Revolution, entry 4: Spiritual Disciplines

There is no “entry 3.” I wrote it out on one piece of paper…almost like an outline. I felt like God was asking me to go off of my trusty pages. It was a neat night.

Here is No. 4.

If you remember from last week…we learned Jesus’ thesis in his Kingdom Manifesto…the purpose of his message.

 

Matthew 5:20 ESV

20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

And if you will recall, this statement would be a slap in the face of the religious establishment at the time…the scribes and the Pharisees were the religious superstars of the day. They appeared to be very righteous.

 

But that was all it was…appearance. They just played the part of the righteous. Last week we said that the scribes and the Pharisees had a righteousness that was EXTERNAL.

 

And Jesus’ words to his new revolutionaries was that their righteousness was to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees. They were to be more righteous…

 

And what’s more…is that Jesus told his followers that he didn’t come to destroy their beloved, sacred Torah. People thought that he was teaching things that were in complete disagreement with their OT Law…but Jesus said that he didn’t come to abolish that Law, but to fulfill it.

 

So, two main points from last week…Jesus came to fulfill the OT Law and Jesus desires that our righteousness exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees.

 

And our next logical question is…well, how do we do that?

 

And we saw that Jesus then gave us 6 examples…

  • Murder and anger—the external following of the Law would be followed if we just didn’t kill someone else. But Jesus shows us that the fulfilling of the Law, and the surpassing righteousness, would be keeping ourselves from anger. And, if we have been angry or caused anger, we are to go to our brother and seek reconciliation.
  • Adultery and lust—the external following of the Law prohibits us from sleeping with another man’s wife. But Jesus shows us that the fulfilling of the Law, and the exceeding righteousness, is keeping ourselves from lust. And, if we struggle with lust (or any sin), to radically amputate it.
  • Divorce—the following of the Law would be making sure we give our wives a certificate of divorce if we wanted her out of our house. But Jesus shows us that the fulfilling of the Law, and the exceeding righteousness, is staying with our spouses no matter what (unless they commit adultery).
  • Oaths—the following of the Law said we should fulfill any oaths we make. But Jesus shows us the fulfilling of the Law, and the greater righteousness, makes no oaths at all. It makes our yes=yes and our no=no. We don’t need to swear by anything to make our words more truthful. They should just be truthful.
  • Retaliation—the Law allowed an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But Jesus shows us that the fulfilling of the Law, and the greater righteousness, gets no retaliation and, instead, practices a radical self-denial that refuses to insist on our personal rights over the well-being of others. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, you have 3 options: 1) slap back 2) walk away humiliated or 3) bravely turn him the other cheek. If someone sues you to take your undergarment, you have 3 options: 1) refuse and sue back 2) give it to them in defeat or 3) strip down naked and give him both your undergarment and your outer garment…revealing to them their own selfishness. If someone makes you walk one mile, you have 3 options: 1) refuse to walk and get killed 2) walk it humiliated or 3) walk it, and then serve that person by walking another.
  • Love—the Law allowed for us to love our brothers but hate our enemies. Jesus, though, fulfilling the Law and showing us the exceeding righteousness, calls us to not only love our brothers, but also love our enemies.

 

In those things Jesus is showing us the righteousness that exceeds that external righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. In today’s language, Jesus is calling us to stop “playing church” and start acting like the church. He doesn’t want us to just be righteous on the external…he calls us to something deeper and more meaningful…something in our hearts…something internal.

 

We all know people who “play church.” We know those people who call on Jesus by name only…but their lives reflect nothing of Christ.

 

If you were at Countryside Christian Church this last weekend, you heard Vic talk a little about the general differences between a Christian and a disciple. This has been floating around in my head for weeks now…it’s something I’ve been wrestling with. For the sake of simplicity, Christians tend to call on Jesus by name only…and they are just now waiting for heaven to come. To them, being a Christian is basically a fire-insurance policy at the end of this life. It means no hell. It doesn’t change the way they live at all…being a Christian doesn’t change them on the inside.

