We have discussed why the Christian should practice fasting, but many people including myself have had a hard time with the discipline in the past. I know that in the past I have chosen not to fast out of fear and misunderstanding. Fasting places a lot of concerns for some people who are worried that the limited diet will affect their work, energy levels, mood, or relationships.
Yesterday I mentioned that we fast because it is commanded, practiced, and expected by Jesus in the New Testament. Christians fast because it is a physical representation of our spiritual hunger and longing for the return of Christ. We fast because we are mourning over the sin of the world, our community, and maybe even our own life. Not as a punishment or self-infliction because of our sin, but because we are longing for the return of Christ when sin and death will be no more.
I must admit that when I first became a Christian, the practice of fasting was in my mind a discipline reserved for the super elite believers who shaved their heads and prayed for twenty-four hours a day continually. However, my mind was changed as I read Christ words in the ninth chapter of Matthew's Gospel:
Recently, Jeff and I enjoyed the opportunity of walking around the neighborhood with our three precious granddaughters along with our daughter and son-in-law. I must have been walking behind the girls at one point, causing Olivia to slow her pace, look up, smile at me, and state, “I’ll be your friend.” She then began walking alongside me, taking my hand. Immediately, Jeff and I locked eyes, and I knew the subject of my next blog…our best friend.
Pray for meeting today between representatives from FBC Panama City and potential Brazilian partners as they pray about partnering to reach Quilombolas in state of Pará.
Pray today for the literally thousands of Quilombola communities in Brazil that continue without any evangelical church. Pray that those Brazilian churches currently engaging Quilombolas will persevere in the work; that God will send out more workers into this harvest field; and that the vision of seeing Quilombolas equipped to fulfill the Great Commission to the ends of the earth will be fulfilled!
Pray today as the team leads a worship service for the believers and community of Menino Jesus.
Pray as we travel back to Belém after lunch. Pray that God will renew our strength and maintain perfect unity between our Brazilian partners, translators, & US team members.
Pray today for the village of Menino Jesus, which is located about 24 kilometers away from Santa Quitéria. This is a small community in transition as they abandon homes along the river to move closer to a new road to gain access to electricity, etc. They are quickly losing their culture & facing new societal challenges as they try to integrate in Brazilian culture.
Pray for the riverfront community of Santa Quitéria. This Quilombola village has 75-80 homes and is close to several other villages also without evangelical churches. Several spiritual barriers exist to the advance of the Gospel here. Historically, the people’s worldview has been a complicated mixture of rainforest legends, Macumba (a syncretistic belief system resulting from west African religions being mixed with folk Catholicism), & folk Catholicism. Pray that the light of the Gospel will overcome the confusion of darkness. Pray that God will open their eyes (2 Cor. 4:4).
Pray for safe travels to the Quilombola community of Santa Quitéria. Pray for the leader of this community, Clodoaldo, who will be hosting most of the team in his home. Pray that he & his family will come to know Christ.
Please pray for quick relational connections with our team of translators who will be traveling with us today: Eline, Flávio, João, Lago, Nilda, & Vanja.