Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. ~ Ezra 8:21
Our Pastors have called a time of corporate prayer and fasting during the forty days leading to Easter. In fasting we deny ourselves, temporarily afflicting our flesh so that we can be made sensitive to the voice of God and His plan and will.
When the Israelites were released from captivity, to return home and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Ezra called a corporate fast. It was not to focus on God giving what they felt they wanted and needed. Instead, the motive was “to seek of Him a right way.” Ezra then gives a three-fold purpose to the fast that still stands as a great outline for believers during times of corporate prayer and fasting. The purpose – “that we might afflict ourselves before our God …”
1. … to seek of Him a right way for us.
The “us” was the leaders Ezra gathered for the journey. Pray for your Pastors. Ask God to show them His right way and vision. But also as leaders in your home, ask God to show you His right way for your path and family.
2. … for our little ones.
The little ones were the children and represented the future of the Israelite nation, the heritage of the Lord. During your fast, pray that God would order the steps your children but also this entire generation.
3. … for all our substance.
The substance was everything in their possession. As you fast, ask God to make you sensitive to the way He wants you to manage your resources. Pray that His will would be done in the finances and possessions that He has entrusted to you.