Spring (hopefully) Greetings,
Here we are in the season of Lent. Just as we set aside time to spiritually prepare for Christmas Day, it makes sense to set aside time to prepare for the crucification and resurrection of Jesus.
Lent is a time that offers us an opportunity to come to terms with the human condition we may spend the rest of the year running from and it brings our need for a Savior to the forefront. Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and understand our Lord a little deeper, so that when Good Friday and eventually Easter comes, it is not just another day at church but an opportunity to receive the overflowing of graces God has to offer.
Lent is an opportunity to contemplate what our Lord really did for us on the Cross – and it wasn’t pretty. But ultimately, the purpose of Lent does not stop at sadness and despair – it points us to the hope of the Resurrection and the day when every tear will be dried (Rev. 21:3).
Fasting is a practice that has really gone by the wayside in many Christian circles. Yet, if done correctly, it can be a powerful time of renewing your relationship with God.
Fasting is a way of denying ourselves the excesses of life so that we might be more attuned to the Lord’s voice. It is also a way of disciplining yourself, strengthening your “spiritual muscles” so to speak, so that when temptations arise in life, you are already used to saying “no” to your desires. And finally, fasting is also a way of participating, in a small way, in the sufferings of Christ and can be particularly powerful when accompanied by prayer and confession.
Below find information and prayers designed to take you through the fast. This information is taken from the book Prayers from The Water’s Edge written by Craig Finnestad.
This year I am going to do a fast, will you join me?
I wish you a Lenten experience that transforms your life.
Fasting and Prayer
Jesus fasted. He fasted and prayed for forty days in the wilderness. He taught his followers to fast and pray.
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, fasted. It was a common practice among the early Methodist Societies to fast. Fasting allows us to seek God more deeply.
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18)
This fast is modeled after Wesley’s pattern of fasting. Eat a normal dinner on Thursday evening and then begin the fast. pray the Thursday Night Prayer before going to sleep, the Friday Morning Prayer as you wake up, and the Friday Noon Prayer around the time you would typically eat lunch. Break the fast after praying the Friday Evening Prayer. So this is a twenty-four hour fast. If you haven’t fasted before, you may want to consider drinking juice for breakfast and broth or a light soup for lunch to see how your body reacts. You may also drink water. How you specifically fast is up to you.
The purpose of fasting is to loosen the ties that bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole so that we may concentrate our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things.-Ole Hallesby
Thursday Night Prayer
Dear God – I give You the coming day of prayer and fasting. I thank You for the example of Jesus. Remove my selfishness, my sinfulness, and my self-destructive behaviors. Make me a new creation. Supply my starving soul, nourish my neglected relationship with You, and after a night of rest, open my mouth in gratefulness to You. In the name of Jesus, my Strength in weakness and my Light in darkness. Amen.
Friday Morning Prayer
Dear God – You are great and You are graceful. You are good and You are generous. I pray for the world and I pray for my world. May the world experience peace. Grant me a peace that passes all understanding. May the world experience hope. Remind me that my hope is in You. May the world experience healing. Heal my brokenness. Accept my sacrifice as I dedicate this day to You and to serving Your children. In the name of Jesus, my Prince of Peace, my healer, and my hope. Amen.
Friday Noon Prayer
Dear God – I am thankful for all Your blessings. This includes the gift of food that I will not enjoy today. I am grateful for the spiritual nourishment of Your presence and for new energy and vitality as I depend on You alone. Thank You for my life. I offer it as a gift to You. Thank You for friends and family and a place in Your church. In the name of Jesus, my Bread of Life. Amen.
Friday Evening Prayer
Dear God – I have offered You this day of prayer and fasting. You have provided for me. Help me to keep relying more fully on You. Thank You for nourishing my soul. Thank You for the lessons I am learning. Help me implement them. Empower me to live as a faithful follower of Jesus, I now thank You for the meal before me and for Your provision for my life. Amen.