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Week 1- Lesson Objective

By the end of the lesson, we will:
-KNOW that believers can fast and pray for God’s help in dire situations;
-DESIRE to fast and pray; and PLAN to fast and pray in times of need.

Assignment #1- Watch the Opening Video

Instructions: Watch the opening video then click the GO button below to answer the opening reflection question.  Be sure to add your name to your answer.

Assignment #2- Focal Scriptures and Background Text

Instructions: Read the Focal Scriptures and Background text, then click the GO  button below to answer the questions. 

FOCAL SCRIPTURES

NIV

Ezra 8:21-23

NASB (1995)

BACKGROUND TEXT

The People, Places, and Times

Ezra was a scribe, well-versed in the Mosaic Law. He led a second group of exiles to Jerusalem from Babylon, where “some of the people of Israel, as well as some of the priests, Levites, singers, gatekeepers, and Temple servants, traveled up to Jerusalem with him in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes’ reign” (Ezra 7:7, NLT). He found that they had rebuilt the Temple; however, the people’s lives were in shambles as they had intermarried with foreigners, something God forbade them to do.

 

Background

In today’s passage, Ezra moves from a prophetic role to a leadership role. After he bragged about having God’s protection, he led the people in prayer and fasting to ensure it in their return to their homeland. Typically, the Persians would haveprovided military escort for Ezra as they were carrying with them monetary contributions made by the Persians. Apparently, however, the Persian king had been convinced of God’s protection for the returning exiles. The Word for this week’s lesson is “FAST” from Ezra 8:21. The Hebrew word is tsuwm (SOOM), which means to cover one’s mouth. The interpretation is that when one fasts, they do not allow food to come in; they metaphorically cover their mouth. Fasting is not unique to the Bible. It is an extremely common spiritual discipline that has happened in almost every major religion for thousands of years. However, when believers fast, we also pray when we fast. We do not fast to show control of ourselves or simply honor God, but to remove food for a time to seek God. Our God wants a relationship with us, so we seek God through fasting and prayer. Fasting is not focused on just removing things from our lives but adding more of God. We do not need to fast to get God’s attention, but we fast to refocus our attention on God. Fasting and prayer can help us grow with the Lord as we seek God’s will for our lives. God is faithful to respond to our prayers according to His will! Fast. Tsuwm. The Word Made Simple!

Assignment #3-Search the Scripture and Discuss Meaning

Instructions: After you have watched the lesson video and reviewed the focal verses, click the Gbutton below to answer the questions. 

LESSON VIDEO

Lesson Conclusion and Steps for Application 

Liberating Lesson

As we go through life, we learn that we will face things where a solution is not readily apparent. There may not be a perfect example in the Bible for us to follow for our particular situations. Often, these answers are obtained through fasting and prayer. In these instances, God affords us the opportunity to still have access to Him to help lead us through those areas in life. Once God begins to work in our lives, it’s important that we share with others His many miracles and blessings. We should understand that others will gain faith in what God can do by our testimonies.

We may have a path imagined for our lives, but only God knows what lies ahead and can direct us safely through. He awaits the call and plea of His children, wanting His guidance to be yet another demonstration of His mighty effect on their lives.

 

Application for Activation

Set aside a few days for fasting and prayer over a situation in your own life that you know only God can deliver or supply the need. If you do not have a need at this time, consider a family member, friend, coworker, etc., for whom your testimony about God’s guidance will provide support during their time of questioning or need.

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