I have for years thought Chicago needed a Day of Fasting and Prayer. From my years as a youth pastor, I probably have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have attended to many funerals of youth I loved and cared about who have had their lives viciously taken. Some were church kids who started hanging out with the wrong crowd and become example of the verse who that says Bad Company Corrupts Good Morals. We need the power of God to reach the next generation. Perhaps a day of fasting and prayer would spare a few of our sister's in Christ from weeping at the burial of their child.
But who am I to call a Day of Fasting and Prayer for a whole city? I always thought it should be some more influential pastors in our city. But after being so shaken this year I felt like Chicago could no longer wait. What shook me more than the 750+ homicides that our newspapers so helpfully keep us informed of was the homicide count in our Lord's eyes. I saw the statistic of the abortion rate in Cook County Illinois for 2014. Over 21,000 abortions in our city. At least 20,000 were most likely not to save the mother's life. Over 60% nationally tend to be from non-caucation cultures. I have not judgement nor condemnation for anyone who has had an abortion. I have only compassion and much prayers for healing. However I do believe the unborn baby has a soul based on the experience of John the Baptist leaping in the womb at the presence of Jesus in the womb. I believe in God's eyes there have been over 20,000 homicides in Cook County this year. It breaks my heart. We need a culture of life in our city. From the womb to the elderly, we need God to shift the culture and help us value the sanctity of human life. As my dear brother and Pastor Michael Allen of Uptown Baptist Church has said to a newspaper reporter: It is hypocritical to tell young men to put their guns down but then encourage them to take their baby's mama around the corner to an abortion clinic and not tell the doctor to put their scape down.
Shaken by the stark reality of the present condition of our city and county, I believe we need to fast and pray corporately. Who am I to call a fast for our city? I am probably not the right guy. But I am inspired by the prophet Joel. We only know his father's name. He is not in the historical books of the Old Testament and we know little about him. Yet he sounded the alarm. He called a fast. He called for a sacred solemn assembly. I finally realized people may only know my name and my father's last name. But that would make me in good company with the Proper Joel. I believe God wants the believers of Chicagoland to fast and pray specifically for the church in our region. And I am alarmed. Therefore I am sounding the alarm.
So dear pastor, when you step into your pulpit on January 8th, would you call the flock under your care to fast and pray for the life of Chicagoland the following Sunday, January 15th. It is a very appropriate day:
- It is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
- It is Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday
- It is the Sunday before the inauguration.
- It is the day of the next www.PrayChicago.us Prayer Summit
If we really expect our congregation to be a part of a corporate fast, we need to teach them what that means. Most of our people have never been part of a public declarations of a Day of Fasting and Prayer. Personally, I have been part of a gathering in Nashville TN where well over 50,000 people Fasted and Prayed and Cried out to God for 12 hours in the Tennessee Titans stadium. Such is possible in future years at Soldier Field. But we must start somewhere. And I believe God is calling his people to unite in Fasting and Prayer for our city.
If we realistically want people to corporately fast and pray.. we need to teach them, encourage them, inspire them and literally call them to fast and pray.
So my dear pastor friend, when you step into your pulpit on January 8th, please prepare your flock to fast and pray for their neighbors and our children on January 15th. Please commit to do so yourself and please lead those under your care to the same.