A nationwide call for Christians to join together in fasting and prayer for our country is being sent forth by a California pastor and several Christian leaders from the evangelical and Catholic faith communities.
Pastor Jim Garlow, who leads the flock at Skyline Wesleyan Church in the San Diego area, along with Christian leaders such as Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries, Jim Daly of Focus on the Family, Jack Hayford, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, among others, are issuing the call for Christians to commit to 40 days of fasting and prayer. This time of intercession and repentance on behalf of the nation is set to begin on September 20 and will run through October 30, 2010.
There are three “foundational principles” those who take part in this prayer/fast are asked to focus on: the sanctity of human life at all stages and conditions, the sacredness of marriage as a covenant between man and wife, and the right to religious liberty and respect for conscience.
Over the last few decades, abortion on demand, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and, more recently, embryonic stem cell research have eroded the once unquestioned sanctity of human life. Traditional marriage, which has historically always been understood to be the union of one man and one woman, ideally for life, has been under assault for years from a culture that increasingly thinks nothing of infidelity, divorce for just about any reason, and cohabitation outside of marriage. Now we find ourselves on the brink of a cultural revolution that threatens to redefine marriage as it has stood since the beginning of time, and in the process redefine the family as well. The rights of people of faith to refuse to participate in any actions they deem to be immoral or against their religious convictions, or to stand up for their religious convictions, are also increasingly being jeopardized.
The foundation for the prayer/fasting intercession is built upon the following Scriptures:
2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Joel 2, which is a call to righteousness for God’s people. Joel 2:12-14 reads, ” ‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.”
Finally, a call to authentic Biblical compassion, as Isaiah 58:6 and 7 teach:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Verse 9 goes on: “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say “Here am I.”
In addition to praying and fasting, those who participate are asked to A.C.T.
Affirm the Basics by signing on to the Manhattan Declaration, a statement upholding the sanctity of human life at all stages, the sacredness of marriage as it was instituted by God, and the preservation of religious liberty.
Conforming our lives to our talk—-in other words, if you “talk the talk” of being a follower of Christ, you had better “walk the walk” as well. Having personal integrity and showing concern for the needs of others are part of living a Biblically authentic Christian life.
Transforming the Culture by restoring values. Standing up for the sanctity of human life at all stages, traditional marriage, and religious liberty, showing compassion to those in need, and exercising our privilege and duty to vote into office those individuals who also share those convictions are all part of turning the tide of cultural values.
There are also four webcasts scheduled to prepare for the time of prayer and fasting. Those dates are on September 4 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific time; September 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain, and 5 p.m. Pacific time; September 19 at the same times as September 12; and the closeout event on October 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Central, 4 p.m. Mountain, and 3 p.m. Pacific.
For more information on this national intercessory prayer and fasting event, go to www.prayandact.com.