 

Do you know how many times the word “Christian” is used in the NT? 3.

Do you know how many times the word “disciple” is used in the NT? 260 or more.

 

Now, that’s overly-simplistic…but there is a difference between following Christ as a disciple and simply calling on his name so that you don’t go to hell.

 

And that’s what Jesus is calling us to here…discipleship. This is going to be a theme you hear over and over again in the coming weeks. What does it look like to be a disciple? And how is that different from what we see people looking like around us? Or how is that different from the way we have been living our own lives?

 

Jesus came to change the way you live…not just the way you die. He came to bring the revolution…and the revolution comes when we live this crazy way: by loving our enemies, and radically amputating sin, and praying for those who hate us, and refusing to retaliate, and speaking truth and refusing to be angry with someone.

 

So, Jesus shows us how to be exceedingly righteous in our relationships with each other…and tonight, we are going to look at the way he calls us to be exceedingly righteous in our relationship with God. And this is ALL ABOUT discipleship. This is all about the INTERNAL change in us.

 

Let’s read:

 

Matthew 6:1-18 ESV

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

 

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

“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.

 

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

 

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name. 
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread, 
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,

 

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Jesus starts by saying:

 

Matthew 6:1 ESV

6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

 

And this is one instance where Jesus does something “normal.” Remember last week how we discovered that Jesus presents his qualifications first…and then his thesis? And how we normally present our thesis and then our qualifications. Well, here Jesus does it more like we are used to. He starts by giving the main point…the summary. We must not practice our righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them…

 

The Pharisees were notorious for this…as we will see tonight. But, are we this way as well? We love attention…we love for people to see us and validate us…

 

Two stories come to mind:

 

1)      I heard someone once tell me about an old man in a church somewhere…and every Sunday, this old man would go to his church wearing the same jacket. And on his jacket he wore a pin for every year that he had had perfect attendance to Sunday School. And it was something like 55 years in a row that he had perfect attendance. So, his jacket was full of these perfect attendance pins and he wore that coat every week. (Now, there obviously is nothing wrong with perfect attendance…but what is the point in wearing the jacket with the pins? So people see you?)

2)      One of my favorite authors and speakers is a guy named Donald Miller. He said once that he went to one of those Christian awards shows…like Emmys or Grammys, but for the Christian music industry. And he said that the first guy got his award, and went to the front, and asked everyone to pray with him. Very spiritual. The second guy to win an award went up there, and not to be outdone by the first guy, asked everybody to stand up and pray with him. The third guy wanted everyone to stand up and hold hands and pray. And each person got more “spiritual” than the last. Miller said that he hoped he would win an award so that he could go up front, tear his clothes, slaughter a lamb, and smear its blood all over his body. He didn’t think anybody could outdo that.

 

This is an idea of what Jesus is warning us against…practicing our righteousness in front of others so that they see us and say, “oooh, look how spiritual Brandon is.” He and Jesus must be homeboys.

 

So, Jesus states that we mustn’t practice our righteousness in front of others in order to impress them…he says that if we do this, we will have no reward from our Father.

 

And then he goes on and gives us 3 examples of spiritual disciplines…giving, praying, and fasting.

 

Now, I think that these are not the only 3 spiritual disciplines that we are given in the Bible…I think there are many more. Solitude, simplicity, meditation, confession, repentance, worship, service, and fellowship would be other disciplines that I would include. But Jesus gives us a starting point with these three…and for good reason.

 

I want to say a few things about these spiritual disciplines…

 

First of all, discipline sounds like a depressing word to call these things…it conjures up images of being punished by a parent…disciplined. But, I want us to notice something: the word discipline has a root…and that root is disciple. A disciple is a learner…and disciplines are tools for learning. The thought doesn’t have to be scary or conjure up negativity…in fact, it should do just the opposite.

 

There is a place in the life of a disciple for the disciplines.

