April21 - Page 33

4 . A fasting prayer for mercy : Scripture describes times where God was moved by fasting . So much so , instead of sending judgment , He granted mercy . One such account involved King Ahab . “( There was never anyone like Ahab , who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord , urged on by Jezebel his wife . He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols , like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel .)” ( 1 Kings 21:25-26 ) Yet , when the Prophet Elijah delivered a message from God to Ahab , of His anger and the calamity to come , Ahab tore his clothes , put on sackcloth and fasted ( 1 Kings 21:27 ). When he did , God noticed how he had humbled himself before Him , and because Ahab humbled himself , God did not send the disaster upon him ( 1 Kings 21:28 ). Even the most wretched of sinners can move the heart of God to receive mercy , by humbling themselves through fasting .
All Your ways are perfect . Lord , we come before you to humble ourselves at your feet , asking you to bring mercy where judgment has been earned . We are deeply sorry for allowing our hearts to be led astray by our own desires and the things of the world , for the ways we have turned away from you , and sinned against you and you alone . Although we have been disobedient and our sinfulness deserves punishment , you forgive and pardon those who humble themselves before you . Where judgment is warranted , you give mercy .
Forgive us Lord and be merciful to us . Soften our hearts , God , to be tender towards You , to seek your face , and to long for your presence in our lives . In Jesus name , Amen .
Another remarkable story is found in Jonah 1:1-2 , where God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against it because of its wickedness before God . Unlike his previous experience where he ran away and ended up inside a whale , this time he obeyed . Jonah preached of the coming judgment to the city of Nineveh ( Jonah 3:4 ), to which they responded from the greatest to the least , by believing God , fasting , and putting on sackcloth ( Jonah 3:5 ). As the story goes , “ When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways , He relented and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened ” ( Jonah 3:10 ). A fasting prayer for mercy : Dear Father , What a compassionate , merciful God you are .