This year we are observing Lent as a congregation by abstaining from food on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is an act of self-denial in which we refrain from food and from the Lord’s Supper. This Lent we will observe two fast days: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We also invite you to use Lent to adopt any discipline of fasting appropriate to your spiritual need and growth.
What is prayer?
Prayer is about seeking to weave the kingdom of God into our lives - our relationships, our worries, our fears and failures - and into our broken and fallen world. Prayer is about conversing with God, but it also about collaborating with His actions in the world. We will not experience the change and renewal we seek until we ask God to send his Holy Spirit to change our hearts, our church, and our city through prayer.
What is fasting?
Prayer, for the most part, we can wrap our minds around. We talk to God. We petition him for change in our neighborhoods, for suffering and injustice to be brought to an end, for healing, for hope. But why fast?
Fasting is a unique way to tune into God’s heart and feel what he feels about the state of your city and your world.
In his excellent book Fasting, New Testament scholar Scot McKnight writes,
“At the very core of fasting is empathy with the divine or participation in God’s perception of a sacred moment. When someone dies, God is grieved; when someone sins, particularly egregiously, God is grieved; when a nation is threatened, God is grieved. We could provide more examples. The point is this: fasting identifies with God’s perspective and grief in a sacred moment. Fasting enables us to identify with how God views a given event; fasting empowers us to empathize with God.”
In the Scriptures, there’s a time for fasting, and a time for feasting. There are times in life when the only appropriate response is to eat and drink – a birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, Christmas day, etc. But there are other times, when the only appropriate response is to go without food. When eating would be almost sacrilegious. The death of a loved one. The threat of war. The rise of sex trafficking.
When we look at our city, we realize there’s a lot to celebrate – to eat and drink over. But there is also a lot to grieve – to fast and pray over.
There’s so much that is not “on earth as it is in heaven”.
And so we pray, and we fast.
We want God to flood our collective imagination with a vision not of what is, but of what could be. Of our city as it could be. Of the word as it could be.
What do you see when you open your imagination to the Spirit of God, and you dream in line with Jesus’ kingdom vision? Whatever you see, during this series, let’s pray towards that.
And as a result, our hope is that God’s kingdom, his life-giving, healing presence comes to earth as it is in heaven.
For more on fasting we recommend these excellent books: God’s Chosen Fast: A Spiritual and Practical Guide to Fasting, by Arthur Wallis and Fasting: The Ancient Practices, by Scot McKnight.
For more on prayer download Kingdom Centered Prayer (pdf link) by Tim Keller
For some resources on prayer visit our Prayer Page.