Those who follow Jesus Christ should put actions behind their faith, said President Russell M. Nelson in the Saturday evening session of the 2020 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
And then he again called for a worldwide fast for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic as part of Holy Week leading up to Easter.
“I invite all, including those not of our faith, to fast and pray on Good Friday, April 10, that the present pandemic may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.”
Fasting, President Russell M. Nelson said, is both an ancient doctrine used by biblical heroes such as Moses, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Isaiah, Daniel, Joel and many others, but also a monthly part of modern church life.
While he was talking about those biblical heroes, my mind came back to those episodes, when the fasting of the people of Israel saved them from destruction. His comments made me realize that we are now living an historic moment, similar to those ancient one, where the Lord is testing His people and the people of the world, hastening His work, in preparation for His Second Coming.
I thought of the story of Esther, for example. When she realized that to save her people, she would have to go before the king and plead for them. But it was a dangerous thing to do, because no one was to go before the king without being called. Esther then asked that her people fast and pray for three days for her.
Similarly, the Bible tells us about Ezra.
“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance…
So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.
Then we departed … and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way. (Ezra 8:21;23;31)
I have felt many times the power of fasting in my life, and I know that the combined faith and prayers of many people during a collective fast can be very powerful and attract the blessings from heaven.