40 DAYSPrayer, Fasting, & Devotion
A Special Message From Pas
Greetings Church Family,
We are so glad you have decided to participate in an extended time of prayer, fasting, and personal devotion. There is no better way to reset our spiritual compass and bring about spiritual renewal in every area of our lives than through prayer and fasting. We hope that this time of prayer and fasting will refresh us personally but also our church as we seek His blessing and direction.
Make a commitment to communicate with God daily by scheduling time to pray and spend with Him. You can also join us in Corporate prayer on Mondays throughout the Lenten Season at 6pm via GoogleMeet.
Biblical fasting is, very simply, denying oneself something for the sake of seeking and honoring God. Prayer is connecting with God; fasting is disconnecting ourselves from the world.
As a congregation, we will fast from 6 am to 12 noon as we walk with Christ on this spiritual journey of devotion. Please check with your medical physician to ensure your participation.
As part of our Christian walk, we will grow closer to the Lord and mature in our faith. Over the 40 days, we want you to be diligent in your daily devotion and meditation of God’s Word.
Lent Devotionals will be available for pick up on Sunday, February 11th, and Ash Wednesday, February 14th.
The Joy of Salvation
Inspiration from Henri J.M. Nouwen
Henri Nouwen, one of the most beloved spiritual thinkers of the 20th century, wrote tenderly about the joy that ultimately comes to us through the knowledge that we are saved by Christ and his cross. Excerpts from Nouwen’s inspiring insights are paired with original reflections and prayers in this booklet for each day of Lent as we come to experience more fully the eternal blessings of God born of extreme sacrifice.
Jesus Christ emphasized throughout scripture that fasting is a personal exercise of commitment, conviction, and love. Jesus didn’t say if you fast, but when you fast. In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus said, 16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Fasting has the potential for a significant impact on our lives. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life personally and God can speak to you in new and dynamic ways.
Fasting and prayer can also work on a much grander scale. According to Scripture, personal experience, and observation, we are convinced that when God’s people fast with a proper Biblical motive – seeking God’s face not His hand – with a broken, repentant, and contrite spirit, God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our churches, our communities, our nation, and the world. Fasting and prayer can bring about revival – a change in the direction of our nation, the nations of the earth, the fulfillment of the Great Commission, and to The Church Without Walls.
Biblical fasting is, very simply, denying oneself something for the sake of seeking and honoring God. Prayer is connecting with God; fasting is disconnecting ourselves from the world. That’s a great way to describe the feeling.
Why You Should Fast
Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you as you determine your personal reason for fasting.
- Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded 40-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, “when you fast,” not if you fast.
- Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
- Fasting is a Biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”
- Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
- The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!
- Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
- Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life – and make you a channel of revival to others.
Prayer is a two-way communication with God: Listening to God and talking to God. In prayer, you will get to know Him better and experience Him more. So, when you pray, surrender totally to Him and tell Him about your desire to glorify Him. Focus on who He is, His character, love, goodness, and greatness.
Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:5-14 – “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your unseen Father. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Commit to communicating with God daily by scheduling time to pray and spend with Him. Worship music can help to set an atmosphere for entering into the presence of the Lord.
TCWW Prayer Focus
In addition to your praise, needs, and concerns, we are collectively praying for:
- Mental, Emotional, Financial, Spiritual, and physical health of our members
- Crime and gun violence to cease.
- Members who have become caregivers to family members.
- Spiritual Vitality
- Church Growth
PREPARE YOUR HEART:
- Remember that God is your Father and He loves you and is for you.
- Focus on the Mission that our Pastor has in place for our church:
The Church Without Walls is committed to bringing men and women who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ into fellowship with Him and into responsible church membership through:
- Equipping Believer
- Enriching Persons
- Evangelizing People
- Edifying Missions
- Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Seek forgiveness from people whom you have offended and forgive those who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3, 4).
- Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14, 15.
- Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1, 2).
- Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).
- Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16, 17).
HOW TO FAST
As you prepare to fast, it is important to choose a fasting plan that works for you. While this section provides some general information about different types of fasts, as well as some suggestions on how to create your fasting plan, it is important to mention that there is nothing more inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. These are simply guidelines and suggestions on different things you can do.
Fasting can include food, social media, and entertainment, among other things. It should be something you are accustomed to so that it stretches you to give it up. Giving it up for a period enables one to focus on God. For example, when those hunger pains happen, turn to prayer. When you usually watch your television shows, open your Bible to read and pray instead. Fast from social media or watching sports so you can focus on God. Don’t let what you eat or do not eat become the focus of your fast. Our focus should be on drawing closer to God. Remember, this is a time to disconnect enough from your regular patterns and habits to connect more closely to God.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind before getting started.
- Start Where You Are:
We are all at different places in our walk with God. Likewise, our jobs, daily schedules, and health conditions are all different and place various levels of demand on our energy. So most importantly, whether you’ve fasted before or this is your first time, start where you are. Your fast should present a level of challenge, but it’s very important to know your own body, know your options, and, most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Remember, the goal of fasting is not just to do without food or Facebook. The goal is to draw nearer to God and to seek His direction.
- Make Your Commitment:
Jesus encouraged us to fast (Matthew 6:16-18). For Him, it was a matter of when believers fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast, we encourage you to decide upfront what God wants you to undertake and how much time each day you will devote to prayer and reading God’s Word. Making these commitments ahead of time will help sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon them. Choose something from your daily routine (i.e. specific foods or beverages, television, technology, etc.) and fast in that manner for 40 days. Parents consider this option for your children. Remember, the details are not as important as the attitude from which you participate. This is your personal decision and should be prayerfully considered as it applies to your circumstances. It is important to fast in a way that works for you. The goal is that you fast in a way that will be challenging for you but will work within your life. You should choose a plan that will cause you to rely on God and will create space in your life for Him to work.
- Beginning and Ending Your Fast Well:
Before you begin a fast, you must prepare yourself. It is important to prepare your body ahead of time before February 14, 2024. Take some days to transition into your fast; otherwise, it may be difficult for your body. If you take prescription medication or have a chronic condition, please consult your physician first.
The same principle applies to breaking your fast. When your fast is over, add foods back in gradually. You will not want to break your fast with a greasy cheeseburger!
Our TCWW Journey begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2024, and we cannot wait to see how God uses this time of prayer and fasting in your life and in the life of our church!
If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray, and seek God’s face; if you consistently meditate on His word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21). The Lord will give you fresh, new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened and you will feel refreshed. Our prayer is that this will be a significant time in your life where you experience God’s presence like never before.
Make it a priority to attend church during your 40-day fast. Being around other believers will encourage you to keep on going when fasting gets difficult.
If you are fasting with others, you may want to meet in a small-group setting before bible study or church services. You can share what God is showing you in your devotional time as well as spend time in prayer together.
If you mess up, don’t get discouraged. Just get back on track and keep going. God’s mercies “are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). He wants you to finish, and He will give you the grace and strength to do it.