As a Church we are going to fast and pray for Renewal in our City, as a response to what we have been teaching on and the great need we see all around us in Durban.
We are going to Fast on the 4th and 5th of August, and we will meet in the evenings to Pray together over Zoom with our Life Groups on Tuesday night, and together as a Church on Wednesday night at 7pm.
We wanted to provide everyone with a guide on what fasting is all about, and to give us some specific prayer points to work through during the Fast.
WHAT IS FASTING?
Fasting is a spiritual discipline practiced by followers of Jesus, where we abstain from eating food and doing certain activities, to make more time to seek God in prayer.
Fasting isn’t self-deprivation, or making a sacrifice to get something from God. Fasting is actually Feasting. But instead of feasting on food, we are feasting on the grace, love, and truth of God, as we make time to be with Him.
Fasting and prayer go hand in hand. Without praying, we aren’t fasting, we’re simply dieting. So as we fast, our goal is to significantly increase the amount of time we devote to prayer.
Scriptures on Fasting:
Isaiah 58; Matthew 6v16-18; Luke 5v33-35; Luke 4v1-2; Luke 18v9-14; Nehemiah 1v4, 9v1-3; Esther 4v3 + v14-17; Acts 13v2, 14v23; Joel 2v12; Luke 2v36-37; 2 Samuel 12v16-23; Jonah 3v5-10
WHY ARE WE FASTING?
All throughout Scripture we read about the spiritual disciplines of fasting and prayer. The Bible gives us plenty of examples of people who have fasted and prayed, for many different reasons. We see that Jesus himself fasted and prayed. As followers of Jesus we fast and pray in obedience to Jesus and the Scriptures (Matthew 6v16).
Fasting is a practice that helps us grow in our relationship with God, and in our hunger for him.
Food is something that is a part of our everyday lives. Most of us eat meals multiple times a day. So, when we fast we are breaking from the normal rhythm of the way things are, to remind ourselves that what really sustains us, is not food. We are not self-sufficient. What we need is external, and comes from God. We are truly dependent on him.
This is an important reminder for us in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. For many of us the things that we have been dependent on or have found security in have been stripped away.
This fast provides us with a moment to reflect on what or who we are depending on. As we fast we have the opportunity to turn to Jesus as the true source of life, and our ultimate joy and satisfaction.
As our stomachs grumble, and as we feel hunger pangs, we are reminded of our greater hunger for Him, and this reminds us to pray and seek Him.
Lastly, we do not fast to ‘twist God’s arm’. Fasting doesn’t make God more likely to answer our prayers because we’re showing Him that ‘we mean business’. Fasting is more about us.
When we fast we are creating space to engage with God in prayer as we cut out the distractions around us.
HOW DO WE FAST?
As a Church we are fasting for 2 days, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 4th and 5th of August. We will not be eating food, or drinking caffeine or alcohol on those days. We will only be drinking water and juice throughout the day, and meeting on Zoom to pray in the evenings (you may choose to have a light soup at night).
Not eating, cooking, doing grocery shopping, sitting down for a meal or washing dishes gives us more time to pray, to study the scriptures and to seek God.
You might also decide to fast Social Media, TV or other time consuming and distracting activities to make more time to Pray.
If for Medical reasons you are unable to do this fast, please don’t feel bad about it! But, perhaps you can fast something else to make more time to still pray and seek God over the fast?
Please also get your Children involved where possible. Perhaps they could give up chocolate and sweets? Or time in front of the TV, or on their Tablets. Whatever they fast, this is a great opportunity to disciple our kids, and to make time to pray with them during the day, explaining why we are Fasting and including them in what the whole Church Community are all doing together.
PRAYER POINTS FOR OUR FAST:
As we have been teaching in our In Durban as it is in Heaven series, we want to respond by looking to God and praying together that He would bring the Renewal we desire to see in our lives, and around our City.
As we each live in such a way to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6v33) we know that ultimately it is only God’s work that can move in these significant ways over an entire region to bring this kind of Renewal. So we want to pray the Lord’s Prayer as Jesus taught us (Matthew 6v5-15), and ask God to move in powerful ways in Durban and through our lives.
Prayer for Personal Renewal:
- A deeper revelation of God, and a deeper trust in His goodness.
- Experience of His peace and power during these uncertain and anxious times.
- For more of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and for the fruit of the Spirit to be formed in your life.
- For change in areas of sin, or sinful habits in your life, that you want God’s help to break and live free from.
- For areas of unforgiveness, prejudice, fear, and discrimination in your heart that need healing and change.
- For God’s comfort to meet us where we are distressed.
- For patterns of thinking or feeling that you need God to redeem in your life.
Praying for Spiritual Renewal:
- For Jesus’ name to be hallowed / honoured / worshipped by all people in Durban (Matthew 6v9).
- For a revelation of Jesus, His Gospel and His Kingdom for every person in our City.
- For God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done in every heart, every home, every neighbourhood, every industry, every relationship, between all people, and over every square inch of our City (Matthew 6v10).
- For Salvation: That many men and women, boys and girls would meet Jesus, be saved and begin to follow Him at this time.
- For Revival: That God would revive His Church, that we would value Him and His will rightly, and live passionately for Him.
- For an end to any spiritual apathy and complacency in the Church in Durban.
- For people to be drawn nearer to Jesus during this time.
- For the health and flourishing of the Churches of our City, even as we are unable to gather.
- For those weak in their faith to be encouraged, strengthened and refreshed.
- For those who have wandered from God to return home to Him.
Prayer for Economic Renewal:
- Pray for miraculous economic stimulation during a time where many businesses are closing and many people are losing their jobs.
- Pray for financial blessing, opportunity, and prosperity in every part and every industry of our City.
- Pray for God to give people dreams, visions, strategies and inspiration to renew the economy at this time.
- Pray for new jobs to be created and new businesses to be started.
- Pray for the flourishing of the existing businesses in our City.
- Pray for God to inspire business owners with ways to lead, the right decisions to make, and new strategies to implement.
- Pray for weary workers in our City.
- Pray for the poor and unemployed in our City, and for the NGO’s working to serve and support them.
Prayer for Social and Cultural Renewal:
- Pray for the marriages of Durban.
- Pray for the singles of our City.
- Pray for the parents of our City (trying to work, raise their kids and home school them).
- Pray for the lonely and isolated in our City.
- For the mental health of the people of Durban to be preserved. And for great grace for individuals and families dealing with new pressures, stresses and challenges.
- Pray for God to use this time of shaking to bring transformation and redemption in our City into both the systemic and personal areas of sin, brokenness, evil, injustice and corruption.
- Pray for unity, healing and righteousness in our City between different groups of people, and an end to all forms of prejudice and injustice.
- For an end to Gender Based Violence.
- For an end to Racism.
- For an end to Xenophobia.
- For an end to all forms of Violence and Crime.
- For an end to Economic Inequality, Poverty, Unemployment and Classism.
- For God’s peace and wholeness to come into all aspects of our society.
Praying for our City at this time:
- That those who have contracted the Coronavirus would be healed and quickly recover from the virus.
- That those who are most vulnerable (pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems/health, older people etc) would be protected from the virus.
- For the high level decision makers in each industry and sphere of Durban to have wisdom and God’s guidance as they make decisions that will affect our City, and influence thousands or millions of lives.
- That our health care workers who are on the frontlines would be protected from the virus. That they would have wisdom, compassion and peace as they serve those who are sick during this time.
- For our Teachers and Educators, that God would sustain them as they face ongoing uncertainty, change and risk.
- For an end to the Coronavirus pandemic and its effects on individuals and society.