In his book titled Fasting, Scot McKnight writes that a grievous sacred moment is what prompts us to fast and that moment is often caused by severe pain, suffering, or sorrow, which often includes the oppression of the innocent. This sorrow prompts us to focused prayer and fasting.
I entered a sun-up-to-sundown, water-only fast as part of the National Call to #Fast4Families on Dec. 3.
I fasted because of a strong conviction concerning the broken and unjust realities of the American immigration system. For our generation, immigration reform is a biblical justice issue.
God started working on my heart concerning immigration at the beginning of last year. During times of prayer and fasting, I was constantly drawn to Old Testament passages concerning the strangers and aliens among God’s chosen people. In addition to Israel, the strangers were to receive the law because God had a desire to reveal himself and bless them as well. On several occasions, he professed his love and compassion for the alien.
The teachings of the Old Testament are foundational to Christ’s commandment to love God and love our neighbors. Additionally, according to Matthew 25, Jesus commends us when we welcome the stranger. The covenant that God established through Abraham indicated that “all people on earth will be blessed through [Abraham]” (Gen. 12:3b). This is a promise that we as Christians lay claim to as a result of our adoption into Abraham’s lineage through Christ.
As Christians, we must stop valuing our superiority as Americans and stop believing the political sound bites which call us to the letter of the laws of the land without understanding the system or the manner in which broken laws negatively impact the lives of real people. Above all things, we are called to submit to the Lord, take heed Christ’s command to love, and to join in God’s redemptive plan to bless all nations. We must care more about people. It is with this understanding that I fasted, meditated on Ezra 1-6, and prayed:
God, a few weeks ago it appeared that immigration reform was dead in the water. I come to you at the point of urgency because you specialize in showing yourself strong in what seems like impossible situations. Work in a mighty way. Move the hands and hearts of those in leadership to do what is right and just. I pray for my brothers and sisters who have been sitting at the Evangelical Immigration Table and for the core fasters who are #Fasting4Families. I pray that you teach us how to welcome the strangers and aliens living among us. May we be reminded that we all have equal footing before your throne, and it is only by your grace that we have been born into a country such as ours at such a time as this. May we extend the same gift of grace to others that we ourselves have freely received from you. At the expense of the natives of this land, may we not forget that America is a country founded and populated by immigrants. Forgive those who came as immigrants to assume power and now proclaim themselves judge. You know what needs to happen in our legislative halls. I pray that no fighting from the outside will prevail and no tendencies from the inside will destroy the work that you desire. Move on the heart of Speaker Boehner that he will bring a comprehensive immigration bill to the floor and that votes will be in the affirmative to pass immigration reform into law. In Jesus name, Amen.
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