Josh Willis leads our Ethos Students ministry — for middle and high school students. The following blog is for our middle school and high school students...inviting them into a season of prayer and fasting with our church family. Feel free to share this blog with any students in our church family that would benefit from this information!
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Hey Ethos Students! Our whole church is joining HUNDREDS of other churches all across our city to pray and fast on behalf of the city of Nashville. In past years, we've taken a month at the beginning of the year to do this — but this year it's so much bigger than our church. I wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts on why I’m excited, why I hope you join us, and how we will share what we are hearing from God together on this fasting journey.
First off, we aren’t fasting to punish ourselves. We are choosing to create more space for the Holy Spirit to direct us into greater friendship with God. James 4:8 declares, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you” and that is what this whole season of fasting and prayer is about. As a church, we believe that there is more of God for us to experience and this is an opportunity for us to experience more of God together. I grew up in church and fasting always sounded like a miserable experience… so I never did it. I was 19 years old the first time I ever fasted and the reason I participated was because I had a team of people fasting together. As it turns out, fasting was really hard, but incredibly worth it. (And easier in community!)
You might have the same opinions or fears that I had about fasting before I ever tried it. However, I believe this is an incredible opportunity for us all to walk together towards deeper friendship with God. Fasting is not easy — but it has never left me feeling like it was a waste. This time of fasting and prayer will look different for all of us, but we can all journey together. I wonder what God might do among us if we give him the space to do what he wants in our Ethos Students family? I want to be a part of a student ministry that says yes to that — and I hope you do to.
Here are the 3 things I am inviting you to do with us:
1. READ OR LISTEN
Take 45 minutes to read the ebook that Dave wrote or listen to the audio book. This book is a great introduction and invitation into fasting and prayer. We don’t want you to fast just to check the box or accomplish something spiritual — our desire is that your heart is informed and engaged in seeking after God. The ebook is the best and most concise way for you to be informed and engaged about the vision behind Fast Forward.
2. FAST & PRAY
Talk with your family and pray together about what you can fast from. We are encouraging our church family to first consider fasting from food (whether it's one meal a day, certain foods, doing a juice fasts, etc.). We know that not all people are ready or able to fast from food. For others, it may be social media, tv, the internet when not used for school, etc. None of these things are bad but they are all things that regularly take up our time — time that we can willingly give up for 30 days and reinvest that time with God. This is not a competition about who can give up the most challenging stuff — everyone’s next step is different and we are inviting you to take whatever yours is. Since you are under the guidance of your parents as minors, you must have their permission, especially if you are fasting from food. There is also a daily prayer guide that will enable you to be praying alongside us about the same things on this journey.
In middle school and high school house church, take the opportunity to share what God is doing in you through this journey of prayer and fasting. Share with your parents and siblings as well.
Our prayer is that this propels our Ethos Students family into greater love for God and each other while also giving us a hunger to share Jesus with those who do not yet know him. I love you all and am excited about the journey ahead.