For the Sake of the Altar

The Fellowship  |  April 22, 2022

Bishop Lanier prayerfully looks on Old City
(Photo: IFCJ)

Bishop Paul Lanier, The Fellowship’s Chairman of the Board, reflects on the meaning of our upcoming Fellowship Fast.

In 2020, all of us stepped into something we had never suffered before. We ended up in a place where we had never been.

But before we ever heard the words “coronavirus”  or “COVID,” The Fellowship’s leader, Yael Eckstein, kept pressing us about the spirituality and identity of our mission, our ministry. She told us that we were involved in something more than a wonderful humanitarian effort. She reminded us that the anointing of God was upon our ministry of saving Jewish lives.

So we started talking more about praying and fasting. And those talks gave birth to what has become an extraordinary annual event for The Fellowship: the Fellowship Fast.

What is the Fellowship Fast? It’s a day set aside every year that touches us at the deepest level of our faith. In the Bible, we see that Moses, when he’s at Mount Sinai, fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Elijah, the prophet in the midst of a holy war against Ahab and Jezebel, also fasted 40 days and 40 nights. Christians will remember that Jesus did the same when he was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil.

Hearing What God Is Saying

Why is fasting important? Fasting is when we step back from the table for the sake of the altar. It’s an act of discipline and consecration when we say to ourselves: I’m not trying to change what God is saying. I’m determined to change myself so I can hear what He is saying. I’m looking at my appetites, my philosophies, my pain, my fears – all the things that make up the mirror of my living – and saying: You don’t define me. You don’t get to tell me who I am. And I’m going to begin to strip myself of all these things that want to own me. I’m stepping back from the table of consumption for the sake of devotion, for the sake of a conversation with God.

The Fellowship Fast can be many things. You might refrain from a meal. You might refrain from some kind of entertainment. You might refrain from some habit that pulls you away from being part of that conversation with God.

Join the Fellowship Fast

Well, we’re about to step into our third annual Fellowship Fast. And you’re a part of this Fellowship family who engages in the glory of the Lord. We’re doing this together. We are part of what God is doing in the world, through Israel, through the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. I’m so grateful that you and I get to be a part of this.

I pray that you’ll join us on May 5. Throughout the day, we’re going to be talking and fasting and praying. And later on that night, we’re going to have a gathering online when we’ll pray together, and celebrate all that God is doing in and through us. And Yael’s going to be a part of this, sharing with us some remarkable teachings, and engaging the presence and power of God.

On May 5, Fellowship family, let’s step back from the table together. And we’ll see each other at the altar.

Bishop Paul Lanier

Join the Fellowship Fast

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