PRAYER & FASTING
16 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, who try to look pale and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I assure you that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will suspect you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in secret. And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. NLT
Beginning on Wed., Nov. 22, I am inviting all of you to join Anna and me in prayer and fasting on Wednesdays as we pray for Dover Assembly of God Church.
14 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don’t fast?” 15 Jesus responded, “Should the wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Someday he will be taken from them, and then they will fast. NLT
Jesus is telling us that while there is a time to not fast, there are times when we need to.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Biblical definition of fasting means willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. We find this definition in the book of Esther, where the Queen asks her uncle Mordecai to request others fast for her.
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. NLT
Biblical fasting is carried out for at least a day or more. As is hinted at in the Esther quote above.
HOW WILL DOVER ASSEMBLY FAST?
For anyone who is interested in joining us, we will fast breakfasts and lunches every Wednesday Nov 22, through Wednesday, Dec 20.
PURPOSE OF OUR FAST?
- Jesus says to. (Matthew 6:16)
- Following in Jesus’ footsteps ~, “Jesus himself fasted for 40 days (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:2). The fast is a way of identifying ourselves with him during the days leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection. Denying ourselves food is a sign we are walking with him to the cross.”
- Fasting is a form of offering ~, When we deny ourselves something we enjoy, and which it isn’t wrong to want, we are saying there is something more important in our lives than purely physical pleasure. We want God to be most important.
- It is a spiritual discipline ~ “When we fast, we are exercising our spiritual muscles. When we refrain from a basic physical desire such as eating, we are saying we refuse to be dominated or controlled by the needs of our bodies. If we can deny ourselves food, we can learn to deny ourselves other things too, which may be much more harmful or morally questionable.
- It reminds us of God ~, “Many of us get through the day without thinking much about God. But knowing we have to be alert and in control of our instincts, having to fight the temptation to indulge in something we enjoy, reminds us of our discipleship and of his reality in our lives.”
Fasting is a commitment between you and the Lord. We do it humbly and quietly. We do not tell others that we are fasting. As a corporate body, we are expressing that there are those who commit to fasting and prayer. There is no sign up sheet, no forms to sign. Just a covenant between you and the Lord that you will partner in prayer on these Wednesdays. As we skip a meal, or two on Wednesdays, please spend that time in prayer. You may choose to skip one meal on Wednesday, two meals, or three meals. This is not a liquid fast, however, and feel free to have water throughout the day. If you have a medical condition that would interfere with a fast, then please fast wisely. You may decide to fast a favorite food on these days, snacks, late night meals – the goal is that in its place, you are PRAYING!
We are going to offer this time of fasting to our teens and our kids church as well. We will be asking them to give up a favorite electronic, TV show, etc. on these Wednesdays. We want them to learn what it means to fast and pray and to press into the Lord.
Dover Assembly of God has many needs. We want the Lord to be first and foremost in our lives, our ministries, and in every decision we make. We will fast and pray for wisdom, guidance, health and healings, unity, our community, church attendance increase, our pastors and their families and others things the Lord lays upon your heart.
Please consider joining us in fasting and prayer as we strive to move in closer and closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Pastor Jeff and Anna