Three Days of Prayer and Fasting

Today, right now actually, I have tremendous empathy for the prophet Jonah. God asked him to do an incredibly difficult thing, and he didn't want to. You see, in the book of Jonah, we are told that God wanted Jonah to go and deliver a message to the wicked Assyrians. The message God wanted Jonah to deliver was that God was about to wipe out Nineveh because of their evil ways (Jonah 1:2). The Assyrians were enemies of Israel. They were violent people. Jonah feared for his life, but he could have also been reluctant because he did not want the Assyrians to have the opportunity to repent and be saved. I sometimes think we don’t want God to extend mercy to certain people either, but He asks us to do it anyway for the battle is His, not ours.
 
Just a couple of days ago, terrorists attacked both Beirut and Paris. Hundreds were killed or injured in both cities. These terrorists have vowed to commit further attacks. French President François Hollande declared three days of national mourning. However, less than two days later, they were already bombing Syria. What happened to the mourning?
 
 Jonah originally refused to go to Nineveh and went a totally different direction. That did not turn out so well for him, and after three days, God had him in agreement that he must go to Nineveh. Upon entering the city, Jonah shouted, "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed" (Jonah 3:4)! The people believed the message and the Bible says that "from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow" (Jonah 3:5). Even the king heard this warning from God, and when he did, he stepped down from his throne, dressed in burlap, and sat on a pile of ashes (Jonah 3:6). The king then sent out a decree for a national fast and said, "everyone must pray earnestly to God, turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence" (Jonah 3:8). Why? The king believed that maybe if they did all of this, perhaps God would change His mind and hold back his fierce anger and not destroy the city (Jonah 3:9).
 
You know what? God did exactly that. Jonah 3:10 says, "When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened." God spared these wicked Assyrians because they fasted, prayed, repented and changed their ways.
 
A people who did not worship or fear God prayed to Him and this moved the heart of God.
 
There is another account in the Bible about a different kind of war that God battled. In the account of Joshua and the Israelites taking Jericho, we see a whole different kind of war (Joshua 6). God had promised the Israelites this land, and yet, wicked people occupied the land that God had promised. Large walls surrounded Jericho. Scholars believe that the city of Jericho encompassed nine acres, and the circumference of the wall was about a half mile (or roughly two thousand feet).
 
When God told Joshua, "I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors" (Joshua 6:2), God did not tell Joshua to take his forty thousand soldiers and go to battle. No, instead God told Joshua to take his men and the priests and to march around the city for six days. The people were not to say a word the entire time. God wanted them just to march. On the seventh day, God instructed Joshua to have the seven priests blow ram's horns as they walked around the walls seven times (everyone else was to remain silent). On the long, last blow of the ram's horns, all the people were to shout as loud as they could. God promised Joshua that if they did all these things, "the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town" (Joshua 6:5). The ram's horn was a reminder of God's protection, and depending on the pitch, it served as a signal to warn of battle or worship.
 
Joshua and the people followed these instructions perfectly and just as God had promised, the walls came crashing down, and the people took the town (Joshua 6:20). This was not a battle to be fought in a regular manner, but rather it was God's fight and as we often realize, His ways are not always orthodox or predictable. God had promised this land to the Israelites, and the enemy occupied it. It was a spiritual battle that was fought in spiritual ways.
Second Chronicles 20 illustrates another spiritual battle. Jehoshaphat received word that there was an army heading his way. He became terrified and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone to fast (2 Chronicles 20:3). Second Chronicles 20:5-6 says that Jehoshaphat "stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord, and he prayed."
 
God responded to this faith-filled prayer by delivering this message, "Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chronicles 20:15). The battle was His, and He fought it. As King Jehoshaphat assembled his army, he sent out singers in front who praised and thanked God (2 Chronicles 20:21). At the very moment they began to sing, the sound confused the enemy; they began to fight amongst themselves, and by the time the king and his men arrived at the lookout point, all they saw were dead bodies (2 Chronicles 20:22-24). When all the other kingdoms heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies, the fear of God came over all of them and Jehoshaphat's kingdom was at peace from all sides (2 Chronicles 20:29-30).
 
God. It has been and will continue to be all about God. These are His battles.
 
Our current situation with terrorists is nothing short of spiritual. These terrorists are screaming, "Allahu Akbar." They believe they are fighting in the name of God against the enemies of God. However, they clearly have not read their Bibles. God's enemies in the Old Testament were those against the Israelites. Today, enemies of God are those walking outside of a personal relationship with Jesus as their savior. This war on terror is spiritual. It is being fought both here and in the heavenlies. It may feel as though these terrorists are gaining ground, and it could be true, but Christians are we doing enough?
 
Most of us are not foot soldiers. We will not go into battle. God doesn't even require that we enter into physical battles all of the time. How then can we participate in what is taking place?
 
Prayer and fasting.
 
We need God to fight this enemy. We need to commit to fasting and seek Him who is our strength. We need to pray for God to move in a mighty way and protect citizens, countries, and future generations. We need Him to act. This war is unlike any we have faced. It is a global war because people can access the walls we have allowed to be torn down. America as a nation has slowly allowed God to be removed from the center. Other countries around the world have slowly done the same. We need to get back to fearing the Lord, repenting of our sins, cleansing ourselves through fasting, and lifting up our requests to God. Are you in?
What if we as a Church body around the world committed ourselves to prayer and fasting for three days starting Wednesday, November 18, 2015, at 5:00 am (Central Standard Time - adjust for your time zone)? Do you believe that could change things?
 
Things we can pray:
  1. Praise God for who He is
  2. Pray for the hearts of the terrorist leaders to change like the Assyrian king in Jonah's time
  3. Pray for the terrorist soldiers to hear the voice of God and repent
  4. Pray for the families in harm's way to be protected as they surrender their lives in faith to Jesus (like Rahab and her family in Joshua 2)
  5. Pray for our governmental leaders around the world to fear the Lord and respond in a season of prayer before war
  6. Pray for the Church to commit to a season of prayer and fasting
  7. Pray for God to perform a miracle in this time for His glory
  8. Pray for peace
I pray you would join me in this season of prayer. I pray you would ask others - your church, your family, your friends and your sphere of influence around the world to join this season of prayer. God is mighty and majestic, awesome in wonders. He goes before us and fights for us. Step out in faith!
​"Do not be afraid! Don't be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chronicles 20:15).  

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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4 Comments


Jen - November 17th, 2015 at 8:47am

This is a powerful read, my dear sister. Thank you for this.

Diana Stritch - November 17th, 2015 at 10:55am

Anointed message Erin! %u2661

Vicky - November 17th, 2015 at 11:22am

Erin, Thank you

Joy - November 18th, 2015 at 1:53pm

Amen.

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