A Day of Fasting and Prayer

Yael Eckstein  |  April 28, 2021

Yael praying at Western Wall illustrates a Fellowship Fast
Yael Eckstein at the Western Wall,  April 12, 2021, Yael leans her cheek and hand against the wall with eyes closed, black shirt

Growing up as a Jewish girl in Chicago, I was well aware that there are many differences between Christians and Jews. But when I began to work with my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, at The Fellowship, I began to realize that there is so much that Christians and Jews have in common. I learned that what unites us is far greater than what divides us. I also came to appreciate that the Judeo-Christian values that we share are the very values upon which America was founded.

Focusing Our Hearts and Minds

In this spirit, I am honored to invite you to join The Fellowship family for a time of fasting and prayer on May 6. We will come together for a day of unity to fulfill the spiritual calling of our time: to seek out God, to find ourselves, and to reach out to one another.

Fasting during challenging times is a familiar practice for both Christians and Jews. It helps focus our hearts on God and our minds on prayer. There are numerous times in the Bible when God’s people came together for prayer and fasting during their time of need.

I have always found inspiration in the story of Esther, who called for a fast when she risked her life by approaching King Xerxes in order to save the Jewish people. When her life was spared and she managed to save her people, Esther’s success was attributed to the fasting and prayer that preceded her heroic actions. In the same way, when we come together in fasting and prayer, we can bring miraculous salvation and divine healing.

You can participate in the Fellowship Fast in various ways and choose what is best for you. You can abstain from all food or one particular food, and you can do so for one meal or the entire day. Another way to observe the fast is to refrain from certain activities like watching television, or to stay away from unsupportive behaviors like speaking gossip. I will be sharing my own experiences online throughout the day, and invite you to share your reflections too.

In His Hands

Our generation, and especially those of us privileged to live in countries like the U.S. and Israel, has enjoyed material abundance as no generation has before. Food, clean water, and top-flight medical care have never been so readily available. We have the world at our fingertips through the internet, and unprecedented opportunities to experience the world firsthand (once travel restrictions are lifted). However, we must never forget last year, when we were stopped in our tracks by a pandemic that completely changed our lives. It has never been clearer that the world is ultimately in God’s hands – not our own.

With this in mind, I sincerely hope that you will be a part of our Fellowship Fast and invite others to join us as well. As our world faces challenges and uncertainties, I can think of no better way to strengthen our faith than by coming together, Christians and Jews, as one community before God, in the spirit of the biblical words, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). When we come together in introspection and prayer, God’s countenance will surely shine down upon us and bless us. Together, we can emerge stronger, more faithful, and better than before.

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature