A look back:
Looking back at this past year, one can see how God has walked with us through all the hard things: death, mourning, sickness, and turmoil. But we also see how He has been there in all the good things: new babies, deeper relationships with Him and others, healings, and salvations! The year 2021 has brought a depth of maturity to many of us that we were not walking in before. However, it has also been a tiring and difficult year for many of us. Regardless, all of us have been taught to, “number our days rightly, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). We need a healthy reflection and appreciation for the past, but we cannot live in the past and must stay in the present with hope, expectation, and faith. As our own Mr. Alberts often quotes, “you cannot drive ahead while looking in the rearview mirror”.
A look ahead:
So here we are in 2022! And what better way to start off the New Year than with a Week of Prayer and Fasting! For those who did not join us for the first two nights, whether in person or via our livestream, please do so for the rest of this week (as we are meeting from 7:00-8:30 PM each night through next Sunday, January 9th)!
As Andrew Anderson reminded us so clearly this past Sunday morning, let the Holy Spirit lead you into His fast for you this week. We should be careful to follow these two basic parameters. Do not compare your fast to another’s fast and focus on what you add to your week with God rather than on what you are saying “no” to.
I am so excited about what God has been speaking already this week! When praying in the new year, there was a common theme that the Lord was going to give double for all that the enemy had stolen. Thus, 2022 would be a year of double portion meaning that “instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore, they will possess a double portion in their land and everlasting joy will be theirs.” (Isaiah 61:7) But also that you will receive a double portion of the Spirit like Elisha received from Elijah (2 Kings 2:9).
Another significant word occurred during the first night of prayer and fasting. Rachel Anderson called all of us up to the front during worship in an outward act of putting off all the heaviness and mourning from the past year, and putting on the garments of joy, praise and dancing. This was reminiscent of Andrew Anderson’s exercise from this Sunday morning in which he called us to write down things from the past that the Holy Spirit wanted us to surrender, but also new things to begin putting on. Both actions were confirmed by Larry Albert’s sharing out of Isaiah 43:19, “See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up: do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
For those who weren’t able to attend or view the livestream on Day 1 (which you are still able to view and access from wayofthelord.org), Larry Alberts gave an overview of the theme for the week – the fear of the Lord – and provided several insightful scriptural references that highlighted the many benefits of the fear of the Lord. He began with Psalm 25 in which he explained how the fear of the Lord leads to the Lord’s instruction, prosperity both spiritually and naturally, an inheritance, an intimate relationship with the Lord in which he confides in us, and revelation of His covenant relationship with us. So clearly there are many benefits to fearing the Lord!
Last night, on Day 2, Dr. Lance Wonders had us meditate on true fasting out of Isaiah 58. Lance emphasized the type of fasting that God really wants, and highlighted these essentials: humility and repenting from our finger-pointing, comparison, and overly critical and judgmental attitudes. For then, salvation, healing, righteousness, and the glory of the Lord will lead and protect us. The true fasting God wants is not just an outward expression of obeying Him, but more importantly, an inward reality, attitude, and motivation of love for God and others; and as a result, this mature love casts out the fear of man and brings us into a deeper fear of the Lord. Many who prayed after Lance finished sharing focused on our need to be confronted and comforted by God’s loving discipline, to embrace humility and preferring others, and to rightly align our attitudes and motivations with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
What will the rest of this week hold? How will the Holy Spirit speak to you personally or to our church community? Why is the fear of the Lord so important? What will the implications be for the rest of this month and year? We intend to find out together as we gather unto Him with fasting, humility, unity, and great expectation! Come and join us as we seek His face together!