“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” Joel 1:14
B. Meyer wrote, “Whenever our life is visited by special trials and perplexities, we should withdraw ourselves from common pursuits, and lay bare our heart-secrets, so that we may learn the cause of God’s controversy with us.”
The four things the Prophet Joel calls God’s people to do when facing a national disaster is:
- Declare a holy fast. Joel is calling God’s people to consecrate themselves through the spiritual discipline of fasting. Fasting is more about replacing than it is about abstaining. Replacing daily habits with times for focused attention on God’s word and prayer. Fasting without replacing is nothing but a simple diet.
- Call a sacred assembly. One of the great gifts we can give to the Lord is our time. Joel was calling the people of God to give of their time to feed on God’s word and to pray together with God’s people. Remember, the effort that took place for people to gather together in those days was daunting and sacrificial.
- Summon the elders and all who live in the land. Joel wanted the leaders of every family to come and represent them before the Lord. Who is on your prayer list, and who are you representing to the God of mercy?
- Cry out to the Lord. This is not a sweet bedtime prayer but a soul-shaking prayer for God to relent and move mercifully on behalf of his people. David voices such a prayer, “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:2).
Remember Joel’s call to prayer and fasting is all in the context of repentance. “Put on sackcloth, you priests, and mourn; wail, you who minister before the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, you who minister before my God” (Joel 1:13).
A.W. Tozer wrote, “Repentance isn’t only sorrow for past sins, it’s also a determination to now do the will of God as He reveals it to us.”
So, pastors let us show God our determination to do his will at all cost during this global crisis. Will you join me for a day of fasting, a sacred “zoom meeting”, representing your church and our community as we collectively cry out to the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are inviting all of the pastors, staff, and lay leaders of Converge MidAmerica churches to join us on Tuesday, June 9, for prayer and fasting as we go to God and cry out for mercy.
Please register here to receive the Zoom link in your inbox; we’ll see you on June 9 at 2:00 pm CST.