A Call to Prayer, Humiliation, and Fasting


Day 25

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The need for prayer is great in the law enforcement community, particularly in light of the recent actions of a few that have been directed to entire departments. “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch” is true when the media take a specific scenario and generalize that as the reality for all. Morale is low, retirements are significantly increasing, and the stress from these and other things make being a member of law enforcement a dangerous job.

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Ask Jehovah Nissi to place his banner of protection around our law enforcement community. Ask Him to give them wisdom, clarity, and the exact responses needed in every situation they face today. Maximize their effectiveness and minimize their distractions. Protect their mind and their spirit from damage due to what they see and hear. Ask him to protect their spouses and children. Include all support staff in prayers as well. As God to rise up and protect those who serve us in law enforcement.

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Day 24

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Additional public servants in our communities are those who collect our garbage, work in the school systems (government and private), social service, food kitchens, free clinics, courthouse (judges, clerks, keepers of the documents), etc.  There are so many people who work within the public service industry who are a part of our local community.  The numbers are larger and the services more diverse the larger the locality.

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Availability and convenience have removed a sense of community.  We are clearly prone to taking things for granted and overlooking details.  Today during your time of prayer and fasting, ask God to remind you of those who serve.  Go through the list above and put names and faces to these individuals who do so many menial and thankless tasks seldom remembered.  We are blessed to be living in this exceptional nation.  Have a grand day while being thankful.

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Day 23

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During this time of prayer, fasting, and humiliation, so much has transpired in three weeks. The morning news (that never stops being the morning) can overwhelm us. Our lives can easily be manipulated by so many who are willing to embellish and even lie about the truth for a particular advantage. One news outlet even determines how big the lie is by using a numbering system of Pinocchios.

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Today, use your time in prayer focusing on truth that never changes – God’s Word and God’s Character. His stability and the consistency of His Word can provide comfort and peace to our troubled soul, not just for the cares of day-to-day living but also the cacophony of the moment-by-moment unpleasant bombardments from the media. Place your confidence and take comfort in the Creator Who never changes and His Word forever being true.

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Day 22

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Genesis 3 gives us the reason for the realities noticed today – creation remains fallen, needs a Savior, and servants who manage the chaos. Pray today that those who faithfully serve us will be protected as well as patient with all who may get testy. The common sense and decent manner with which we are to respond to EMTs, police, etc., is long gone from this culture. But we can pray and ask God to change the heart of this nation.

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Pray again for those who serve us as EMTs, fire and rescue, police, sheriff, administrative, active military, and others who put on a uniform or display a badge. America is indebted to their continued faithfulness to the cause of being a servant. Consider adding another discipline as you maneuver through this time of fasting and praying. For every siren or emergency vehicle you hear or see, say a prayer. All involved need that prayer. The One who hears our prayers knows how to direct them. Be blessed today.

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Day 21

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Hope you all had a great weekend. Police officers and first responders were honored for their willingness to serve my community at church yesterday. They never know when called to duty each day or each notification if they will return home the same. We need to begin this week with prayers for those who are responsible for the condition of our communities and counties. We will start with our first responders.

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How many men and women serve as EMTs, police, sheriff deputies, administrative support, E911 operators, or animal control in our communities? They need prayer. As you pray and fast today, remember them. God knows their names and their needs. Pray for their families. Pray for their interactions with people. Ask God to protect as they serve. Most of those who serve and protect do so from a true servant’s heart. Be incredibly thankful for them.

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Day 20

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When this Sunday ends at sundown, the 40-day fast is 50% completed.  What patterns related to lifestyle choices have you implemented?  Will they remain after Saturday 10/30 has passed?  If you are not on a complete fast, will your new eating habits (likely healthier) continue?  Will your prayer life intensification continue?  What have you learned about yourself, your family, and your neighbors? 

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Are you looking and acting more like our Lord and Savior Jesus? Will others be influenced by the Bible they read when they look at you and me?  There is a sign on a church mirror in a men’s bathroom in Bedford that states, “This is what Jesus looks like to Bedford.”  What a great reminder of the world we are called to reflect His light and the earth where we are to be salt.  May the next 20 days of fasting, prayer, and humiliation bring continued change to each of us that becomes positive and permanent. Keep the faith. 

