By Mommy Emily

I’ve been meditating on the sacred holding places. The places which held Jesus on earth. Mary’s womb, which first made space for the holding of the divine conception. The manger, a rough-hewn wooden cradle, holding the King’s infant skin; the wilderness, holding Jesus’ stomach hollowed by 40 days of hunger; the stone tomb, a spacious and somber cavity holding Jesus’ His pierced flesh. All of these places so unassuming, so ordinary, so quiet and humble and … empty. Empty enough, wanting enough, to be filled with bigness of the Spirit of Christ.

Fasting has become something it shouldn’t be — it’s become something to better US, when it should be all about Christ’s becoming, within us. Fasting is about emptying, hollowing — turning into a womb, a manger, a wilderness, a stone tomb, a sacred holding place for Jesus. The Man in Glory making home within us.

We invite you, friends, to empty with us over the next 40 days — with the great expectation of being filled with Jesus Christ our Risen Lord.

As a ministry, we believe in fasting – not because fasting, in and of itself, can do any good, but because God Himself is good, and fasting is one way to pour out our love to Him and for His people.

Throughout the year we, as a ministry, fast once a week, abstaining from Lulu work, and spending the entire day instead in prayer for the ministry’s needs.

We also fast twice a year from social media — and this, for a prolonged period of 40 days – again, expressing our love for our Father and His people by removing ourselves from external sources of dependency like Facebook or Instagram and showing Jehovah that we know HE is the only One who can move in people’s hearts to give.

These periods of fasting are always prompted by Yahweh Himself, the Divine Planter of this Tree.

For example, just one year ago God told us to fast (and pray — as the two always intertwine) for 40 days for South Sudan in East Africa and for Liberia in the west. Interestingly enough, both countries border Uganda and Sierra Leone, the nations we’re already in.

God then confirmed this call by speaking the exact same message to our directors in Uganda.

As the founder of this ministry, I tried to convince myself that maybe God ONLY wanted us to fast and pray. That He wouldn’t ask us to do more. (Maybe because I couldn’t handle the thought of expanding from two to four countries – not that I handle any of it, anyway, for it’s all HIS. He does all the handling.)

But the Lord is gracious and He’s also strategic. He prepares hearts like soil for His seeds. And now, one year later, The Lulu Tree is being planted in both Liberia and South Sudan. (See the image below of Pastor Santos, our new South Sudan national director, currently visiting our Uganda ministry to receive training; here he is seen joining Ugandan pastors in praying over the elderly in their churches)

I’m always reminded of Nehemiah, who, upon finding out Israel’s vulnerability and defenselessness, couldn’t eat – he could only weep, mourn, fast, and pray. (Neh 1:4) This is the kind of fasting our Father desires (Isaiah 58:6). The kind birthed not out of obligation but out of deep compassion and sorrow.

It’s a churning of the earth, a giving way for tiny roots to stretch and unfurl.

Before God calls, He breaks. He breaks so He can put His people back together in a form that can be used.

Fasting invites this breaking. This putting back together. (Daniel 9)

I’m not an expert faster. I haven’t read books on it or listened to podcasts. I do, however, know that it’s biblical. Specifically,

a) it’s a habit of the prophets, as seen throughout the Old Testament;

b) it was a habit of John the Baptist and his disciples, and Jesus entered into it for 40 days in the desert;

c) Jesus gave stipulations that when we do fast, we are to do so in secret – not to warrant attention (Matt. 6:16-18);

d) He also implied that when the Bridegroom is gone, we are to fast –but when He returns it will be a time for feasting and celebration (Matt. 9:15);

e) Jesus’ apostles fasted in the book of Acts, inviting the Spirit to guide and lead them following Jesus’ ascent into heaven (Acts 14:23);

and finally,

f) fasting is a fulfillment of Romans 12:1, which calls us to be a Living Sacrifice. Fasting is a spiritual act of worship — an expression of love, identifying with a Savior who gave up everything for us.

My experience with fasting is limited to the past five years since founding The Lulu Tree, for it was then I realized my absolute insufficiency to run such an organization and my complete dependence on God for His divine provision and abundant grace (see Ezra 8).

But oh how our nations need to bend their knees and seek the Father’s face, friends – oh how our churches need to give up, to surrender, to open hands and hearts so the Lord can pour in. Do you feel the moving of the Spirit, friends? It’s a call, a call to repentance, and it’s being whispered across our land – into the hearts of children and fathers and mothers and grandparents. It’s the call of a Father seeking His lost ones. Calling them away from their screens and their fast food and their Amazon carts into the banqueting halls of heaven.

Joel 2:12 says “‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning…’”

I believe Jesus is calling the developed world to fast and pray. For our sons and daughters. For our pastors. For our political leaders. For our schools and for the unborn.

Will you join us? Will you deny yourself something once a week with us, to seek Jesus’ face for the least of these? We’d love to join hands with you every Thursday to fast (again, from whatever you choose – coffee, chocolate, Facebook, food) and to pray and to seek God’s face for His kingdom come, here on earth.

For this is His promise:If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)

God is the healer. Of Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Liberia, North America, and every land on this planet.

We believe He hears from heaven. We believe He forgives sin. We believe He will heal, and oh how desperately healing is needed. That’s why we fast and pray.

***

For those interested in heeding this brave call, please join us in giving up something you love (ie. coffee, food, sugar, TV, social media, etc.) for the next 40 days and interceding with us for the continents of Africa and America. You can follow along as we pray by subscribing to our weekly prayer email below:

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