insulated – embracing the values of the West and diluting GOD’s word to suit worldly appetites. Shunning discipline and devaluing what is holy. Is it little wonder our hearts have grown cold?