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    Fasting & Praying this Lenten Season

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012


    I am aware, as I write this, that today is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time when many Christians and churches begin to think about and prepare for Easter. It is a forty-day period of fasting and prayer intended to encourage Christians to think about sin and forgiveness through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. While for some it may be a vain attempt to follow a set of rules and regulations to be pious enough to find acceptance with God for many others it can be a genuine time of personal discipline and denial to encourage a greater awareness of God and devotion to Him.

    This Lenten season as we head toward Easter we thought it might be a good idea to encourage our church family to be focusing on the Lord Jesus and draw near to Him through fasting and prayer. We have alerted our Lifegroup Shepherds about this and asked them to encourage their groups to consider fasting and praying. Fasting can take many forms such as fasting from; food, sweet things (sugar, cakes, ice-cream, especially chocolate!), meat, alcohol, caffeine, entertainment, television, technology, facebook, shopping, an attitude or bad habit. You name it, there are any number of things that we can deny ourselves as a form of spiritual self-discipline in order to prompt us to pray and read more of the Scriptures.

    Currently our E100 is seeing great support in the church and is encouraging many so how about adding fasting and increased prayer to the spiritual discipline of reading the Word of God everyday?

    It is significant that Lent is a period of 40 days in preparation for Easter as 40 day and year periods have great significance in Scripture, consider the following; God sent rain upon the earth in the great flood for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:4), Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 34:28), Elijah spent 40 days and nights walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8), the 12 spies spent 40 days exploring the Promised Land (Numbers 13:25), the Hebrew people spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness (Numbers 32:13), they also ate manna for 40 years (Exodus 16:35), Jonah told the people of Nineveh they had 40 days to repent or face God’s judgement (Jonah 3:4), Israel was oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years (Judges 13:1), for 40 days Goliath taunted Israel (1 Samuel 17:16), David reigned over Israel for 40 years (2 Samuel 5:4), Solomon also reigned over Israel for 40 years (1 Kings 11:42), Saul reigned for 40 years  (Acts 13:21), and perhaps most well known is Jesus spending 40 days fasting in the wilderness at the beginning of His earthly ministry (Matt 4:1-2).

    What can you pray for during the next 40 days? Your spiritual growth, your attitudes, words, actions, your family, your marriage, your work, your health, your unsaved friends, the church, the pastors and elders, missionaries both local and overseas, marriages, churches in Adelaide and throughout Australia, government, political leaders, our nation. There are many things we can be in prayer for, how about taking the time to write a list and then pray through it? Perhaps Lent and a dedicated time of fasting and prayer could encourage you spiritually to go to a new level of growth and vibrancy in your walk with the Lord. Your life could increasingly become a source of spiritual influence and encouragement to Christians and non-Christians.

    Remember God wants to walk with you, He wants you to fellowship and commune with Him through prayer, listening to Him, reading the Scriptures and obeying His will in your life. He wants to bless you that you in turn might be a blessing and an inspiration to others.








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