Date: Sunday 16th June, 2013
Speaker: Pastor Austen Ukachi
Key Passages: Isaiah 58
Fasting is a spiritual journey, a fellowship, a communion, a time to hear God speak
The Church took a few minutes to recognize the Fathers and to pray for various categories of Fathers. Thereafter our Senior Pastor thanked the church profusely for the gifts, prayers and support during his 60th birthday celebration. In his words, ‘Life begins at 60’. May he enjoy the rest of his very impactful life. The church also prayed for Pastor Muyiwa Israel who will turn 50 on the 17th of June 2013.
Fasting may seem an old fashioned type of Christianity in some circles because it reminds us of abstinence which the human nature does not like. But fasting is very important and is a way of getting God’s attention and having a relationship with him. Fasting is a time when we deny ourselves of the luxury of food and certain pleasures for a while so that we may seek God and get his attention. For us as a church involved in prayer organization across West Africa and missions, we cannot but be involved in fasting. Ministries, churches and organizations involved in missions are usually fraught with a lot of challenges, hence there is a need to Fast and Pray. Fasting according to Pastor Ukachi is more of a spiritual journey, a fellowship, a communion, a time to hear God speak than that of denial. Since it is a journey, below are requirements for the journey:
- A bible
- A notepad
- A writing pen.
- A purpose
Taking notes of the things that God tells us during this period is very important as it prepares us for a lifetime. God can give specific directions on what we are supposed to do in the place of prayer and fasting and when we obey the things that God says, we receive results.
Beyond writing, it is important to have a purpose towards fasting. It is important that fasting must have a DEFINITE purpose for it to be meaningful! Walking in Divine Blessings (which is the theme of this fast) should be a purpose for all members of the church. Pastor Austen gave the church an account of the period during which the church lost several pastors and members; these events made the church leadership to seek God, and God gave a specific message of victory over the spirit of death. For us, fasting is more than self-denial but is borne out of our past experience, our evolving growth as Christians and the desire to hear from God. The 30 day fast of He’s Alive Chapel was birthed out of the experience of the church in conquering the spirit of death spiritually and physically. The church has experienced testimonies as a result of the July Fasting and Prayer period.
The Senior Pastor urged the church not to shy away from the 30 day fast: in his words “do not think that you cannot do it”. Isaiah 58 gives a guideline for fasting. We can see why God may not take note of our fast in verses 3 and 4 of Isaiah 58 which read “In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers. Indeed you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness.” God also told us what fasting is not in verse 5. In verses 6- 7 He told us what True Fasting is. Fasting is not for finding pleasure, not a period of exploiting, it is not unto strife. A true fast must resolve the issues of wickedness and undo the heavy yoke of sins and burdens. It is a time to let people that are oppressed go. It is a time to break every yoke, be it that of anger, battering, masturbation, lust, sicknesses; everything that represents a yoke and hinders us from becoming free. Fasting is a time to share our food with the hungry and to bring to our homes the poor who are cast out, to cover up people who are naked. During this fasting period, as a church we will practice the biddings of God in Verse 7 by giving offering towards Christians who are suffering in Yobe state. In Nigeria today, there are a lot of Christians suffering in the Northern region especially in places like Adamawa and Yobe states.
Although the ultimate reason of our fast is to Walk in Divine Blessing, it is not the only purpose of this fast: it should be a time to table the other issues in our lives before God to get victory. All the people who fasted in the bible had tangible and definite reasons for fasting. Fasting indeed opens doors which ordinarily would not open. When we do all the things specified in Verse 6 and 7, the bible says the result would be thus: “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” Isaiah 58:8-9
When we fast as we ought, then we shall call, and the Lord will answer;
We shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’