A couple weeks ago at Antioch we explored the topic of “fasting” from Matthew 6:16-18. Fasting is a neglected spiritual discipline among many followers of Jesus, including myself. In his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney defines fasting as “…a Christian’s voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes.” In the Bible, fasting is almost always connected with prayer. Some potential occasions or purposes for fasting may include:
1) A weapon in the spiritual battle against sin
2) A regular health check-up for your soul
3) To pursue a greater hunger to know God and delight in him
4) To express repentance and return to God
5) For strength and perseverance in the midst of a trial, hardship, or crisis
6) To aid in the frequency and fervency of a specific prayer need
7) To advance God’s gospel and kingdom purposes
8) For guidance for a specific decision, task, or direction
This year as a church family we are setting aside the FIRST TUESDAY each month for a voluntary “Antioch Day of Prayer and Fasting.” Among other areas one might pray for personally during those first Tuesdays, I challenged us to spend time in focused prayer concerning three specific areas:
1) Pray for significant gospel transformation in the lives of Antioch people.
2) Pray for tangible demonstrations of the gospel of Jesus in our city.
3) Pray for new people to become followers of Jesus and kingdom workers for the gospel.
I encourage you to join with us in crying out to the Lord through prayer and fasting this year! Whether it is for one meal or the entire day, let’s fast and pray together, expecting God to answer in great ways for his glory and our joy.