WHAT IS FASTING? Fasting is a spiritual discipline taught in the Bible, which helps our spiritual growth. Jesus expected His followers to fast and in the early church in Acts, the Disciples often fasted before making any important decisions.
11-13 September 2017
Fasting is voluntarily to reduce or eliminate food intake for a specific time and purpose, humbling ourselves before God and feasting on Him instead. It is not about twisting God’s arm, or a formula for getting through to Him, or punishing our bodies, rather it’s about taking our eyes off the things of this world and focusing on God instead, demonstrating that we are serious about our relationship with Him. Although fasting in Scripture is mostly fasting from food, there are other ways to fast. Anything you can temporarily give up in order to focus better on God can be considered a fast.
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN FASTING FOOD
If you have any medical conditions or are on any medication that you think could be affected by fasting, you should consult your GP.
Set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord and His Word. Why not use the time with God that you would have spent preparing food and eating it?
It is important to drink plenty of fluid. Fasting is going without food, not without drink.
Be careful about how much strenuous activity or driving you undertake when going without food.
Next week, we are looking forward to our three days of Prayer and Fasting. We want to make lots of time to hear what God has to say to us for the year ahead. The theme is
Enlarging our vision. Each evening, we will begin with worship followed by a short message on Monday from Glen, Tuesday from Steve and Wednesday from Elisabeth. We encourage you to use the reading guide overleaf each day to draw near to God and then join us for as many of the evening prayer and worship times as possible.
The four paintings in this devotional guide depicting our Vision and Values have been produced by people from our own church: Sue Judd, Dan Horner, Katy Bambrough and Andy Bayston. We encourage you to use these inspiring images alongside the scriptures for each day to help you worship God.
1 Thess 2 v 2 – 10 Faith corporately from the believers in Thessalonica was so powerful it became known everywhere (v 8) and it prompted their work for the Lord (v 3). We pray for this quality of faith throughout our church that it will enable the Lord’s message to ring out from us (v 8) throughout Northallerton, North Yorkshire and further afield.
Put yourself in the shoes of the two people at the foot of the cross in this image. As you reflect afresh on God’s unfathomable love for you, use the three passages from John’s Gospel to guide your response to the cross of Christ today…
Heb 11 v 1- 6 Faith that accepts the unseen, the improbable and the inexplicable, as being from God and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Let us pray that this kind of faith would expand our vision of Jesus, our worship of Him and our mission for Him, personally and corporately.
John 3: 14-18 Believe: Believe afresh in the Son of God today. Trust him for forgiveness & eternal life. Allow the Spirit to set you free from any condemnation you are under either from yourself or others.
John 15: 9-17 Remain: What does it mean for you to remain in the love of Christ today. See the cross as your access into the presence of your Abba Father who loves you unconditionally. Rest in His presence and ask Him how he is calling you to be fruitful today. John 19: 25-27 Nearby: It’s easy to forget how heart-breaking it must have been for Jesus and his mother Mary at the cross. Thankfully, John the beloved disciple, was standing nearby to put an arm around her and take her home. Who is the Lord calling you to stand nearby with the love of Christ today.
Tuesday: FAITH Matt 8 v 5 – 13. Faith that is not afraid to ask God in the face of the most difficult and distressing situations. ‘Just say the word…’ (v 8) that’s all that is needed accompanied by the faith to believe Jesus can do it. Let us pray for the ‘great faith’ (v 10) this centurion had that even astonished Jesus!
Romans 5:1-11: God’s timing is always perfect (v.6) and when we put our hope in Him we are not disappointed. Let’s pray that God will fill each of us afresh with the joy and hope of our salvation, so that we may “confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory” (v. 2) and also introduce others to the amazing hope of a relationship with God in this world and the next! (v.11) Genesis 22:1-18 & Hebrews 11:17-19: Abraham put his faith in God, His character and His promises. Because of this he could have a firm hope that both he and his son Isaac would return after the sacrifice (Gen 22:5) – Let’s pray for this down-to-earth and powerful attitude of hope so that, by God’s grace, we may see His provision and breakthroughs beginning to flow in the really tough situations we are facing. Hebrews 10:19-25: We above all people can have hope for the future as we have direct access to our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ (vv.19-22) and to all the good things He has in store for us as His children. Let’s pray for one another to be all God has called us to be for Him. Let’s motivate and encourage each other through regular fellowship to do those “acts of love and good works” which He’s prepared for us to do (v.24).