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