Monday, September 13, 2010

Tonight at 7 PM the Hub City Church family is starting our first ever 24 hours of fasting and prayer. As we enter what promises to be the most significant ministry season in our short history, we don’t want to take the first step without declaring our full and complete dependence upon Jesus and His power. (Thanks to my friend Jay Hardwick for the inspiration behind this guide.)

As we prepare to fast and pray, I want to share some tips and ideas with you so that you are well-equipped for the fast.

1. Remember why we are fasting. 2 Chronicles 7:14 sums it up well:

…if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

We are fasting and praying as a means of humbling ourselves before the Lord, asking God to forgive us of our sin, and asking for Him to move in power in our church, in our friends’ lives, and in our city.

2. Determine how you will fast. The point of fasting is not just to refrain from eating. The point is to take the energy and longing we would normally have for these physical needs and direct them fully to the Lord.

You may decide to skip a meal or refrain from all foods tomorrow. If you have not fasted before, I would suggest skipping one meal completely and eating lightly for the others. Drink water and juices and avoid caffeine, especially if you will fast from all food tomorrow.

I would also suggest refraining completely from or severely limiting your engagement in television, social media, the internet, etc. as forms of leisure, entertainment, or time fillers. Again, the point is to hunger for God, His Word, and His presence.

Go ahead and plan when your times of prayer and Bible reading will take place. Be sure to dedicate plenty of time to seeking God’s face throughout the day.

For Bible reading, I would suggest reading some in Psalms, the Gospels, Acts, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.

3. Prepare yourself spiritually. Spend considerable time at the front end of your fast confessing and repenting of sin. Confess your sins of commission and omission to the Lord and receive His grace that covers over those sins. If needed, make restitution or seek forgiveness from a person you may have sinned against. Confessing sin to the Lord is part of humbling yourself and must be done if we are going to truly seek God’s face.

4. Pray boldly and expectantly. Pray bold prayers throughout the day. We pray bold prayers based on the sovereignty of God, the victory of Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the gospel.

Pray for the people who are close to you, but far from God. Pray for the people you are inviting to Hub City Church. Pray for the Life's a Journey campaign. Pray for God’s favor. Pray for God to move in power in our city. Pray for other churches. Pray for your personal and family needs. Pray for salvations, baptisms, and spiritual growth at Hub City Church.

Do not pray as if you are praying to a weak and distant being who is incapable of acting. Pray knowing that you are presenting your requests to the one true God, the God “who is able to do abundantly more than all that we ask or think (Eph. 3:20-21).”

5. Respond obediently. Throughout the day as you pray and read God’s Word, He may prompt you to make a bold move of obedience. Do not resist or ignore His call! Obey and obey quickly. Remember, praying bold prayers will almost always lead to God calling us to make bold moves.

6. Expect spiritual warfare. Obviously, the enemy is mobilizing his forces to their work of bringing about distraction, doubt, fear, and apathy in our lives tomorrow. Satan does not want our church to fast and pray because he knows that God moves in power when His people fast and pray! Expect his attacks and fight them on your knees.

When you feel the most weak, the most vulnerable, the most frustrated, the most distracted, stop what you are doing to pray and read the scriptures. Do not fight the enemy in your strength, but in the power of God.

I am eager to see how God will move in our lives in the weeks ahead. Take this seriously, humble yourself before the Lord, confess your sin, seek His face, and call on His power.

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