We are thankful that Governor Lee has called for a day of prayer and fasting on October 10, 2019.
On Thursday, October 10th, @MariaLeeTN and I invite all Tennesseans who wish to participate to join us in a day of prayer for this remarkable state we’re blessed to call home. pic.twitter.com/A7nXwxnIIj— Governor Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) October 4, 2019
This is nothing new in America, though we don’t have them as often as we ought. The Jamestown Colony held three days of prayer and fasting prior to its founding in 1607 The Pilgrims held a day of prayer and fasting before they left Holland in 1620, additionally often holding days of prayer and fasting once they landed in the New World.
The First Continental Congress called for at least 15 days of prayer and fasting during the Revolutionary War.
It is thus clear that our nation has a heritage of prayer and fasting. What isn’t clear to many is how to participate.
What does the Bible say about fasting?
It is important to note that we found examples of fasting in both the Old and New Testaments. Orthodox Christians (that is, non-heretics) therefore believe that fasting is a normative practice. In other words, it is something that a Christian should be reasonably expected to do.
Our Best Example For A Day of Prayer and Fasting
“Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.”Judges 20.26 KJV
Let’s break this down to learn from it.
First, all the people of Israel participated in this fast.
During this fast, the people wept, sat before the Lord, and didn’t eat all day. They concluded the fast by making two types of offerings – a burnt offering and a peace offering.
Jesus is the Christians atonement for sin. We can learn something helpful from looking at the two types of offerings made in Judges 20.26 A burnt offering served as an atonement for general, accidental sin. Since sin must be stoned for, this would not have been optional! A peace offering is voluntary; joyous, and often including a meal from the offering as well as fellowship. Do you see? This is what the pilgrims copied!
Judges 20.26 shows us a model of a one day fast. In other areas of Scripture, we see three and 40 day fasts with Jesus’ 40 day fast including temptation involving the Devil. It is important to remember that in this, Jesus answered the Devil with God’s law, quoting from Deuteronomy in rebuke.The point of all this is that fasting is Biblical and is found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Our Lord Himself participated in this practice.
We thus see fasting as a biblical practice and as a practice traditionally engaged in by Americans. We heartily endorse the governor calling for a day￼ of prayer and fasting and we hope you will participate. Tomorrow or the day after, we will post a prayer guide to help you know who and what to pray for.