Preparation for Fasting

Dear Calvin Church,

The Session has called the congregation to another day of fasting and prayer on Thursday, March 26.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism # 98 defines prayer as “an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.”  That definition reveals that Christian prayer is more than simply offering up our desires to God or confessing our sins to Him or giving thanks to Him.  Christian prayer is done in the name of Christ.  What does that mean?  Jesus’s appearance in the world changed everything, including prayer.  Because of the coming of the Son, the Father has been revealed as never before and the intimacy that is thus created gives us a bold assurance that our Father will most certainly grant our requests!  Jesus stated to His disciples, “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22).  Did Jesus really mean that?  Yes!  He says that because He ever lives to make intercession for us.

As Christians, we pray because God’s grace has been extended to us, and that grace enables us to pray with confidence.  We know that we are not worthy to enter into God’s holy presence, and we don’t pretend to be.  But His grace, this wonderful favor He bestows on us, gives us confidence of His love and through that, He will actually hear us.  Romans 8:32 plainly tells us, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”  If God gave us the greatest gift He could give us by delivering Christ over to death, then surely He will not withhold any lesser thing!

In prayer, we are in contact with the great redemptive act that has been accomplished by God in and through Christ and that also makes our prayer distinctive.  Christ’s death and resurrection demonstrate that God is deeply interested in us and in our wellbeing.  If that is the case, grace means we can have peace – not the transient peace of the world that comes and goes with circumstances, but with the eternal and infinite peace of God who controls all things.  

We pray with confidence knowing that He is in control, that He loves us and He desires our wellbeing, and so we carry our cares and anxiety onto Him who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).  But we also intercede for the world because He has shown us His love, and in turn, we must love our neighbor.  That love is demonstrated as we keep the Ten Commandments.  The sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” contains within it the duty of showing charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness towards all men, while also not neglecting that which leads to the preservation of life (c.f., WLC 135, 136).  If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so we must trust our intercessions have a powerful effect on us and the sinful world in which we live.  Thus, Abraham could ask God if He would spare Sodom if only but ten righteous men were found there, and God said yes.  Though Israel rejected their covenant God and deserved the drought they were suffering, Elijah could pray for rain, and it came.  James 5:16 tells us, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  As a sinful world around us suffers, as people from all walks of life die, it is the duty of the Christian to pray. 

Therefore, in obedience to the gospel of love and of Jesus Christ, because the world continues to suffer and die and remains in confusion and wonder, and because Jesus is Lord of all, the Session of Calvin calls the church once again to a day of prayer and fasting that the God of all mercy would show His face and remove this dread from the world and that the gospel of hope may be boldly proclaimed throughout the globe.  Please join us on Thursday, March 26.  Also, we are going to join with Bayview OPC in Chula Vista and other churches in our Presbytery for a day of prayer and fasting April 1. 

—Pastor Babcock


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