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Day 19

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If you have been a part of this fast since the beginning, we are nearly halfway to day forty. Today is the Jewish Sabbath (Friday at sunset until Saturday at sunset). As believers, we are deeply indebted to the history provided in the Old and New Testament about God’s faithfulness as well as his discipline. God was always calling His wayward nation back to the reality of His foundational truths as noted in the Torah (the first five books of the OT). The wayward reality in America is one of the reasons for the call to fast.

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As we take a rest (either today or tomorrow – Sunday) take the day to be incredibly thankful for His benefits. They are many. Be thankful for the foundations of truth that withstand the winds of time. Be grateful for family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and others who God has placed in your life. In spite of the difficulties, America is still the best place to be living and if you happen to be in Virginia, then you know the beauty of this state. Rejoice and be glad. Have a blessed day.

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Day 18 

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Focus.  Distractions.  Focus.  Distractions.  Generally, the need to focus becomes more intense the longer a fast continues.  The desire for food and staying concentrated on the activities of prayer when not eating can distract.  But the call to fast and pray for our community, our county, our state, and our nation beacons us to remain focused and committed to completing a task worthy of success. 

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Take time today to get some aerobic exercise by walking in your neighborhood.  Pray specifically for those neighbors you know and those you do not know yet.  Begin to pray for them on a regular basis, even after the fast is over.  With uncertainty prevalent in this current culture, knowing our neighbors may be as important as it has ever in our lifetimes.  Have a grand day today. 

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Day 17

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For those of us who have fasted and prayed before, we are not surprised when attacks come during the fast. Needless to say, that happened yesterday and continues into today. It will be something that will need significant prayer during the remainder of my fast. For the sake of those involved and the circumstances surrounding this attack, I am thankful that I am fasting and praying. Situations, as mentioned earlier can sometimes dramatically alter our focus.

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Our focus this week is fasting and praying for neighbors. Those close to our physical locations and those close to us in our work settings are our neighbors. When they have needs, we should look to God for solutions, hear His response, and then assist in whatever way possible. In today’s chaotic world, getting to know and then being ready to assist our neighbors is crucial. Offering support because we are praying and fasting at the time of an extreme need is a blessing in disguise. Like patience, wait for it; don’t ask for it.

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Day 16

Subsidiarity is a wonderful concept that brings a clear definition to a biblical principle – the person or government entity closest to the need is the best option for a positive outcome.  Washington DC or Richmond is never the best option for my neighbor’s need.  That was and still is the church, the family, the community.  Until 100 years ago, the government was not involved with the needs of neighbors.

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The trends in American culture and world circumstances will create a greater opportunity to love our neighbors than at any time in our lifetime.  If we are to truly love our neighbors, we must first get to know them.   Please consider going to blesseveryhome.com where the names of families who live closest to you are available.  They can also provide a proven method to get to know them.  Use today to pray and make decisions about loving your neighbor.

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Day 15

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Beginning week three, there is likely a consistency with a routine.  If you are eating one meal, if fasting one or two days a week, or if you are just intensifying your prayer life, there is a more focused routine. The hope would be that this concentration becomes a habit that now lasts a lifetime related to discipline and strengthening relationships with God and with family.

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The focus this week is neighbors.  We are called to love them but who are our neighbors.  Do we know their names?  Are we relational with them?  The past year has created a greater fear and uncertainty about relationships with strangers…but they are not strangers to God.  During this week of fasting, praying for our neighbors and our community will be the focus.  Let’s ask God to show us, not only who they are but how to love our neighbors. 

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Day 14

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As we complete a second week, hopefully, more filled with personal discovery and a deeper relationship with God and family than the physical pangs of hunger, review the last 13 days.  It is filled with opportunities for physical and spiritual discipline (much needed in America).  For many, it is a great way to see the extra pounds gained during COVID begin to disappear.  Exercise is necessary as the body will eliminate muscle mass at times during fasting.

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Most important is that relationship with God where He is revealing His love and concern for our daily walk with Him.  The 4th step in Alcoholics Anonymous, taking a “fearless and moral inventory of myself,” is a great prompt to humility and finding any wicked way. On this last day of week two, be thankful for the changes already seen within and the adjustments being made without.  Keep pressing forward.

