Blackout is a digital fast, a term that I had never heard of before. If a friend had asked me to do a digital fast for the persecuted church, I would probably have said ‘yes’, but not admitted that I did not really understand what they meant.
Which makes me think: how many times have you signed your name on a petition that you do not really understand then forgotten about the cause a week later?
I hold my hands up high (not too high as I am a bit embarrassed about it) and say, ‘yup, too many times’. We shouldn’t just be saying yes to causes, campaigns and petitions, we should be asking WHY?
To support a cause you need to know why you should get involved.
The problem with fasting is that it sounds negative. The idea of removing yourself from something enjoyable and going hungry is not appealing. I always thought that if I fasted I would be so distracted by hunger that focusing on anything else would be impossible.
However, fasting isn’t just giving something up; it’s choosing to do something else. It’s an opportunity to completely focus on one thing. The decision to stop one thing and the motivation to start something else is a strong combination such as the powerful duo of fasting and prayer.
Blackout isn’t just about giving something up; it is about doing something different.
Blackout isn’t just about giving something up; it is about doing something different. Don’t fast from screens to just sit at home and think about how you want to text your friends or about the filter you would use on Instagram; use the time you would normally spend online to focus on God. Just because you can’t Facebook a friend, doesn’t mean you can’t spend time together, you do not have to fast alone.
As Christians we are part of the family of God. Yet it is hard to feel connected to our wider family when we lead completely different lives to those who are persecuted, suffering forced silence and torture. But, we are one body in Christ.
‘God has put the body together […] if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.’
1 Corinthians 12. 24-27
Our part of the body of Christ is the mouthpiece. We have the freedom to speak, to pray openly, and to make a loud noise. When we switch off our phones, computers and televisions for Blackout we don’t have to fall into silence, we need to play our part and speak out for those who cannot.
But this time, don’t let Blackout be another campaign that we simply forget about a week later. After Blackout has ended and we are once again posting, tweeting and hash-tagging let’s remember the campaign we joined and keep our promises of prayer for those persecuted into silence.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.