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Ministry of Fasting

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Read Isaiah 58:6-12

View the Sept-Oct, 2014 Issue

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong.

- Isaiah 58:11 (NRSV)

As I have served out my prison term here in Florida, I have come to appreciate the spiritual discipline of fasting. It has become a ministry for me. I always ask the Holy Spirit, “To whom should I give my meal tray today?”Many times, the Spirit shocks me by leading me to give my meal to someone who isn’t a Christian. Often it’s someone I don’t even care for. The thought of giving my meal to someone like this at first seems like a mistake. I understand the Spirit’s guidance only when I see the look on his face as I hand him the tray and say, “God bless you.”You see, most of the guys here in prison are not used to kindness. I thank God for using me to show them some.

The Author

Lance Ek (Florida)

Thought for the Day

God’s Spirit is at work even within prison walls.


Thank you, dear God, for helping us show kindness in unexpected ways. Lead us to take care of one another as you care for us. We pray in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever” (Matt. 6:9-13, KJV). Amen.

Prayer focusThose in prison

Link to This Devotional


Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL

Good morning, everyone! Thank you, Lance, for your devotional this morning. May the Lord bless you and use you in a powerful way for Him in the prison. Fasting is something that I know I should incorporate much more into my spiritual and prayer life. It is a mighty weapon to use against the kingdom of darkness. I also pray that the Lord will help me to show kindness to all, especially those who have hurt me.
PAM of Tualatin - I am praying that the Lord will bring you healing from your cold before your trip. I pray that He will give you travel mercies, watch over and protect you as you fly to Australia, and bless your time of vacation there. I also pray that the wildfires throughout the West will be quickly put out, and that the Lord will protect all the firefighters who battle to put them out. * KATHY of Reading - I am praying that the Lord will hold you close and soothe your spirit following ending a difficult relationship. I am really glad to hear that you finally ended it. I was just sensing in my spirit that something wasn’t right there, and I am glad to hear that it is over. May the Lord pour out His blessings on you as you find in Him your every need.
TRACY of Stafford, VA - Welcome to the UR site! Your posting yesterday was a devotional in itself, and really spoke to me. Thank you! I copied it to save, it was that meaningful to me, especially with what I have been going through. I pray that the Lord will use you in a special way, and that He will provide for all of your needs. I pray that He will restore what the locust has eaten and what the devil has taken, double, like He did for Job. * RAYNARD - I am praying for your wife’s aunt, that the Lord will bring her healing from the condition that is limiting the level of oxygen to her brain. I pray that He will give both you, your wife, her aunt and her doctors wisdom to know the best way to proceed, and if the surgery through the neck is best, that that will be successful.
DAN - I am praising the Lord that the little brain-damaged 3 year old boy is now going to the preschool. I pray that he will get the best of care there, and that the Lord will continue to bless and uphold his grandmother, who is raising him. I am also continuing in prayer for the situation with Food Lion and the need to provide food for those in need in your county and area. I pray that they will step up,do what is right, and lead the way in providing for those in need in your area. * JULIE of Delray Beach, FL - I am praying for your husband, Bill, and the situation on his job where his boss’s ethics and motives are questionable. I pray that the Holy Spirit will be working in this man, and that he will turn around, do what is right, and that your husband’s position will not be in jeopardy.
STEVE of Knoxville - A belated happy 55th birthday wish yesterday for you! I pray that your day was a special one, and that the Lord will bless you with many more great years ahead! * KIM of Locust Grove - I am praying for you as you embark on a 3-4 month course of chemo treatments for breast cancer. I pray that the Lord will bring you healing through this, and that there are no negative side effects from this. I pray that He will walk with you through this each day, and uphold you with His strength. I pray that the Lord brings you complete healing. I am also praying that He will be with your daughter and bring her healing from the dysphasia and other effects from the car accident. I pray that the MRI will show the doctors exactly what is happening, and that they have wisdom to know the best treatment.
SHEILA - I am praying for you as your retirement date gets closer, that the Lord will show you what He wants you to be doing for Him, and that He will open all doors and make your pathway plain. I pray that He will provide for all of your financial needs each day, and fill you with peace and joy. * LINDA of Madison, AL - I am praying for you as you lost your mother two weeks ago. I pray that the Lord will hold you close during this time as you mourn her passing. I pray that He will fill you with His love, comfort and peace.
BOB of Salem, MI - I am praying for your son-in-law, Mike, as he has lost his stepfather, Gene. I pray that the Lord will uphold that family as they mourn, especially his wife, Debbie. I pray that He will fill them with peace, comfort and His love at this time. * LINDA of West Point, VA - I am praying for the University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham, who has been missing since Saturday. I pray that she will be found, and that she is safe. I pray that the Lord will direct those searching for her, and that He will uphold and comfort her family during this stressful and anxious time.
TERRY of Fredericksburg, VA - I am praying for your son and his wife, that the Lord gives them travel mercies as they return from their vacation. I pray He watches over them enroute, and gives them safety. I am also praying for your friend who had his car stolen as he tried to help what appeared to be two folks stranded, but ended up being carjackers. I pray they find his car, and in good condition, and that those two are brought to justice. It’s terrible when you try to help someone, and the devil just kicks you down like that. So I pray the Lord blesses him for trying to be the Good Samaritan! * CHERIE of Mena, AR - I am praying for your foster sister, Violet, as she is going to the doctor regarding her immune system. I pray that she will get some good news from the doctor, and that the Lord will bring her complete healing from whatever may be wrong.
THELMA of Albany, NY - I am praying for your daughter, as her husband has announced that he is unhappy with her and their children, and has become verbally abusive to them. I pray that the Lord will get ahold of him, and bring him under conviction for his treatment of them. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring a spirit of peace, understanding and forgiveness in the home, and bring about a reconciliation between them.
LILY of Palmyra, NJ - I am praying that the Lord will bind the devil through His Name and Blood from all the attacks the devil has been throwing at you. I pray that He will bring healing to your husband, mother and mother-in-law. I am praying that He will provide you with the finances to get your car fixed, and fixed well, or open up a door for you to get a new one. I am also praying that the Lord will be with you as you travel across your state for work, keep you safe, and keep your car running well. And importantly, I am praying that He will give you peace and joy each day, and take from you the burden of stress the devil has thrown your way.
JACKIE of San Antonio - Thank you for sharing that information you read in your paper about employment. While looking for employment for quite awhile I have seen what you said - a very large percentage of employers are hiring only part-time help, and not at a living salary, either. That way, like you said, they don’t have to pay any benefits, like insurance, any vacation, holiday pay, or paid sick time. They would rather hire two part-timers with no benefits and a nothing salary than one full-time employee with benefits and a decent salary. Not to be negative, but I don’t see this changing anytime soon, if ever.
Have a blessed day, everyone!

