Declare a Holy Fast

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I missed the evening meeting. So much was going in on my head I silently bowed out to get some space in the empty sanctuary below. I hurried into the lowly lit chapel that smelled of fresh pine. Rows of empty chairs. A dry baptismal. A map stretching across the wall with the pacific made central. There I found rest and instruction for the rest of my week.

I came up stairs and into the nearly finished meeting having heard from the Lord. “Now is the time to fast”, God had said. I wasn’t keen on the message, but I couldn’t deny that I’d heard it. I was greeted on the second floor by cheerful voices and a buzz of activity. “You missed it! We just had an awesome time. Everyone was testifying about the power of prayer and now they want to fast!”

That morning Dayn and I had prayed, “Lord we want gatherings of prayer, we want people to want to come together and seek your face, that there would be days of prayer, weeks of prayer and that people would hunger and thirst for your presence. But Lord, we don’t want to initiate it. We want you to put it on people’s hearts.”

Eight hours later. 

One of the members of the Romanian team heard the Lord speak out of Joel 2, “declare a holy fast.” In response the entire group decided to set aside 3 days for fasting, prayer and community service. The California team responded with equal desire to see the Japanese set free and wholeheartedly joined in. Some of the Japanese staff were moved by the overflow of love coming from foreigners and hopped on the holy bandwagon. The result has been 6 hour prayer chains each afternoon. In the mornings the teams visit survivors of last year’s disaster. In the evenings we cook, clean and prepare to feed the stomachs and hearts of some 50 to 60 people, believers and unbelievers alike. This is my definition of fun. 

Last night we gathered together, all of us with one thing on our minds: God set Japan free from the yoke of slavery. We took turns sharing testimonies about the power of fasting. One woman had been healed of 5 diseases. Another had experienced financial breakthrough. We felt like the Lord was instructing us not to question our motives or fear whether or not this was a “religious activity”. Instead we positioned ourselves to enjoy the next 3 days as a consecrated celebration of God’s love for this nation. 

There’s a thing that the Japanese say, and a special way they say it here in Fukushima. The word is “ganbappe” and it loosely translates to “keep fighting”. It’s been the rally cry of support since the March 11th tsunami. After a round of tri-lingual popcorn prayer we came together, arms stretched out and hands stacked one on top of the other. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus.” Then with one voice we cried out, “Ganbappe! Common!”

Come on, God. We’re in this with you, to see the beautiful people of Japan renewed and made whole. And you, Father, say back to us your children, “Keep fighting, kids. I need friends to stand with me in this battle. Let’s love Japan together.”

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