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Day 13

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On this 13th day of a forty-day fast, some are now looking at percentages.  Three days ago, on the 10th day, 25% was completed.  After today, nearly 1/3 of the fast will be behind.  If you have been diligent as well as forgiving during the last several days, some things with your family have been rectified.  Maybe that relationship with a family member has been restored.  If so, God has done a great thing.

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As the second week comes to an end, use the last 2 days to concentrate on family matters because family matters.  This nation faces difficulties (the reason for calling a fast 40 days before Virginia’s November 2 election), but the solutions to those problems begin with the heart of man.  I can change me (week 1) and then my relationship with my family (week 2).  May the God of Creation continue to reveal when our reality misses God’s perfect design for our daily living.

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Day 12 

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Nothing is more important than our relationship with Jesus Christ, and nothing is more valuable to that connection than consistency through discipline.  Everything in our culture today draws us to focus our time and treasures things that seldom matter to eternity.  It takes true discipline to concentrate on strengthening a relationship, whether that be our connection with God or with our family. 

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On this 12th day of fasting, remind yourself that God is gracious, and the enemy is a liar.  So often during fasts, the enemy wants to remove you completely by telling you of your failures, reminding you that very little can be done by you to move God in a direction responding to your prayers.  James 5 states that prayers of the righteous make a difference.  Stay focused on strengthening that relationship with God and with your family.

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Day 11

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When the family is inspected, the examination’s outcome is usually about whether the glass is half full or half empty. In our culture, the negative usually wins out regardless of the topic. Years ago, one of the more popular weeklies was the Grit newspaper. It was filled with news that was uplifting. But more recently the negative captions dominate. The barrage of harmful headlines influences all of who we are.

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Philippians 4:8, the whatsoever verse, challenges us to think good things; to remind ourselves when I look at the glass, I get to determine the level of the liquid therein and declare my perspective. Be challenged as you look at family – the specific individuals within the family and ask God to reveal the good that is there. There is always good. We are called to ‘think upon those things.” Begin to do so today with those difficult family members.

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Day 10

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God is interested in speaking directly to us through the third person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. Sometimes in the hustle of life we miss this wonderful verse. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). When you fast and skip a meal, find a place where you can be still and quietness is guaranteed. If your life is as hectic as most, the call to be still is difficult.

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However, when we want God to speak to us, we must do things according to His pattern. Sola scriptura is the model. What does the scripture declare about getting quiet and listening? Earlier in the notes, there was mention of David asking God to search him. As we get quiet and when it comes to our family, what is God saying to us? What is His search revealing about us? What is He asking of us? Will His still small voice be heard in the midst of life’s chaos? Choose wisely today as you listen to Him about your family.

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Day 9

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We are living in perilous times. Each day, the news reflects a continued drift from common-sense morality to evil that is beyond comprehension. Frustration and anger can build to the point of giving up, going back to bed, and staying under the covers. But this does not take God by surprise. There must be clarity of thinking so that we get God’s perspective; not so much on what is happening and the whys of those occurrences, but what do I have the ability to influence.

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I do have influence over my relationship with my family. Ask God today to reveal any area within your family’s relationships that needs to be rectified. Call them today and tell them you love them. Stop by their home for a short visit. One of the things that COVID has destroyed is face-to-face contact. Let your family know how thankful you are for them. Everyone one of us is just one breath away from eternity.

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Day 8

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One week is now behind and several more are yet to complete as our 40-day humiliation, prayer, and fasting continues.  As noted in the introductory comments, humiliation is a way of stating what 2 Chronicles 7:14 states, “will humble themselves and pray.”  Our current definition of humiliation is a public revelation meant to personally shame.  When I compare who I am to what God desires, I am humbled, realizing how far short I am from His best for me.  The first week of the 40 days was for that specific purpose. 

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On day 8, praying for others begins.  Our closest connections are family members.  Pray for family members today that know the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  Ask God to continue the passion or re-ignite the desire to know Him better.  Pray for them by name and pray for them specifically by need.  James 5 states that prayers by righteous men and women are powerful.  Hope you are beginning to realize that our prayers change things and we are called to do so with expectancy.  Be blessed today.  

