The Pennsylvania Farm Show, always a clear sign that we are fully committed to brand new year. People often associate the Farm Show with two things: bad weather and good food! Sorry about bring up food as we enter the third week of a season of fasting. The Farm Show is an example of taking an industry that is often working in rural out of the way places and puts it all on public display for all to see and appreciate.
So what does this have to do with our time of fasting. Increasingly, the world we live in tells us followers of Jesus Christ that our faith is to remain private and unseen. Yet Jesus tells us to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Jesus calls us to be godly influencers of the world around us. There are many ways that we can do that, but I think it ultimately all begins in prayer. For this third and final week of our season of prayer and fasting we build on the prayers of the past two weeks and add focused and specific prayers for the community around us.
1. Ask God to open your eyes to the world around you. When we live and work in the same environment day after day we can become blind to needs that are right in front of us. Ask God to give you “fresh eyes” as you look at your surroundings.
2. As God opens our eyes we can ask Him to change our heart. We often look at the world from our own perspective (which makes sense), but what would we see if we asked God to give us His heart for those around us.
3. As we ask God to open our eyes and our hearts, we then ask Him to open our minds. We can ask Him for His wisdom so that we would know the best and most effective way to respond to what we see.
4. Ask God to work through our hands. We all have talent, skills, and experience that we can bring to an opportunity to influence and care for those around us, but we can also ask God enable us to be far more effective in our actions than what we would naturally be.
Finally then, I would be negligent if I were to close this season of prayer and fasting without asking you to pray for our elections in 2016. There is much that we can do in researching candidates, being aware of the issues we face, and more, but we need to begin it all with prayer. Ask God to give His Church wisdom, understanding, and influence as we enter into this election season.
2016 is well under way. As we press on through this year, let’s make prayer and ongoing priority. A. J. Gordon, an American Baptist preacher said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” I agree, let’s do it!