One night last summer I was particularly touched, and troubled, by an online news article about detainees at the southern U.S. border whose children had been taken from them. I don’t remember who the reporter was, just the line that grabbed me: “The mothers never stop crying.”
Immediately, a passage from Jeremiah 31 came to mind, “Rachel, mourning for her children, she refused to be consoled. “
I went to bed with a heavy heart and prayed for the mothers and children, and fathers, for all families and for our country and leaders.
The next day, it got worse. Pictures of children in cages flooded the news, as did reports of the U.S. Attorney General citing scripture, Romans 13, to justify separating immigrant children from their parents. More pointedly, he applied the passage to say that people should not question government laws, just obey them because they were God ordained for the purpose of order. It was a far cry from Rachel crying for her children.
The whole situation, especially the graphic depictions of children and families being ripped apart, made me sick. I wanted to go straightaway to join protesters picketing, or do something, anything to help. I am tied to commitments however, that prohibit me from leaving home. Even knowing that I am where God put me at the moment, this inhumane treatment of innocents, piled on top of so much other distressing global news, made me frustrated that I couldn’t do more than “just” pray. That’s when I decided to step up my fervent prayers with added fasting.
Fasting is not a new concept by any means. The bible talks about “when” you fast, not “if” you fast, and that you fast in order to free the oppressed, and care for the poor, hungry, homeless, and afflicted (Isaiah).
But, for me this was to be no ordinary fast. Six months in now, my fast has evolved, along with a heightened awareness of the world around me. Yes, I still indulge in a dish of ice cream sometimes; but when I do, I’m more thankful for it, and still breathe a prayer for the kids who don’t often, if ever, get ice cream. Overall though, skipping meals sometimes seems like the least I can do.
Awhile back, someone encouraged me to write a blog about fasting, but I resisted. I have always considered fasting something you do just between you and God, a personal thing. At this time however, I decided to make a public case for fasting for a particular reason. It is to ask you to join me. Even now, innocent immigrant children are still in custody. Two have recently died! And numerous distressing national and global news issues inundate us daily.
I believe in the power of prayer, and that the more people who are praying, and fasting, the more powerful the prayer will be. I know some people have health, age, and other dietary restrictions that prevent them from fasting from food; but if you can, will you please consider adding some extra fasting to your fervent prayers?
Our world needs it so much. Thank you.