Posted September 19, 2014 at 12:17AM CDT
Comment by monte of laughlintown, PA

 Great devotional, Lance. I wonder how many of us fast. I fast from meat all the time, but after forty years, that is really not a spiritual discipline. I liked your words, ‘You see, most of the guys here in prison are not used to kindness.’ Frankly, I think many on the outside would be blessed to experience more kind acts—I should share a few kindnesses in light of God’s gracious provision for me (and each of us ) this day, and each day. I need to keep remembering that it isn’t all about me!
F. Richard Garland (yesterday’s author) wrote: “God stands with us during our changing seasons of life.”
LYDIA of Cumming: “When I look back, I see God's hand in my life through the different transitions and changes. I praise Him for his faithfulness and his love. I know I can trust Him every step of the way.”
DON: “Instead of having to come face-to face with our enemy in order to defeat him, we now can push a button and kill millions.”—our world changes even as God does not
SUSAN: “I thought ‘how timely!’ and then realized that this verse is always timely! There are even in-between times, or times where nothing seems to be happening at all, and we can bask gratefully in our Father's love.”
DAN: “A few things I believe with all my heart: God never assigns anyone to the bench; wherever we are, in whatever condition, He has a purpose for our lives right there.”—sound advice
TRACY: “I cried many a night wandering what's going to happen to me. No money, no house. No money, no food. No faith, no promise. Then I picked myself up by the bootstraps and begin to focus on Christ. I am now understanding that God simply wants a closer relationship with me. He doesn't care about "the things" I lost. He can give all that back in a SNAP! He's teaching me to love HIM and trust in HIM rather than my material things. Through these "unsolicited" trials and tribulations, there is Joy and Peace just around the corner.”
EDD: “When we face a circumstance we need help with it is always prudent to consult God and He will lead you down the right path.”—a truth to keep reminding ourselves of
JULIE: ” in Florida we see the changes of the seasons not so much in the weather as in the increase of people. I look at the increase in people as more opportunities to serve others.”—good observation
JANET: “Lydia, thank you for one of my favorite hymns, it will be trolling in my mind today while I work”—I like the ‘trolling’
STEVE: “Today is my birthday, I'm turning 55.”—happy birthday, one day late
KIM: “My breast cancer is treatable but will have to have 3-4 months of chemo before surgery. Lord I am scared, but I know that whatever lies ahead, You will be with me. I know I am loved. I thank You for husband Jim who stands ready to support me in whatever lies ahead. I thank you for this community of faithful and all in my church and school families who will be praying for me.” –we stand and pray with you
JOE: “Our Christianity starts as a hope and belief and then grows finally to complete trust in God's plans for us.”
BETTE: “This is my time for healing. I'm three weeks out from complete knee replacement and I've met many challenges during the past three weeks. I do feel I'm on the
road to recovery now and doing pretty well.”—praise God!
MARY FRANCES: “That reading always gets me singing the song ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ from the '70s...”
There have been so many good comments that describe changes in commenters’ lives. Change is truly part of life, as is our unchanging God. Trusting God and being open to God’s leading seems to be central to lives of faith.
Prayers for all this day. Prayers for all who deal with medical conditions. Praise God for successful medical procedures. May God guide doctors in providing medical care as we petition God for healing.

Posted September 19, 2014 at 02:28AM CDT
Comment by Georgine

Good morning everyone. Thank you Lance for you meditation and your example. I think it is not so important whether you fast or not but that God has led you to do this and you were obedient and did it. Listening to God's direction can be difficult but if we spend time with him listening he will show us what we should do. The next step is whether we do it or not. Often it is easier to say I am not sure if it is God's will or my imagination therefore I will do nothing. Obedience is something that is difficult to do.
Georgine, Arqua Petrarca Italy

Posted September 19, 2014 at 02:34AM CDT
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