• 63°

Christians call for 40 days of praying, fasting

Well-known respected leaders from various denominations have asked Christians to participate in 40 days of prayer and fasting for our country beginning Sept. 20 through Oct. 30.

Author/speaker Chuck Colson and Dr. Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego have launched a Web site inviting Christians of all faiths to “Pray and A.C.T.”  According to www.prayandact.com, our country faces “unprecedented challenges to three foundational principles of justice and the common good: the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions; the sacredness of marriage as the covenantal union of husband and wife, and the right to religious liberty and respect for conscience.”

The call to prayer is based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Fasting, a spiritual discipline of abstaining from food, can be found in the Scriptures such as Joel 2:12, Isaiah 58, and Luke 4 (Jesus’ 40-days in the wilderness). Although many will follow a liquid-only diet, Christians are encouraged to fast as God directs them during this 40-day span.

The acronym A.C.T. stands for:

• Affirming the basics: By signing on at www.ManhattanDeclaration.org, signed by Catholics, Orthodox and Evangelical Christians. Approximately 475,000 persons have signed this statement affirming the sanctity of life, sacredness of marriage and preservation of religious liberty. The goal is to exceed 1 million persons signing the Manhattan Declaration.

• Conforming our lives to our talk: Personal integrity of lifestyle, being authentically biblical Christ followers and serve others by compassion and action for the less fortunate, alleviating human suffering and systemic poverty in our communities.

• Transforming the culture by a restoration of values: Serve the common good by speaking up winsomely for the sanctity of life, sacredness of marriage and religious liberty in our workplace and with our friends and neighbors and with the teachers who teach our children in schools, colleges, in the media and particularly in the church. Consistently vote in all elections for candidates who affirm the sanctity of life in all stages and conditions, the integrity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and respect for conscience.

“These principles (the sanctity of life, sacredness of marriage and preservation of religious liberty) are moral treasures of our civilization. Yet in our time they have come under severe assault. Abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia threaten the sanctity of life. Marriage, already deeply wounded by a culture of infidelity and divorce is now at risk of being redefined and deconstructed,” the Web site www.prayandact.com states.  Also noted is the effort to weaken or eliminate conscience clauses for pro-life institutions (including religiously affiliated hospitals and clinics), and pro-life physicians, surgeons, nurses and other health care professionals.

As the Manhattan Declaration reminds us, “Like those who have gone before us in the faith, Christians today are called to proclaim the Gospel of costly grace, to protect the intrinsic dignity of the human person and to stand for the common good” – what better way than to fast and pray.