Why Fasting and Prayer Cannot Resolve the Issue of Desolation in the Church
By Zheng Xin
Editor's note: Lin Ke, a Christian, desperate to resolve the issue of desolation in the church, has fasted and prayed countless times. However, in the end, there is still no resolution to this issue. Only after seeking does she understand that this problem can only be resolved through praying in accordance with God’s will and by putting God’s words into practice. These results cannot be attained through fasting and prayer alone.
These years, in order to rejuvenate the church, bolster her brothers’ and sisters’ faith as well as her own, Lin Ke has fasted and prayed so many times that she has lost count. Despite all this, all along, she has been unable to feel the Lord’s presence and guidance. She did not understand why God does not listen to her prayers. Could it be that her fasting and prayer was not devout enough?
Lin Ke was sitting in a pavilion by the river side staring blankly into space perplexed about this issue of fasting and prayer when her fellow worker Xiao Jing shouted at her twice before she could hear it.
In response to Xiao Jing’s concern, Lin Ke laughed bitterly and answered, “These few years, the situation in my church has gotten worse. I myself am very weak. This time, I have fasted and prayed for four days! Despite this, our situation has not gotten any better. All along, I feel that I am unable to feel God’s intentions. I am wondering if my fasting is not devout enough or if the Lord is testing my faith. Right now, my heart is very weak. I have truly fallen short of the Lord!”
Xiao Jing replied, “Lin Ke, have you ever wondered why, even though we fast and pray and sincerely ask God to rejuvenate the church, God does not listen? What’s God’s will? We all know God is reliable. As long as we pray in accordance with God’s intentions and as long as we fulfill God’s decrees, God will listen. However, the prerequisite is we must pray in accordance with God’s intentions. Otherwise, regardless of how we fast and pray, even if our attitude is very sincere or if we suffer a lot, God will not listen. Presently, the desolation in the church is not just occurring in one or two churches. Instead, the entire religious world is experiencing this issue. This indicates that God’s intention is within. First of all, what we must do is seek clearly the root of the church’s desolation. What is God’s intention? Otherwise, even if we continuously fast and pray, we will be unable to find the answer and we will end up starving ourselves!”
Lin Ke asked in a perplexed manner, “In regard to the desolation of the church, how should we seek God’s intentions?”
Xiao Jing replied, “In regard to this aspect, while I was reading the Bible, I found the following, ‘And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold’ (Matthew 24:12). ‘Behold, the days come, said the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah’ (Amos 8:11). ‘And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have you not returned to me, said Jehovah. And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered’ (Amos 4:6–7). Presently, incidents of lawlessness are increasing such as theft and adultery. Even pastors, elders and famous preachers are unable to adhere to the commandments. All they do is preach about biblical knowledge in order to raise themselves up. They bear witness to themselves so that the brothers and sisters will worship them. They basically do not lift up God or bear witness to God. They pretend to serve God but in reality, they are simply wielding their authority over our brothers and sisters. They have already deviated from the Lord’s way a long time ago and they have been spurned by God. If such people serve God, how can the church not become desolate? Additionally, we are presently in the last days. This is the crucial time when the Lord will return. It is possible that God has done new work once again, the Holy Spirit’s work has shifted and because we have not followed God’s footsteps, we have been left in the dark. This is similar to the last phase of the Age of Law. The leaders of Judaism did not follow Jehovah’s laws and they did not have a heart that revered God. All they adhered to was man’s inheritance. They even abandoned God’s commandments and completely deviated from God’s way. They turned the temple into a ‘den of thieves’ where they bought and sold livestock and exchanged money. This brought about the gradual desolation of the temple. This was the main reason why the temple lost the work of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, the came to do new work. The people at the time had to leave the temple and receive Jesus’ work in order to reobtain the Holy Spirit’s work and enjoy the peace, joy and sweetness of the Holy Spirit’s work.”
In amazement, Lin Ke said, “What you are saying is that presently, the desolation of the church nowadays is similar to what happened in the final phase of the Age of Law. Since the pastors and elders deviated from the Lord’s way, God spurned them a long time ago and they lost the Holy Spirit’s work. Also, is it possible that God has already come back to do new work?”
Xiao Jing said, “Mmm, yes. This is definitely possible. We are well aware of the situation of the church nowadays. It is similar to how our brothers and sisters simply chat with one another at leisure: On stage, the pastor’s sermons are always the same old stuff; off stage, the believers gossip nonstop. The youth frequently check their watches and the old snore as they doze off. Gatherings are scheduled at 7 P.M., yet people end up coming at 8 P.M. By 9 P.M., there are still people coming and once the meeting is over, they get away as soon as possible. If the Holy Spirit was still at work in the church, would this sort of situation occur? The pastors and the elders are walking the path of the Pharisees. They are leading the brothers and sisters upon the path of resisting God. In the end, they will be cast aside and eliminated by God. If God does not do His work, no matter how we fast and pray, it is to no avail!”
After she finished saying this, Xiao Jing opened up her tablet and read the following: “‘God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine, people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community will suffer severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him’ (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived”). From this passage we can clearly see that presently, the religious world is encountering serious famine. God’s intentions are that we proactively seek God’s current words and work. From there, we will find the spring of living water of life and only in this way will we be able to attain the Holy Spirit’s work. We are currently in the rainless situation described in the prophecies. Our top priority is to find the church that has the Holy Spirit’s work, otherwise, if we wait passively, we will truly wither and die!”
Lin Ke sighed and said, “Hhmm, what you are saying is in accordance with the Bible. This reminds me of the passage in the Book of Revelation that says, ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes’ (Revelation 14:4). It seems that the church’s desolation in fact contains God’s intentions within. Presently, in the outside world, things are restless and unstable. Disasters are increasingly prevalent. From various signs, we can see that the prophecy of the coming of the Lord has been fulfilled. If this is the case, the priority should be to proactively seek and investigate the church that has the Holy Spirit’s work. However, just how do we seek the Lamb’s footsteps?”
Xiao Jing replied, “Do you remember this passage from the Book of Revelation? ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the middle of the paradise of God’ (Revelation 2:7). And it is recorded in of John, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). From these passages, we can see that in the end, when the Lord returns, He will speak to the churches and tell us all the truths that will enable us to attain salvation and help us break away from corruption. He will also reveal all the mysteries, prophecies and the final destination of the human race. If we want to seek God’s footsteps and welcome the Lord’s return, we must look for the place where the Holy Spirit’s newest utterances are and follow the pace of God’s work of the last days. Only then will we enjoy the nourishment of the truths that God expresses in the last days. This is how the root cause of the church’s desolation will be resolved!”
Lin Ke happily said, “Oh! I have read the Bible for most of my life. How is it that I have not read about this mystery? As it turns out, God has told us a long time ago that when He returns, He will express even more truths to nourish us. Doesn’t this fulfill the prophecy that is written in the Book of Revelation: ‘They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the middle of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’ (Revelation 7:16–17)? It seems that only the water that flows from the river of life originating from the throne will thoroughly resolve the church’s desolation and our spiritual hunger. These issues cannot be resolved through prayer and fasting. Thank the Lord!”
Lin Ke finally received an answer to her problem. She had suffered much through fasting and prayer yet she was unable to grasp God’s will. Those days were finally over. The twilight shined on her body and everything looked beautiful.
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