Aug 28, 2009

Seven Days and Counting--Power in Fasting

I took sometime yesterday and today to fast and pray for the upcoming ministry to Burundi. This is a powerful discipline that I have grown to appreciate whenever I am entering a season of intense ministry or tremendous personal life changes. It allows me to hear God more clearly, draw great strength and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, and focus on the mission at hand. I need all these at the moment as I prepare the messages for the thousands of people we will minister to in Africa. I had also invited our ministry leadership and travelling teams to fast and pray alongside as they are able. Over the years we have found this to be a critical piece in team preparation as we are unified in our purpose and mission. I got thinking about Jesus' encounter with the demoniac and his response to the disciples' inquiry as to why they could not cast out the demon. The story is in Matthew 17:14-22. In the story, Jesus and his disciples are surrounded by a crowd. Then a man comes falling at Jesus feet pleading for him to cure his demon possessed son. He also informs Jesus that His disciples were unable to cure the youngman. Jesus proceeds to cure him. While it is common throughout the gospel of Matthew for Jesus to rebuke his disciples for their lack of faith as he does in this instance, he does however add something else. In verse 21 He says, "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." Of course some translations point out that this verse does not appear in the earliest manuscripts. Some biblical scholars do therefore argue that it is possible it was added later by a zealous scribe. But is it not true that fasting and prayer bring with them tremendous break-through? One point of praise: Yesterday I shared with you that we need to raise $ 19,000 over the next few days to meet our budgetary needs for Burundi. I did declair my faith and confidence that God was going to provide in time. Well, today my faith continues to be affirmed. Provisions are coming in and now what we need is $ 13,000. As I shared with you, faith is trust that the invisible hand of God that beckoned you to follow will also provide and sustain you with its in-exhaustible resources. I know that God's hand beckoning us toward this work will supply and sustain us until it is completed. Glory to God! You wanto to help reach out to the people of Burundi? Visit our secure website @ http://www.swimministry.org/.

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