In less than three months we will elect a new president. This choice will shape our nation for decades to come.
Some people have said this is the most bizarre election season they have ever witnessed. And day by day it seems to get worse. Against this election backdrop we've watched the news in horror. Cities have burned amidst racial divide. We've wept for those killed and wounded in our nation.
We've watched in unbelief at the moral decline, and the destruction of marriage and family. We may be tempted to give up—to sink into apathy, depression or fear, thinking there is nothing we can do.
Rather than wringing our hands or discussing how bad things are, we can use a mighty tool, an ancient treasure that has changed circumstances and nations throughout history. Fasting and prayer is a time-honored discipline, but not something many people practice today.
Yet God is calling us to fast now. No one can afford to sit this one out. Millennials are needed. Generation Xers are needed. Baby Boomers are needed. Seniors are needed. And the GI Generation. Though children should not do a strict water or liquid fast, no one is too young or too old to do something. It's time for the church to arise!
This election is perhaps one of the most crucial elections in our history. Our vote for president is also a vote for two to three Supreme Court Judges. Do we sit back and just watch? Do we speak of defeat or despair? Or do we, like the people of the great city of Ninevah, do something now?
God's plan was to destroy Nineveh because of their wickedness. But in His mercy He sent the prophet Jonah to warn them. The people and the king listened and all of Nineveh had the good sense to act on the word they were given. They fasted and turned from their evil ways. Then God changed his plans (Jonah 3:5-10)
King Xerxes issued an edict to destroy all Jews in the land. It looked inevitable that they would perish. But Queen Esther stood in the gap and led her Jewish nation in fasting and prayer. The unimaginable happened! The Jews were spared, and Hamon, who set up the evil plot in the beginning, was hung on his own gallows that were meant for her Uncle Mordecai. This allowed the Jewish people to enjoy a new level of influence in Susa.
It takes work to participate with God. We are summoned to be change agents in our nation. But we must do our part. We can watch this ship sink or we can stand up and say, I am joining the prayer and fasting initiative to take back my country starting with this election.
How We Can Put on 'Sackcloth and Ashes'
Does this Old Testament practice of donning sackcloth and ashes mean we rustle up a burlap shirt and cover our head and face with ashes from our barbecue or backyard fire pit and then run into the street weeping and wailing like Mordecai? Have you ever tried to picture beautiful Queen Esther with black ashes all over her head and face? The act of putting on sackcloth and ashes was an outward demonstration of the condition of the heart—a demonstration of repentance and humility before God.
It is with humility and repentance that we can put on sackcloth and ashes today. As we humble ourselves before God, repent and pray, we will see circumstances change. God is raising up Joels, Gideons, Daniels and Esthers who will humble themselves and fast for this election and this nation. We may feel inadequate. So did Gideon and Moses. Edith Stein said, "I am a poor Esther" but "I believe God has called me on behalf of my people." God is calling each of us on behalf of our people to bow before Him with repentant hearts.
You Can Do This
Have you thought you simply can't fast, simply can't go without food? In an article for Charisma News online, Jennifer Eivaz says, "I love the idea of going on an extended fast, but I'm pretty sure that I will die if I do! Fasting is something I struggle with. I just happen to be one of those kind, loving individuals who turns into a monster if they do not eat regularly. Hopefully you hear my humor in that statement, but to a certain extent, it's true. People with a sensitive physiology and low-blood sugar problems can take on a certain form of crazy when they haven't eaten on time."
Don't worry. You don't have to go without all solid food to fast. There are many types of fasts besides the very strict water fast. You can choose the Daniel Fast, Garden of Eden Fast, Juice Fast, Liquid Diet (juice, smoothies, bone broth), or the Sugar Detox Fast (omitting all sweets, refined flour products, treats, coffee, alcohol, junk food, fast food). Everyone can do something.
Instead of watching the polls, pundits or the news, which can be very discouraging, take action in prayer. On fast days, if you eat solid food, eat smaller amounts. Hunger is to remind us to pray. Eat simply. Use the extra time you save from preparing food to seek God.
Are you ready to see miracles happen? The next couple of months can be the most exciting time we have experienced as we see the hand of God at work in our nation.
There is a condition to see change: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chron. 7:14, MEV). The first and second chapters of Joel direct us to fasting and prayer, and what follows? We will receive the "early rain and the latter rain" and our "vats will be filled with oil and wine." Oil and wine symbolize prosperity and healing.
God will not leave you out of the blessings. You will receive personal breakthrough. Physical breakthrough, financial breakthrough, spiritual breakthrough, emotional breakthrough—these are just a few of the things that many people have experienced when they fasted and prayed. It's part of the overflow of blessing. Fasting and prayer changes us.
A Time to Fast
Our limitations are God's port of entry. You may be experiencing a lot of angst over this election and the state of the union. Many people are. Perhaps the candidate you wanted didn't get the nomination. Or maybe the one you want is stumbling. Perhaps you're so discouraged you've decided not to vote. Listen. God has a plan in all of this. We will see it arise as we pray and fast. I'm inviting you to our prayer and fasting initiative and our gathering place online. It's imperative that we join together now to see his kingdom come and his will be done. in this election, in our nation and in the world.
As my husband and I met with Cal and Michelle Pierce, Directors of Healing Rooms International to work on our Garden's Best Project, God began to speak to us about the urgent need to fast and pray for America. The Fast America Initiative was born. We just completed a video for the call to fast and pray; it posted on YouTube. Please join us online. I will send weekly guided prayers for everyone who wishes to receive this. Just go to www.fastamericanow.com and sign up.
Cal and Michelle are fasting every Tuesday and Thursday. Fr. John and I are fasting every Wednesday and Friday. You can join us on these respective days to fast and pray for this election and for America. Or you can fast for 10 days or 21 days like Daniel. Or you can fast the whole time until the election. And it's not about just giving up TV or shopping. That's good, but it's giving up food that constitutes a fast. As we join in corporate fasting and prayer, we will see his kingdom come and his perfect will be done.
Cherie Calbom, MSN, CN, is author of The Juice Lady's Guide to Fasting (Charisma House, January 2017). She is the leading authority on juicing for health and detoxification. Known as The Juice Lady, TV chef, and celebrity nutritionist, she has helped pioneer the fresh-juice movement around the world. A graduate of Bastyr University with a master of science degree in whole-foods nutrition, Calbom is the author of 31 books. Cherie has helped thousands of people restore their health through her juicing and cleansing programs. She has worked as a nutritionist with George Foreman and Richard Simmons and has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows and in scores of magazine articles. She and her husband offer Health and Wellness Juice and Raw-Foods Retreats throughout the year. Success stories of people who healed their bodies through juicing are available on her website, www.juiceladycherie.com.
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