After a disaster, the Jews would call for a day of fasting to repent and mourn. They acknowledged their sins as the cause of the disasters. They had broken the covenant the Lord had made with them and were worshiping other gods. The Book of Judges is a sad account of the cycle of turning away, disaster, repentance, and mourning. The one-day weekly fast provides a time of repentance and mourning for the moral failures making headlines daily in America: murder, rape of children, greed that wipes out people’s savings and pensions, several million people out of work, Christians choosing to disobey the commandments and break up families, college students who are swayed from their faith by the secular campus classroom teaching, are only a few causes for mourning. Repentance and mourning, not because we committed the crimes, but because we live in the country where they take place. The moral failures remind us of our sins of which we need to repent: failure to pray and witness to the lost, and becoming hardened to the suffering of others.
Excerpted from the book The Chosen Fast and Prayer by Robert P. Holland