A Time for Fasting and Prayer – April 4th, 2020

The Congregations of the Midwest Presbytery are called to

A Solemn Day of Fasting and Prayer

The Midwest Presbytery is calling on her congregations to consider a day for prayer and fasting on Saturday April 4, 2020, for the purpose of seeking God’s help and mercy during this time of pestilence in our land. 

“In Christian fasting, as an ordinance of God, the believer voluntarily abstains from food or some ordinary pleasure for a season for the purpose of seeking the will of God, strength for service, or deeper spirituality. It should be accompanied by meditation, self-examination, humiliation before God, confession of sin, repentance and renewed dedication to a life of obedience.”—Reformed Presbyterian Directory for Public Worship, 4.3

Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Joel 2:15-16a

As the passage above makes clear, there are none too young, nor none too old, to participate in a fast[1].  And therefore we are calling on the congregations of Midwest Presbytery to set aside Saturday April 4, 2020, as a solemn day of fasting and prayer. Fasting is not simply abstaining from food for a time, but rather it is abstaining from a legitimate physical engagement for the purpose of seeking God in a more earnest and special way.  Therefore, fasting and prayer are always to go together.

While there are many good reasons and occasions to fast and pray, we are asking that Saturday be specifically set aside for the purpose of crying out to God for help and mercy during this time of disease in our land. 

Here is a suggested guide for praying as you fast …

Come, let us return to the LORD; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him —Hosea 6:1-2


Glorify & Exalt God

  • As the Great and Majestic, Lord of All
  • The Creator, Redeemer, and Consummater
  • The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Confess & Acknowledge Sins

  • Our Personal Sins
  • Our Family Sins
  • Our Congregational Sins
  • The Church’s Sins
  • The Sins of our Nation
  • The Sins of other Nations

Plead for God’s Mercy & Grace in Christ

  • Seek His Continued Patience toward Us
  • Seek His Mercy though we deserve His Wrath
  • Seek His Grace upon us in light of our Demerit
  • Seek His Power and Sanctifying Work within Us
  • Seek His Saving Kindness upon Unbelievers
  • Seek His Wrath Upon Evil Doers
  • Seek His Vengeance Against His Enemies
  • Seek His Revival and Reformation of the Church
  • Seek His Wisdom for our Governing Officials
  • Seek His Gift of Repentance for our Nation

Thank Him for His Many Blessings to Us

  • Thank Him for the Gift of His Son for Sinners
  • Thank Him for an Inheritance in Heaven
  • Thank Him for the Surety of Glory
  • Thank Him for the Presence of His Spirit
  • Thank Him for the Institution of the Church and the privilege of public worship on the Lord’s Day
  • Thank Him for our Families and Friends
  • Thank Him for the Good Things of this Life
  • Thank Him for the Beauty of Creation
  • Thank Him for Safety and Relative Peace
  • Thank Him for daily Provisions and Prosperity
  • Thank Him for His Faithfulness to His Promises



 “Fasting possesses great power. If practiced with the right intention, it makes one a friend of God.” Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220 AD)

“As bodily food fattens the body, so fasting strengthens the soul. Imparting it an easy flight, it makes it able to ascend on high, to contemplate lofty things, and to put the heavenly higher than the pleasant and pleasurable things of life.”  John Chrysostom (c. 349–407)

 “Fasting cleanses the soul, raises the mind, subjects one’s flesh to the spirit, renders the heart contrite and humble, scatters the clouds of concupiscence, quenches the fire of lust, and kindles the true light of chastity. Enter again into yourself.” Augustine (354–430)

 “Fasting and prayer are proper means for the bringing down of Satan’s power against us, and the fetching in of divine power to our assistance. Fasting is of use to put an edge upon prayer; it is an evidence and instance of humiliation which is necessary in prayer, and is a means of mortifying some corrupt habits, and of disposing the body to serve the soul in prayer. When the devil’s interest in the soul is confirmed by the temper and constitution of the body, fasting must be joined with prayer, to keep under the body.” Matthew Henry

 The pleasures of this life and the desires for other things— these are not evil in themselves. These are not vices. These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God.  ‘Desires for other things’— there’s the enemy. And the only weapon that will triumph is a deeper hunger for God. The weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things.” Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God.”  John Piper

[1] And yet we fully recognize that some may not be able to participate at all, or only in a limited way, because of health concerns or some other legitimate reason.  If there is a concern at all that a food fast would not be wise for you, please either consult with your doctor before or feel free to fast in another way that is more appropriate for you and/or your family.