Fasting Week, Intercession, and Intimacy with God
On January 9-15, my church, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF), went through a church-wide prayer and fasting. Corporate prayer and fasting have become an annual practice of my church for already four years.
There is no greater way to start the year than to dedicate a week for prayer and fasting, seeking the Lord and His will. As far as I know, my church is not alone on this matter (Victory Christian Fellowship (VCF), another evangelical megachurch here in the Philippines, also conducted their own fasting week. And I believe there are other evangelical churches doing the same). It’s such an encouraging thought to know that Filipino evangelicals are together on this.
Personally, the fasting week was somehow different than the previous ones. No, I’m not speaking negatively. Rather, I found the week more exciting than before. I was excited at the thought of lifting my personal petitions to the Lord, interceding for my friends (more on this in a while), and expecting Him, by faith, to do the amazing, even in the midst of an empty stomach.
True enough, He did the amazing. There are troubles I encountered along the way, but God was on time to answer my prayers.
Interceding for Friends
Like I said a while ago, I was excited to pray for, or intercede, for my friends. I prayed for lots of my friends and for their requests.
When I prayed for them, I can’t help but be reminded of Epaphras, the pastor of the Colossian church. We read Him praying for his church in Colossians 4:12:
12Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
Actually, he wasn’t just praying or interceding for his people. He was struggling (agonizomai) in praying for them. He went through that agonizing pain of praying for them. Why? Because he wants them to “stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” This pastor of the church in Colosse must have really loved his people! (I’ll be blogging on Epaphras and his struggle in praying in the near future).
It was an honor to struggle in prayer for my friends, just as Epaphras struggled in prayer for the Colossian church. Besides from getting their prayer requests answered, may my friends stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
Intimacy with God
This year, my church’s fasting week was themed Becoming Intimately Dependent on God. Obviously, the focus is on intimacy with God.
I’ll share my thoughts on this. While I was reviewing the prayer lists of my friends, I observed that almost all of them asked for intimacy with the Lord for this year. So what can I draw from this? This only means that intimacy with the Lord is but a normal thing for a Christian.
Now, I don’t mean to say that all Christians pursue intimacy with God. What I’m trying to say is that it is the normal thing to do. If we’re truly a Christian, we should love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength, as the Great Commandment tells us (Mark 12:30). Admittedly, we most of the times fall short on this, right?
Also, I don’t mean to say that all of my friends are sincere about it (though I pray that they are true to it). It’s highly possible that since everybody is doing prayer and fasting, the “pursuit” of intimacy with the Lord could only be a hype for many. Then pretty soon, they abandon this desire, no matter how noble it is.
But we must desire intimacy with the Lord and be true to this desire. The psalmist David writes:
4One thing have I asked of the LORD, / that will I seek after: / that I may dwell in the house of the LORD / all the days of my life, / to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD / and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)
David desired intimacy with God. He was truly a man with a resolve to passionately pursue an intimacy with God. May we become like him. (Read my blog Why Must We Be Intimate with God? for a related discussion).