A Call to Pray and Fast
Following the submission of our planning application for the Old Schoolhouse the elders are calling the church to a time of prayer and fasting to dedicate ourselves and the building project to him over the coming weeks (up to 18th October 2020).
What is biblical fasting?
It is the act of putting aside (sacrificing) a regular activity, such as eating or drinking (but it could be activities such as watching TV, watching sport or using social media) for the purpose of devoting ourselves more fully to God.
Why fasting with prayer?
Because fasting and prayer have often accompanied the work of God's Spirit in awakening the Church and bringing revival. Because we recognise that the vision that God has put before us will involve spiritual, emotional, relational and material sacrifice and as a leadership we want the whole church to know the Lord's call and confirmation on us all in this. Because we want the church to deliberately and sacrificially seek the Lord.
Is fasting commanded in the New Testament?
No it isn't, it is an Old Testament practice, that, like baptism is given new meaning and purpose in the New Testament. Although not commanded it is assumed as a regular practice, both individually and corporately, as an accompaniment to prayer. You can see this in Acts 13:2, 14:23 Matthew 6 and elsewhere. In Mark 2:18-20 people (from the Pharisees and the disciples of John) come to challenge Jesus disciples for not fasting. His response indicates that fasting is for those who long for the presence of the bridegroom. Our fasting and prayer is an expression of our desire to prioritise our pursuit of God's glory in us and in our world.
Does the New Testament not warn against public fasting?
Yes, in Matthew 6 Jesus warns his disciples against the hypocrisy of fasting for the glory of men... wanting to be seen. However, the sin is not that they are known to be fasting, but the desire to be seen. This is the same sin that Jesus describes when referring to any righteous act carried out for others to see. (Matt 6:1)
Why CORPORATE prayer and fasting?
Whether in pairs, triplets, home groups or as a whole church, we want to seek the Lord together. Corporate prayer is both assumed and commanded in scripture and in his wisdom God has chosen to work through the prayers of his people. We believe that God speaks through all the members of his body and He wants us to encourage one another in seeking him and listening to him.
Seeking means listening:
Although we believe God has spoken finally and fully in the Lord Jesus (the living Word) and that the primary way for us to know him is through his revealed word (the external Word), most of the answers to the questions that lay before us as move forward, are not found in the Bible.
If we chart the leading of God's Spirit in the life of the early church in the book of Acts, we see that at times He leads by directly intervening in a vision, or by closing one door of opportunity and opening another, or simply in the agreement of the believers when, in the context of prayer (and fasting) 'it seemed right for them to move in a certain direction'. We therefore want all members of the church to share what they are learning in the 'house of prayer' and we believe that this process will be mutually encouraging.
We would like to encourage all church members to share what we are learning / sensing in prayer. Please take the time to share any impressions, words of encouragement, verses that might be significant to the church at this time through the feedback form or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does this mean we all need to fast the same way?
No, not at all. Corporate doesn't mean uniform, it means united. We are inviting each person to decide when and how to fast and pray. We are proposing that existing spaces and places for prayer are the focus for intentional times of fasting and prayer, such as the first Tuesday meeting, Thursday mornings and home group meetings. We propose also, to open up the church building on some Saturdays for times of prayer and worship.
How are we resourcing this call to prayer and fasting?
We hope this space on the website will provide a variety of resources to support and assist our times of corporate prayer and fasting.