This Sunday (January 28th) our church will begin a month long journey of prayer and fasting together. If you are anything like me, the beginning of significant seasons are often filled with both excitement for what could be, as well as a little bit of nervousness regarding the challenges I perceive before me.
When it comes to fasting, I am often tempted to focus on that which I am giving up, and can easily lose sight of that which I am going to gain from God in the days ahead.
Although fasting will certainly require a level of perseverance and self denial (after all that is part of the point), it will also open the door to encounter God in ways that are uncommon when we are doing "life as normal."
So as we prepare to enter into this season together, here are just a few words of encouragement to help us start this season well together.
# 1 - Set Your Eyes on God's Promises
As you prepare for the next month, I encourage you to begin by focusing on the promises of God, and not simply the practicals of what you will be giving up. Here are a few verses I have found helpful for tuning my heart to the will of God in seasons like this:
* James 4:8 -- draw near to God
* Luke 11:9-10 -- ask, seek, knock
* Matthew 5:6 -- hunger & thirst for righteousness
# 2 - Make Space for God Each Day
No matter where you are on your spiritual journey, I want to encourage you to make the decision that you will connect with God through prayer each day beginning Sunday, January 28th. I encourage you to download our daily prayer guide to help you focus your heart each morning in prayer. But don't stop there, commit yourself to making "more space than usual" for God during this month, and then take note of what God does.
# 3 - Take Your Next Step with Fasting
We all find ourselves in different places when it comes to fasting. For some of you, fasting is a regular part of your friendship with God. For others, fasting is a strange and foreign concept. No matter where you are starting this journey, I encourage you to take your next step. The goal is not to do what your friends are doing, but to simply be obedient to what God is inviting you into during the next month. Here are a few resources to help you discern what your next step might be:
# 4 - Be Expectant
Finally, let's come into this season expectant for God to move. Hebrews 11 reminds us that God delights in rewarding those that come to him in faith. I'm believing God for great things not just in your life, but in our church during this month. Will you join me in believing God's promises for our church family in the month ahead?
Father God, thank you for being good. Thank you for the way you love us and promise to draw near to us as we draw near to you. Father will you help us to let go anything that distracts us from knowing you more fully, and will you help us to know you in knew ways in the days, weeks, and months ahead? We love you God, in the name of Jesus, amen.