Submitted by By Rev. Gloria Steptoe, Louisiana Conference
Matthew 4:1-2 tells us that Jesus was led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights he was hungry.
The Rt. Rev. Bishop Eric Leake and Missionary Supervisor Jean McMurray-Leake, have been led by the spirit of God to lead the Southwestern Delta into the “Spiritual Wilderness” of prayer and fasting for forty days and forty nights. The fasting and prayer began on Ash Wednesday and will continue throughout lent.
To jump start the prayer and fasting Lenten Season, Bishop and Mrs. Leake, held a Pre-Lenten, virtual prayer meeting via Zoom. Nearly 200 people were present on the line. The meeting was facilitated by the Southwestern Delta’s Prayer
Coordinator, Rev. Bonnie Travis. Rev. Rick Lee was our technical person for the zoom.
Two times daily, 6:00am and 8:00pm, the Southwestern Delta prayer warriors will gather via the phone conference line to pray for a specific purpose. We will pray for strength, faith, forgiveness, our leaders, our bishop and missionary supervisor, healing, financial wisdom, our youth, following the will of God, a closer relationship with our God and each of our conferences, and bishops.
Upon completion of the forty days of fasting and prayer, just as Jesus was ministered to by the angels, we too have expectations after completing our forty days fast. We are expecting a visitation from God, via the angelsTo be encouraged during our fast we must realize that, Jesus was fully human and fully God. We must remain aware that Jesus could have succumbed to his weaknesses as a human and called on the angels to feed him. But to do that, would have led him into temptation. So, he continued on the fast as we should. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us: 15.For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This fast allowed Jesus to become closer to the Father, get away from distraction of the flesh, which included food. Our fasting is a sign of humility before God and a way of standing in agreement with Jesus. This reiterates the part of the scripture that says: “man cannot live by bread alone”. As we fast and pray, our need for discernment, direction, and peace from the Lord will take place.
Already this fasting and prayer has been an anointed, spiritual, experience. This was demonstrated by our guest prayer intercessors, Rev. Cathy Henderson and Rev. Brandon McLauchlin who prayed with fire and power in our Pre-Lenten prayer meeting.
We are being led by the Holy Spirit into and out of this spiritual wilderness.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit will lead your Episcopal District into the “Spiritual Wilderness” of 40 days of prayer and fasting. I am a living witness that you too, will encounter a relationship renewal with our God!