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Day 7

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The first week of a 40-day fast is coming to a close. What was it like for you? My first week, as I noted earlier, began with challenges. Those challenges will continue as the enemy of our souls is not interested in our completion of the discipline necessary to finish. Satan is never interested in God’s people enhancing their relationship with God and their focus on changing self so that God can be more glorified in our lives. This is not easy, but the results are extremely important to our community, our state, and this nation.

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As we journey through this day, focus on personal issues that hinder you from all that God wants you to be in a relationship with Him. As your body desires food, does your spirit desire God with the same intensity? If you allowed it, God has searched you. But most of us already know where we fall short. As the writer of Hebrews states in chapter 12 verse 1 that we are to lay aside the weights and the sin. We know the sin, but the weights are likely distractions that waste our time. Let Him show you where you are prone to getting off the path.

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Day 5 and 6

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While we continue to focus on personal observation, it is extremely important to stay connected with what God states about fasting. In Isaiah 58, God is declaring that fasts have a purpose as noted in v6, to break every yoke. But Jesus declared that we were to take His yoke. Isaiah is speaking of the yoke of bondage that comes from sin and unrighteousness, personal choices that keep us from what God declares we ought to be and to do.

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Del Tackett in the Engagement Project puts this issue in a simplified way for understanding. Look at your life carefully and acknowledge your personal “reality”. Evaluate your relationship with God and with others. Now compare your reality to what God says your life “ought” to be. There is a significant amount of work for most of us to get our reality more closely aligned with God’s ought.

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Reflect over the next couple of days about Psalm 139:23-24 where the writer is asking God to search him and see if there be any wicked or evil way in his heart and in his thoughts. If you are truly hungry for the Lord as you are experiencing the hunger for food, the prayer of the Psalmist will indeed become your prayer as well.

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Day 4

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Hope your time of fasting and praying…and humiliation is going well. One of the things of which you should be aware is that most people find spiritual blessings come after the fast and the purpose of fasting is to produce discipline. As Paul stated in his letter, he needed to crucify the flesh daily.

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What controls most of our decisions – the spirit or the flesh? An extended fast will not only help you determine the answer but will give you time to rectify that pattern if, in fact, it is not what God desires.

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Do you live to eat or eat to live? This is a good question to ponder on Day 4. Blessings.

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Day 3

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Three days in and for those who are fasting for the first time, the next three days will likely be the most difficult part of this journey. Bodies do not like change, adjustments, or glitches in the system. There is a struggle to return to what is consistent and familiar.

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The same is true for us mentally and spiritually. Comparison of our spiritual condition to the physical yearning to eat provides help in understanding what God desires. Here is one thought for today. Ask yourself this one question. Is my hunger for God as intense as my body’s desire for food? At the end of this 40-day period, if you have as much desire to know the God of Creation as you do for food when hungry, this fast will be a personal success. I pray it is so for each of you!

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Day 1 and 2

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Day 1 completed.

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Day 2 begins. For the first seven days of this fast (regardless of when you join us), focus on yourself. It is extremely important to recognize that Isaiah 58 gives some great directives on fasting – what blesses God and what hinders God from responding to our intercession. Be encouraged as you read this chapter and ask God to show you things that need adjusting. Here are a couple of thoughts.

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Our attitude must be right and our reasons for fasting must be correct.

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How will our prayer and fasting assist our cities/counties, state, and nation if we do not allow God to reveal within ourselves those areas that need to be adjusted, corrected, or exposed? More than anything, make this time about you and your relationship with God a significant priority.
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2 Chronicles 7:14 mentions personal humility first. Sadly, the American church and many Christians do not want to take a “fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Ask God to “search me and see if there be any wicked way within me.”

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Take a close look again at the essentials. Do not get discouraged, let others know about this initiative, and keep moving forward.

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On a personal note, my first day of fasting was filled with distractions. Two calls to the hospital in the middle of the night (which has never happened), and a busy Monday kept me making adequate preparations. When sunset arrived to start, I was already hungry and somewhat irritated. What I do know is that every time I pray and fast for an extended period of time, the first few days are difficult.

