Three unique situations recorded for us in the New Testament show a connection between fasting and prayer.
- Seeking His face. The prophetess Anna “never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (Luke 2:37, NIV; emphasis added).
- Seeking His hand. Jesus instructed His disciples about a demonic stronghold, saying, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21, NASB; emphasis added).
- Seeking His heart. The church at Antioch was seeking God’s will in regard to sending out Saul and Barnabas: “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:2-3, NKJV; emphasis added).
Fasting helps us focus. And prayer directs that focus to the One who alone can fulfill His promises, bring breakthrough to impossible situations and clearly reveal His preferred will.
Never has the world been so ready for a global move of God. And is it possible that His people can participate in helping usher that in? These New Testament stories clearly indicate that God desires a partnership with His people, and that He often moves to act on their behalf. No human strategies will ever replace the spiritual disciplines that usher in God’s power.
Human suffering, sex trafficking, persecution, natural disasters, racism, mass killings, domestic violence, terrorism, culture wars— it seems as if our world is more broken than ever and needs a divine intervention. People are desperate. Who knows what prayers will release an avalanche of divine breakthrough?
My theology rests very simply in a God who invites us to pray and a belief that He will respond to the prayers of His people. After all, prayer was His idea, not ours. I’m convinced that a global effort to approach the throne of God on behalf of our hurting world will not be in vain. If the church doesn’t step up in this most crucial hour, who will?
No human strategies will ever replace the spiritual disciplines that usher in God’s power.
—Glenn Burris Jr.
I asked Sri Lanka Foursquare National Leader Leslie Keegel, who also serves as the co-chair of Foursquare’s Global Council, to consider putting together a 21-day prayer focus for our international family. I knew the U.S. church would participate, and wondered if it resonated with his heart. Leslie is a man that I know waits on and hears from God. His entire ministry focus has been founded on watching God do the miraculous and then starting ministries where He does.
He spent time in prayer concerning my request and then enthusiastically agreed to help. He just told me that more than 1,000 people from Sri Lanka will join in this global effort. Foursquare has more than 8 million constituents around the world, and we are extending an invitation through their national leaders and pastors to join us in A Global Call to Prayer + Fasting, beginning Jan. 1, 2016, for 21 days.
On Dec. 28, 2015, we will release the entire prayer focus. Each day, beginning Jan. 1, a daily prayer focus will be delivered via email to all credentialed ministers in the U.S., national leaders, and to others who sign up. We are asking for global partnership with Foursquare churches around the world.
We are inviting you to encourage your friends, family, ministry partners, staff members and congregants to sign up to receive these daily reminders to pray. This will be the first-ever global Foursquare prayer and fasting focus. We want to shake things up in the heavenly realms. We want to experience personal and corporate breakthrough, as never before. We want to be part of ushering in God’s promises and plans. We want to experience closeness to God that will melt away the constrictions of this present world.
While we are not specifically giving fasting instructions, it is vitally important to see the spiritual accelerant that fasting is. It helps bring focus and discipline. It changes our routine and prioritizes our spiritual direction. It helps clear away the clutter and allows us to hear God’s voice more clearly. Combined with prayer, fasting takes us into a spiritual stratosphere that wars against Satan’s strongholds.
We’re asking that you consider fasting something that would be a personal sacrifice for those 21 days. Some will fast from food or particular foods. Others will choose activities. Personally, I will be fasting Facebook and Twitter for those 21 days, as well as some specific foods that I love. I’m anticipating stories that will testify to miraculous breakthroughs in many arenas.
From a personal standpoint, I’m contending for some things that I really desire God to do. I want to experience an encounter with God as never before. I need to “seek His face,” I plan to “seek His hand,” and I want to “seek His heart.” Please join Leslie, our global family and me in this specific call for a 21-day fasting and prayer focus.
Sign up below to receive A Global Call to Prayer + Fasting daily emails, which will be sent Jan. 1–22, 2016, as well as the Foursquare Leader Prayer email, sent each Monday.