Preston Scott

Preston Scott

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The Matter of Prayer & Fasting

The vote was 27-to-1 in the Tennessee Senate, 82-6 in the House. Math tells me 93.9% of the Volunteer State's lawmakers voted in favor of calling citizens to prayer and fasting for the month of July. As stunning as that is, even more so to me is the actual language they agreed to, which was signed by Governor Bill Lee.

I expected a watered down resolution.

Generic terms which would not offend because we are a bunch of sissies these days. But instead, the legislature crafted a proclamation which evoked memories of our Founders who knew full and well the importance of God. In Tennessee's call to its people, they did not mince words.

They cite the problems ... we can do the same, because they are the same. Of course, the root cause is sin.

The Old Testament book of 1st Kings (chapter 1) points out the importance of a guy named Nathan. At the end of King David's life, Nathen pokes him in the chest and dares him to be better. To act like the King. It worked. It also demonstrates the value of getting poked in the chest now and then.

Consider this a finger in your chest.

I have been convicted of late to challenge men, who claim to be Christians, to act like it. Show it, speak it, put it out there as a husband, father, friend, co-worker, employee, or employer. We are in the mess we are in, because we do not have enough Christians actually being Christians.

So, this includes you women as well.

Whether you decide to take this on as a husband and wife, a single, a family, etc. is up to you. What cannot be denied is our nation is in deep doo-doo. It just is, and while I could write a book detailing why, what matters is that we need God's help. His grace. His wisdom.

I challenged my listeners today to join in praying and fasting this month. It was requested in email that I write down some thoughts on taking up Tennessee's challenge.

First, are you a Christian? Most of you would say, "Yes." For those who would say, "No," but something is nudging you forward to keep reading, to join in, I would suggest you send me a note and I can share some helpful steps forward.

2nd Chronicles 7:14 gives us our baseline for the why.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Humilty ... prayer ... repentance (means doing a 180, change course) ... THEN God responds.

It does not happen any other way. The truth is that when we approach God with sin in our lives, our petitions fall on deaf ears. Seeking forgiveness from God, through Jesus Christ, removes the stain and allows us to stand in Christ's righteousness before God. He, then, can hear us.

Where does fasting come in? The bible (Matthew 17 and Mark 9) tells us there are some fights, some battles, some enemies so tenacious, they cannot be defeated without fasting added onto prayer.

What follows is a short list of thoughts on prayer and fasting. It is not exhaustive, but it's a start.


A lot of people really struggle with this one. They feel as thought there is a "right way" to pray. Prayer is more about who you are praying to than the choice or flow of your words. Personally, I have always directed my prayers to Jesus (He is called our mediator) and His (our) Heavenly Father, God.

Many also think they have to pray in King James language or loudly or for a long time. Look, God knows where you are in all of this. A newbie or a seasoned saint. Pray from your heart. But to help, I will offer what Jesus said on the topic. He strongly suggested you get in a quiet place alone (no need for a crowd to impress).

Matthew 6:9-13 English Standard Version

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.[a]

10 Your kingdom come,

your will be done,[b]

    on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,[c]

12 and forgive us our debts,

    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.[d]

Permission Granted The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Here's what I do, I take each part and use it as a guide.

I start (v.9) calling out the attributes of God and His names ... He is my banner, my healer, my redeemer, my defender, my provider, my peace, etc.

I ask for God's plan (v.10) to be done on earth as it is already established in heaven. Of course, I start with my family, church family, and friends. It is here I speak out our local, state, national governments and elected officials. Name them if you like. I pray for God's plan, His will, not mine, ours, or theirs.

Remember, Jesus said to pray "like" His model, so I adjust this (v.11) and I thank God for the provision I already have though some may need to adjust this to fit a dire need in life right now for needs to be met.

While I always start seeking forgiveness for any sin, which I have (known or unknown), because my prayers are kind of a waste unless I do that first, I use this part (v.12) to speak on behalf of us all and seek forgiveness for our collective sins. (Do I really need to list them here? No, but you and I need to when we get to this part.)

God does not lead us to temptation (v.13), in fact, scripture teaches there is always a way out from it and now that Jesus has defeated the grave we have been delivered from evil. So, I thank God for those realities.

If you use the Lord's Prayer as your guide, and take my advice to apply it to our lives and our world, you can see where praying for a while is not going to be a problem. However, a heartfelt prayer of "Please help us, God" may do just as well, if not better.

We are not punching a prayer time clock. We are seeking God's forgiveness, grace, mercy, and wisdom.

Also remember (as scripture reminds) we are not fighting against flesh and blood (people ... though some make it easy to feel that way), we are fighting agsinst spiritual, demonic forces. This is where fasting becomes important.


Like prayer, we generally do not announce it or draw attention to our act. Obviously, challenge others to join and point them here, if you'd like. It's not about us; it's about seeking God. God says relatively little about the subject, but it's importance (as stated above) is clear. I mean, Jesus talked about it as a point of spiritual warfare.

Some thoughts to consider.

  1. Fast (or do without) something which is meaningful to you. Smart phone (put it down for a half-hour or hour), video games, soft drinks, alcohol or beer, sweets, bread, breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack, a hobby.
  2. The choice of what you fast is up to you. But if what you fast means nothing to you, that's exactly what it will mean to God.
  3. Replace the time spent on whatever that is in prayer and study of the Bible. Clearly, the time it takes to guzzle a softdrink is not really the spirit of fasting, but using that as a reminder to pray and study. What is important is to not just fill the time and ignore being hungry, etc. Let being without remind you of the sacrifice you are making and spend this time with God.
  4. If you are engaging in a food related fast, make sure you are drinking plenty of water and do not do it without a doctor's guidance, if your health is fragile.
  5. Do your best. God honors your heart. If you can make it 30 days, awesome. If you make it 1 day, awesome. God will be blessed and moved by your decision to try.

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