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Tell President Bush you will pray and fast to fight global poverty

Every day 30,000 children die a preventable death due to extreme poverty. Yet we have the power to prevent this silent tsunami. What is missing is the moral and political will to do so.

We are calling on more than 30,000 people to declare to President Bush their intention to fast and pray during the World Summit at the United Nations, September 14-16. A fast can be as simple as sacrificing one meal during the course of the Summit, which can serve as a spiritual and personal act of solidarity with the billions of people across the world who go without food and basic necessities every day. Even this relatively small sacrifice will strengthen our call for real and specific policies to fight global poverty.

Sojourners is calling for 30,000 people to fast and pray during the World Summit at the United Nations, September 14-16, 2005.  visit the site and read about their 30,000 campaign and sign up to participate!

I don’t know if you have ever fasted…but i have found that it is an important part of spiritual formation.  Fasting offers a chance to be truly present to a deeper hunger, the hunger of the soul for the goodness of G-d  to be seen in the land of the living.  Fasting offers us a chance to experience for a brief time the hunger that many people, that millions of children live with day in and day out until they slowly starve to death.

When I was young, we would fast the first Sunday of every month, from after Saturday dinner around 6pm until after church on Sunday’s around 1pm.  This seemed like an eternity to me as an 8-12 year old… my stomach would rumble as the church service seemed interminably long… and then there was the wonderful smell of the roast (that had been coking while we were at church), wafting through the air, assaulting my senses, as soon as i walked in the front door!

 

We were not allowed to complain; we were allowed to state that we were hungry, but my parents expected that we understood the privilege and call to fast…for we all knew the teachings of Jesus to fast and pray, and once we were baptized at age 8, we became participants in this monthly discipline.  I think that my parents fasted longer, but we were only required to miss breakfast…and the popcorn and ice cream snacks that usually accompanied our Saturday night movies, or game playing.  Thus, even as a child i learned the importance of discipline and sacrifice that accompanied spiritual practices.

As an adult, I continue to fast periodically, sometimes for a few days, consuming only water, other times for longer periods, giving up a type of food, or pleasure to remind myself of the blessings that i enjoy, to refocus my appetites on the things of G-d, to gain perspective, or seek wisdom and discernment, to clear my mind and body of all distractions when the spiritual battles loom large around those i love, care for, and am involved with, to be better able to hear the Still Small Voice of the Spirit.  I have always been very private about the fact that i fast, it seems to me to be a very private matter, and i only disclose this now, because it may help others learn about the benefits of fasting.

I cannot imagine what it is like to be so hungry that your stomach distends in malnutrition…or even worse, to be unable to provide food for my children so that i must watch them waste away, unable to help, unable to stop the slow death that comes from extreme poverty.  I know that i cannot change the world on my own, that i cannot “mail” my food to the “starving children in Africa” as my daughter once suggested, but i have come to believe that i can do something, and that every “something” that i do, can have a quantum effect on the world.

I believe that G-d sees and hears and honors our efforts to fast and pray and labor on behalf of others.  I know that while it is overwhelming to view the true reality of the world today:  the poverty, the injustice, the hatred, the killing, the violence and oppression…the weight and burden of these truths crush my heart and this threatens to paralyze me… but rather than become overwhelmed and paralyzed, i have come to know that while i cannot do everything, and i am not called to do everything… but i can do something, i am called to do something … that if each of us did something, then the world might actually become a different place…

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