Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fasting and Prayer (Part I)

By Odon Bulamba

We are going to look in the book of Daniel. Daniel was a prophet and God was with him. Most people only know the story about the lions’ den but forget that Daniel did something before this and that God was always with him. What was the secret for Daniel so that God would protect him from difficult situations?

Daniel 9:3. “So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes”.

Daniel started to fast. Today we are not going to talk about his clothes and what he wore (maybe we’ll talk about it another day and you can also discover yourself what sackcloth and ashes mean). Today we are only talking about fasting. Is it necessary that someone fast? We can see that Daniel fasted and God was close to him each moment. Although he was close to God, every day he would fast. When Jesus started his ministry and even though He was God Himself, He fasted. So what does fasting mean? Can someone give me the answer?

According to what we know and what the Bible tells us most people when they fast don’t see fruit. Sometimes people don’t sleep to show God they are going through a hard time so that through their sacrifice God will hear them. To fast is to pray, but it’s a prayer that is amplified and you can find this prayer in Isaiah 58.

If you start from verse six and then revert to verse three you’ll see that something is opposite. Some people can pray and fast but God doesn’t accept their prayer and the only reason is that they don’t do what is quoted in verse 6 to the end. You might fast from food and sleep, but if you don’t fulfil the Will of God, what you are doing is nothing.

God says, “those who are bound must be released.” How many people have you released in your life? God will be very happy when you go and see sinners and bring them to Him. Go and see them in the Devil’s prison and release them from their sins. How will you do that? The Bible says we can draw people to God by first reaching to them and then showing them our lives.

In verse 7 it says “we must share with those who are hungry.” In Hamilton we can see how many people starve to death every day from spiritual hunger. Many people need the Word of God in their lives, many people come to us to find a solution to their problems, but we answer them according to our will, we don’t want to share what we have with them. I know Christians who are ashamed to say they are Christians. When they are among a crowd, they hide their Christianity. Sometimes when they pray they look right or left to see if anybody is looking.

In Africa and in most parts of the world, when Christian’s meet each other you never forget each other. First, their greeting is something different. If I meet Sylvie for instance I say, “Praise the Lord Sister” and she will say “amen.” Pagans will watch us and say, “What is this greeting?” Pagans must know we are Christians and we must be proud of our nationality. Many Christians today are ashamed to say “Halleluiah” and to say “Amen” is a problem. So will it be better when you are with your boss or friends at work and they say “Praise the Lord?” Will you then say “Amen”?

Sylvie told me once that one of her students was a Christian but Sylvie did not know that she was a Christian even after many days and months. I have never seen that a rat can forget a cat, or the cat can forget a rat. Our God says “we must not do that, we must share our bread with those who are hungry.” Rich people have a hunger along with the poor. Although you are rich, your stomach will tell you something, although you are a millionaire, your stomach will ask for food. The poor are the same. Spiritual life is the same, and we all need to eat spiritual food. In order to have a good fast you must share with those who are hungry.

The Bible says we must give clothes to those who are naked and those who are naked are sinners. So we must do everything we can to clothe our brother and sisters. You might tell me, “it is impossible to visit this person,” but when you are home pray that God will help this person to be saved and God will help. If you don’t make an effort when you are fasting you can be sure your fasting is in vain.

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