To Joyfully Fast and Pray
Julie Conway Sword of Gainesville, FL, USA
And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart, that thy fasting may be perfect; or in other words, that thy joy may be full. Verily this is fasting and prayer; or, in other words, rejoicing and prayer. -Doctrine and Covenants 59:3
My mother-in-law routinely set aside Wednesday mornings to joyfully fast and pray. She not only included family needs in her prayers, but also the needs of those in our congregations, community, and throughout the world. I joined her in this weekly plan. Even now as I perceive current needs through fasting and prayers, I find great joy in situations, conditions, and attitudes that over time can remarkably change. What rejoicing there is in talking with the Lord! God has all power in heaven and on Earth.
There is a wonderful scripture in Isaiah that outlines what is and what is not an acceptable fast (Isaiah 58:4-12). To my surprise this passage outlines the five Mission Initiatives found in the “the Spirit is upon me” messages from Luke 4:18 and Isaiah 61:1. It’s the whole idea of community, of joy-filled, Zionic caring and living. It’s like being part of the “gossamer thread” connecting all our lives throughout the world.
So now we face a time of restricted movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our fasting and prayer (or rejoicing and prayer), we can reach out on our knees for friends, family, and those we know only through their dire needs. We have a great opportunity, symbolic of our willingness to take upon us the name of God’s son and always remember him, that we might have his Spirit to be with us.
God bless the spaces between us.
Tears of Compassion
Offer a silent prayer for the gift of God’s compassion. Cup your hands and ask God to make you aware of the suffering that causes the Earth and its inhabitants to groan and weep. Be open to faces or places, sounds or voices, feelings of connection with those who suffer. Imagine catching the tears of those you see and holding them in your hands. Listen for prayer images or words God may give you. Discern any active responses of ministry or healing you sense invited to complete for those who weep.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.