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I know that the initial days are going well, I suspect that I am doing this for the wrong reasons.

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Be blessed on day 2

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When elected officials are not willing to ask this nation and state to humble themselves and pray, pastoral leadership must arise and call Christians to unite for such a time as this. We must corporately reconnect our hearts to the One who still allows us to exist as a nation. That call is now because there is a cause.

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Beginning at Sundown on September 20 and ending 40 days later on October 30 at Sundown, Liberty University’s Standing for Freedom Center is encouraging congregations and Christians to fast and pray for Virginia cities and counties, our state, and our nation.

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Wildfires, crime, destruction from Hurricane Ida, COVID, flooding, drought, inflation, and Afghanistan could be indicative of Divine judgment on the United States of America. Where are today’s “men of women of courage and wisdom, who understand the times and know what Israel ought to do?”

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Our nation, our states, our counties, and our cities are struggling. One reason is Amos chapter 8 verse 11 which declares there will be a famine in the land…a famine of hearing the Words of the Lord. What does God want to say to America that we are not hearing. “Is there not a cause” now?

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More than 500 times during our nation’s formative years, this call came from Governors, Congress, and Presidents. Unfortunately, the last national call for fasting and prayer was more than 100 years ago. The absence of pleas during the last century reveals a nation that has severed its moorings to the Almighty. The current leadership in the United States and in Virginia no longer believes in calling for prayer. Our nation is rapidly drifting away from our Source. Elected officials are unafraid of offending Divine Providence but ever vigilant not to upset a Disparaging Press or a Disapproving Populace.

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The Essentials

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Prayer

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Everyone in Virginia who believes in Jesus Christ can pray. Not everyone can fast. So let’s begin by asking everyone to pray at least three times per day during this 40 day period – begin your day in prayer, pray during the middle of the day, and end your day with prayer. (If you are already doing this, add more time(s) or intensify your appeal to Heaven for what we are seeing in our culture.)

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There are unlimited prayer requests – elected officials, godly leadership, favorable election results, First Responders, law enforcement, family, etc. Please refer to this website for some general direction about prayer concerns as situations can dramatically change instantaneously.

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Humiliation

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When I see who I am, compared to what God desires for me to be, I am humbled. Prayer is about personal transformation as much as it is appealing to Heaven for the state of Virginia and our nation. Spending 40 days actively praying will change each of us. I desire to be more useful to the Kingdom of God, a more loving servant to my neighbors, and a better husband to my wife. Everyone has personal areas likely hidden from others where the light of God can reveal a need to improve. May God reveal that to you during these 40 days as you humble yourself.

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Fasting

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Usually, calls to fast and pray in previous generations were one day in duration. Commerce stopped and most committed to spending the day at community churches appealing to Heaven for Divine action. Fasting for a 24-hour period is not extremely difficult; 40 days is a different story.

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There is no right or wrong way in deciding how you will proceed. Decide what is best for your current circumstance. You may not even want to fast but be more focused in your prayer life between September 20 and October 30. Ask your doctor if you are not sure what is a safe plan for you to participate.

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Here are several options for fasting but not exhaustive:

· Give up one meal a day and pray during those moments when you would be eating.

· Eat only one meal per day and pray during the absence of 2 meals.

· Give up certain items during the 40 days of fasting.

· Fast one or two days a week during the 40-day period. Wednesday and Friday fasting was an expectation and a practice for many pastors during the early development of Methodism in America.

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Regardless of the type of fast you choose:

· Drink plenty of water

· Aerobic exercise is encouraged to maintain muscle mass

· Don’t punish yourself for imperfection

· Consider fasting with an accountability partner (friend, spouse, co-worker)

· Remember that others across Virginia are appealing to Heaven with you

· This 40 day period will be a blessing to you, Virginia, and the United States of America.

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I am praying that God will move mightily in Virginia and in our nation. We need God to hear from Heaven and heal our land. Humiliation, prayer, and fasting during the 40 days between September 20 and October 30 is our appeal to Heaven for His Divine Intervention.

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May God bless our efforts together for the cause of Christ and His Church,

Pastor Travis Witt

Director of Strategic Outreach

Liberty University’s Standing of Freedom Center

StandingForFreedom.com/Virginia