Week of Prayer and Feasting
‘Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” The Levites calmed all the people, saying,“Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.” Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them’ Nehemiah 8:9-12
As I was praying and preparing for our usual week of prayer and fasting this September, Holy Spirit reminded me of this passage from Nehemiah. As I began to read I felt Him say, “Don’t call it a week of prayer and fasting, call it a week of prayer and feasting, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I feel like Holy Spirit wants to see us strengthen in the work that He has for us. This is not to be a time for mourning and weeping but a time of thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for us and through us over the last year. It’s a time to remember His goodness, faithfulness, justice and peace that He has brought and is bringing to Belfast, Antrim, Ireland and the Nations. I want to encourage us during this week to enjoy the goodness of Jesus and share that goodness with our families, friends, neighbours, colleagues and strangers. As the passage shows us, let’s ‘send some to those who are not prepared’. During the week together we will be focusing on the passage from Acts as we ask for a continued outpouring of His spirit on us, our church and our island.