Next Tuesday is our regularly-scheduled Kingdom Prayer meeting at 7:30pm. It also happens to be our last Kingdom Prayer before our move to Glen Rock! So we’ve decided to kick it up a notch, and to encourage everyone to consider an all-day fast. (Details below in bold).
Did you know that last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent? This period leading up to Easter has long been considered by the Christian church as a season of spiritual preparation, with special focus on individual repentance. Biblical examples of fasting are usually linked to repentance of sin, and Lent seeks to follow this pattern. It’s a time to ask questions of ourselves such as: What are my sin patterns? To what do I give my time, attention, finances and affections, that have become more important than God? (These are the idols of our hearts). How can I turn away from these idols and sin-patterns and see that Christ alone ultimately satisfies?
Fasting has nothing to do with motives to make ourselves more “approvable” by God! Only the substitute sacrifice of Christ on the cross can provide cleansing, forgiveness, and atonement to all who trust in Him.
But… as the Lord continues to show us His faithfulness and His abundant blessing, how appropriate it would be for GRC to fast and to pray in the face of receiving such a gift as this building/property! Especially to guard against making this amazing space into an idol or a distraction from our core calling of proclaiming and demonstrating Christ to the world.
We have prayed for and continue to trust that God will bring about greater and lasting spiritual fruit in his people. We long to see, not just seasons of generosity, but lives re-oriented to God’s priorities, to eternal realities. And during such a critical time in the life of GRC, we believe that focusing on repentance, seeking God’s heart, and prayer are all so important! Fasting serves to remind us that our desires rule our hearts far too much; that the material (even food) is not ultimate reality; that longing for anything other than God’s perfect will isn’t just a bad idea, but is the very root of Sin itself.
Let me offer these suggestions:
- First, the vast majority of us can do this. We just don’t want to! Unless you have a significant health condition, pregnant, or younger than a teen… give it a try!
- When you wake up, use your typical breakfast time to pray and to read Scripture.
- Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. If you need some sugar in you (or if you can’t function because you’re a caffeine addict : >), don’t feel guilty about drinking some juice or a cup of coffee.
- When hunger pangs remind you of your fast, go right into prayer. Confess to God how easily your fleshly desires overtake you. Affirm in prayer that God alone can satisfy and as Jesus quoted in the wilderness under temptation: “that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
- You’re always welcome to configure your fast however you’d like: to only fast for dinner, to break your fast after the prayer meeting, or to carry it through the evening and break fast the next morning!
- If you’re unable to join us at 7:30pm, spend that time in prayer (we’ll send out specific prayer requests) and know that you are still ‘joining us’ as we seek the face of God, ask for his blessing, and claim his promises!
At 7:30pm, as you come to 21 Harristown, you’ll be sent off in small groups around the building. In each ministry space, there will be a few prayer requests specific to that ministry. Pray in your groups, and then at 8:15 we’ll gather in the new Sanctuary to close our time together. Children are welcome as long as they can quietly stay at your side as we pray.
We encourage you to pray and to fast next Tuesday, Feb 27th as we prepare ourselves for this major transition to Glen Rock!
Grace be with you,
Peter Wang is Senior Pastor of GRC.