March 4th, 1989                                      "The Repercussions of Fasting Prayer"                               Mrs. N. D. Daniel

Joel 1:14

I have been reading the book of Joel. There Joel speaks about fasting prayer. In the 14th verse of first chapter he says, "Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the LORD your God, and cry unto the LORD." He understands the value of fasting prayer. First he says announce a fast. Then call a solemn assembly and assemble the elders and "Sanctify the congregation." In the 13th verse he says that ministers and priests must humble themselves and weep for the day of destruction that was about to come. He starts with such statements as the harvest being eaten up by pests like the palmerworm, the locusts, the cankerworm and the caterpillar. Fast and pray and you will see great things. There are great blessings with God that He is wanting to give you. God did hear their prayers. God’s desire was that He should pour out His Spirit on all flesh-- all the children, young people, old people, servants and handmaids. Our God is a gracious God slow to anger and of great mercy. So before the great trouble ahead, God used this prophet to warn them and exhort them to pray.

The third chapter ends like this. Verse 21, "For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion." We praise God that He is with us and He has been hearing our prayers. He is giving us some answers to our prayers. Here the last verse ends like this. "For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed." So, there is something which God has to do with those who are repenting and who are humbling before God. That is our blood must be cleansed. Where can we go for this cleansing of our blood? When we go to doctors they may say, "There is so much sugar in your blood." To some people they may say, "Too much of salt is there," and to some they say, There is deficiency of calcium in your blood; there is so much of water in your body." So, so many diseases are in your body, doctors will say. They will not say there is the contamination of sin in our very blood. He sees that our blood needs cleansing. "I will cleanse their blood which I have not cleansed," says God. Converted people I observe are happy in the Lord. But converted people still quarrell. I see some of them longing for worldly things. Their sinful instincts have not been cleansed. In the case of St. Paul we see, conversion and deliverance from his sinful nature and from the world at the same time. The people of Joel’s time needed cleansing of their blood. Some sinful instincts had gone deep into their blood. In the time of temptation they would show up and even converted people would fall into the sins from which they were once delivered.

St. Paul had a big goal before him. Only those who are cleansed even unto their blood will have great goals for the Kingdom of God. After his conversion, St. Paul desired to possess Jesus Christ for himself. To know Christ and to have Christ, was all he wanted. If he lived he would live only for Christ. The blood of Jesus was sinless. He did not sin and there was no sin in Him. I do not know how many of us have this desire like Paul. In this one brief life of mine I must live Christ.

Many people desire to know more of Christ, to love and serve Him. But they will not sit at the feet of Jesus Christ and learn Christ. Many people do not know Jesus Christ. They do no study His characteristics and desire to have all that holy nature. There is a lack of learning in them. St. Paul learned Christ, lived Christ and glorified Christ. He did not backslide at all. We should desire this overcoming life. In our experience, we have seen the power of fasting prayer. The Lord heard our prayer for Joe when he was very ill. People gave themselves to fasting prayer everyday during the Christmas season. They were crying to God for Joe’s healing. Here also so many fasted and prayed. We know the value of fasting and prayer. If we live carelessly, love the world, deny the Lord when pressed by trouble, our fasting and praying will not be effective, though we may get an answer or two now and then.

I like this verse with which the book of Joel ends. I pray that God should cleanse my blood. All converted people are members of the body of Christ. They are partakers of the blood of Jesus Christ. When we know we have made some mistake, we go to God and get forgiveness. But Jesus will cleanse our blood and make us overcomers delivered from sin once for all. Because we do not have high goals, we do not reach them. When we read that saint Charles Finney’s life, we find he was filled to overflowing with the love of God. Love is the highest gift one can receive. What better can we desire than to have the love of God flowing through our blood. When we receive such blessings we should also retain them. When we receive a precious gift from a friend we preserve it with the greatest care. So this precious gift of the love of God must also be preserved. Through the love of God we will do greater service for the Lord. Till the end of our lives, we should have the love of God in our hearts. The Christ-like life should also be retained to the end to glorify God. Let us ask the Lord to cleanse our blood also. We need to know what kind of contamination is still flowing through our blood. What is it that hinders the Christ-life shining out. One converted man allowed unforgiving thoughts towards his wife. One believer began worrying herself over a problem instead of praying. Joel ends his prophecy with encouragement. He gives us hope. Our God will cleanse our blood which He has not yet cleansed. Then we can hope to live Christ to the end of our days to the glory of God.