GRACE LUTHERAN LENTEN PRAYER AND FASTING CHALLENGE
(Giving something up for Lent)
Lent 2019 starts on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 and ends on Saturday, April 20th 2019
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Lent is a time for prayer and fasting. During this time we remember Christ’s temptation, suffering and death. We take this journey with Jesus as a 40-day Spiritual Adventure. Beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding on Easter.
Christians throughout the ages have found that this simple sacrifice of self denial will draw one closer to the Lord.
We are somewhat spoiled in that we do not always have the gratitude for all the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Fasting provides us a means of remembering Him and His mission to the cross for our salvation. We are using bodily means to focus our minds and hearts on His gifts of love. Fasting helps us persevere in prayer; and since Jesus says “When you Fast” this obedience adds power to our prayers.
Matthew 17: 19 -Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20- So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
21- However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 17:19–21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
(Lifting up another in Prayer)
Before you start your fast; pastor is asking that you think of including one person
(Not your family, whom you include usually in prayer) but for one of our members of this congregation. Pray for him/her each day as part of your fasting challenge. Remember them and lift them up before the Lord.
I suggest you keep this person’s name just between you and Jesus.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
However, if you really want to ask a particular person if you can pray for them, ask them to keep it confidential between you and Jesus.
Bible Verses encouraging us to pray for each other:
--James 5:16 - Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
--1 Timothy 2:1- First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
--Ephesians 6:18 - Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
--Philippians 4:6 - Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
--Colossians 1:9 - For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
--Romans 15:30 - Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in [your] prayers to God for me;
You don't have to simply fast from food. Below are some ideas you can use to make this lent a true spiritual walk with Jesus.
Fast from media: Spend some time reading the Gospels. Get to know Jesus.
Fast from TV: Chances are you know what your media addiction is. Give it up until Easter and you might find that you've given it up for good; or at least can put it in the proper perspective.
Fast from radio talk shows: Challenge yourself to focus spiritually and listen to Christian Music Radio, K-love 91.1 Fm and Way Fm 101.7 FM
Fast one meal a day: Cut out one meal each day that you usually eat. (No snacking allowed) This meal can vary from day to day. Try not to eat more on the subsequent meals. Replace this time with a devotional and prayer.
Fast from candy/sweets; pasta’s, breads, sugar and sugar substitutes: These are known to raise insulin levels. Only eat wholesome real foods. Your palate will adjust. Maybe you will enjoy those green vegetables even more!
Fast from all soda’s: Replace with healthier drinks such as tea, coffee, etc.
Fast from video games: Get outside and enjoy God’s earth.
1.Spend more time with family. 2.Reading from the Psalms each day. 3.Reading from a devotional prayer book each day; Portals of Prayer.
(Pastor recommends the book “Day by Day we Magnify Thee”. Concordia Publishing House) LWML and LLL usually have good devotionals.
4.Make a special prayer notebook and list all the people in your life who need prayers and pray for them each day. 5.Commit to examining your conscience each evening. 6.Write a letter to God each day. 7.Write a list of the ways God has blessed you and add to it each day. This could be done in a notebook or on a big poster hanging on your wall. 8.At dinner each evening ask your family to share one thing for which they are grateful. 9.Go for a walk each day (or prearranged schedule) with a loved one and talk about life and faith.
A LAST NOTE:
Pick a person to be a fasting buddy. Jesus sent His disciples out by twos. Encourage one another; pray for one another; hold each accountable.
Hebrews 3:13- But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Ecclesiastes 4:9- Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
May God bless your Spiritual Journey!
On behalf of Grace Lutheran Church
Rev. David W. Baker