Oct. 15 day for prayer, fasting

Americans have become very nutrition-minded. People want to eat the right foods. My idea of a balanced diet is a piece of chocolate cake in each hand.

Perhaps one of the most uncomfortable times for us is when we cannot have food. Fasting for medical reasons is a familiar practice for most of us. (Before entering a fast, be sure it will not adversely affect any current health situation you may have.) Fasting for spiritual reasons is relatively unknown.

October 15 has been declared a “Day of Fasting” for revival and prayer for the Southern Baptists of Texas annual meeting. For four years we have set aside a day to ask God to move among our churches and make Himself known at our annual meeting.

Conventions have a tendency to be about reports and voting on budgets. While there is a small portion of our agenda that reflects these activities, the majority of our time together in Corpus will emphasize the spiritual realities of Empowering Kingdom Growth.

Fasting is not getting God obligated to do something for us. Fasting is not some “lucky charm” that brings favor to the practitioner. Fasting is simply an expression of surrender to God. Saying with Job (t1:time Hour=”23″ Minute=”12″>23:12), that God’s presence, prominence and pre-eminence is more important than anything, even life sustaining sustenance.

The biblical rationale is clear and the scriptural mandate is evident. Fasting was practiced by the Jews, promoted by Jesus and perpetuated by the early Church. There are various types of fasts, both corporate and private. The supernatural fast is doing without food or water for 40 days. Moses, Elijah and Jesus are the only ones who have done this. Over 50 references in the Bible make the scriptural fast one of abstaining from food, while having water in-take. Daniel (10:3) and others used a selective fast by drinking water and eating only small portions of subsistence-type food.

Since fasting is to be a spiritual exercise, motive is the all-important factor. Isaiah 58 addresses some general reasons for fasting. Confession of sins, being sensitive to God’s Word and intercessory prayer are all reasons for fasting.

On October 15, I encourage you to join me in a fast for revival and a movement of God in the churches of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Let us pray that God will bring an awakening of soul winning and holiness among His people. See you in Corpus Christi, October 27 and 28.

Your servant in Christ,

Jim Richards

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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