FastingSun Feb 13
What is Fasting (and why we practice it)
Faith is having a conviction about something that is unseen–but it is hard to remain present to our faith in the busyness of our lives. Fasting as a practice opens a space and directs our attention towards our faith. As we fast, we remove something we can taste, touch or see, that we rely upon in our daily lives, to remind us that as Christians, our strength and reliance comes from someone and something unseen—from God. Without him, our souls weaken and twist upon themselves far more quickly than our bodies do when they go without food.
Physical hunger provides a picture of the way in which our souls hunger after God. It demonstrates to us how our souls can grow to hunger and thirst after him. As we intentionally open ourselves to feeling uncomfortable and needy, it can remind us each hour to turn to God and ask him to be our comfort, our sustenance, and our deepest need. As we look forward to the end of a time of fasting, of eating and being full, it can remind us of our future—that at the end of all things, we will feast together with each other and God and be fully satisfied.
Some Ways You Can Fast
Abstaining from food is probably the most immediate way to experience a fast, removing one or all meals, or replacing solid food with juice (and increasing the amount of water you drink). Fasting from social media and entertainment is a close second in our distraction-saturated world. There are all sorts of ways to fast. However you choose to fast, we recommend doing so in a way that is okay for your physical health and that causes you to focus on giving up something for the purposes of praying into and growing your faith in God.
Sometimes when we fast, time can go by quickly because we’re able to keep busy, not paying attention to our need for food. However, when we approach fasting in this way, we can often miss out on the richness with which God wants to bless us. We suggest pausing multiple times throughout the day in order to be intentional about praying and engaging with God. We’ve added an element similar to praying the hours–praying together as an ancient practice for reading Scripture, prayer and worship at set hours of the day.
How We’ll Fast Together
As we engage in this practice of fasting together we encourage you to pray at certain points throughout the day. This allows us to unite together as followers of Jesus, wherever we may be, drawing us to one another and to God, in our love for each other and the purposes we share as a church.
May the Lord bless you and keep you as you give yourself to engage with him throughout this experience. May he be gracious to you, pouring out his grace as you exercise the faith you have and seek the faith you need. In Jesus name, Amen.
MORNING | PRAYER FOCUS: GOD AS HEALER
Dear Lord, I confess that I need you today. As I lay down my desire for food, for social media, or for anything else I have chosen to surrender today, I give the entire day to you. Please meet me in this place, allowing me to experience more and more of you today. God, I acknowledge that you are the divine healer, and that you are able, should you choose, to heal any and all pain and affliction that I experience, that my friends and family experience, and that the world experiences. I pray for your healing today, Lord. Heal those places within me that are broken and need to be made whole. Heal my relationships, both with you and with others, and help me to be attentive to those in my life who need healing. Bring them to my mind today, and may I lift them up in prayer so that they might experience the healing that you offer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
AFTERNOON | PRAYER FOCUS: PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS
Lord, as I experience hunger in this moment, may I be reminded that you are the provider of all good things. Fill me with more and more of you, God, as I go throughout my day. I ask for your healing in the following areas (be specific here–name the specific requests or any people you would like to pray for). May your presence be known here, God. I also pray for those who will encounter you through this message of healing–may they experience you in new and profound ways, Lord, and may they find the healing they desire. We ask for your healing presence to fill us, Lord, as we seek you and seek for people to be made whole through your incredible love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
EVENING | PRAYER FOCUS: SURRENDERING OUR DESIRED OUTCOMES
Dear Lord, as Jesus prayed in the garden, I surrender my will to yours. I confess that your ways are higher than mine, that your thoughts are more complex than mine, and that your perspective is always more complete than mine. I lay any of my desired outcomes from this time of fasting and my requests for healing at your feet, and instead receive whatever you would have for me, rather than what I think I want or need. I confess that you are God and I am not, and I put my full trust in who you are–your love, your character, your goodness, and your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.