 

Secondly, we obviously are not going to talk about all the spiritual disciplines or spiritual practices. But, we should think about this analogy: I am not a runner…but, if needed, I could run a mile. I’m not in the best shape, but I could do it. However, I am not able to run a marathon. Even if somebody was holding a gun to my head, I couldn’t do it. No matter how hard I try, it won’t be done. I’ll cramp up, pass out, vomit all over you…I’ll do a lot of things, and none of them will include running 26.2 miles. It would, as of this point, be impossible.

 

But, as many people have learned, what’s impossible today doesn’t have to stay impossible forever…if I would begin to follow the practices or disciplines or a marathon runner. I’d start by running short distances every day, and increase those distances over time. I would eat properly and rest well and drink water. And over the course of months, I could increase the distance I run…eventually getting up to 26.2 miles.

 

These spiritual disciplines are much the same…many of us don’t practice all of them right now. Many of us don’t pray like we want to. Many don’t fast. Many don’t live simple lifestyles. Many don’t serve or confess our sins to others. But…just because we don’t do it today doesn’t mean we can’t practice or discipline ourselves to make those things a part of our everyday lives.

 

But, we have to start with the right motivation…which we already have heard from Jesus on what our motivation SHOULD NOT be…to be seen by people.

 

Let’s take a look at these 3 disciplines Jesus brings up and see what we can learn from them.

 

GIVING

Matthew 6:2-4 ESV

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

In Jesus’ day, giving of charity was seen as more important than all of the other commandments…the only thing that was deemed as more important than giving was meditation on the Torah.

 

Let’s notice a few things:

 

“…when you give to the needy…”—Jesus expects us to be giving to the needy. Notice that he does not say “if you give to the needy” but “when you give to the needy.” He assumes that we are already giving to the needy. Not that we are just considering it, but that it already is an important part of our spiritual lives.

 

When you give to the needy…don’t sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do…and why do they do that? So they may be praised by others.

 

The word “hypocrite” is a great word here…it’s a Greek word that was used for the actors in the theater. It refers to those who dress up and pretend to be something or somebody they aren’t…Jesus is calling those who give to the needy and draw attention to themselves as hypocrites…something that they aren’t. They look spiritual, but they aren’t. Just like Robin Williams isn’t Mrs. Doubtfire…he is a man. And a really hair man, at that.

 

And what reward do the hypocrites get? Praise…just like what we give actors on stage…we applaud them. We clap for them…we think they are great…but that’s it.

 

Jesus says that hypocrites give their money to the needy with loud trumpets, making all kinds of racket and noise, so that people will notice them and applaud them…and he says that’s all they get. “They have received their reward.” That’s it…that’s all they get.

 

“But when you give to the needy,” Jesus says again, “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give in secret. And your Father will reward you.”

 

This is a cool illustration that Jesus gives us…our giving is to be such a part of our character that one part of our body doesn’t know that another part of our body is even doing it. Does that make sense? Our giving is to be such a part of us that our left hand doesn’t even know that our right hand is giving money away…not only do we not draw attention from other people, we don’t even draw attention from ourselves when we give.

 

We give in secret…which is completely opposite of how the hypocrite gives. They give in public, loudly…we give in secret, quietly. And our Father rewards us…which again, is completely different from how the hypocrite is rewarded. He or she receives applause from all those people who watched them throw money into the plate…we receive a reward from our Father. Which do you think is a better reward?

 

Our Father looks to our hearts…not to our outward appearances of righteousness. Our giving, which is external, needs to be motivated by our hearts, which is internal.

 

This is how we should be giving…and we should be giving. Even you, poor college students, should be giving to help the needy. I don’t have much money, you might be thinking. I will tell you that the amount doesn’t matter.

 

I love it when Jesus is sitting in the Temple…and he is watching people throw money into the offering box. He notices someone who has a lot of money throw in a lot of money. And then he watches a widowed lady who has little money throw in a penny, which was all that she had. And Jesus says that this little old lady put in more than everyone else, including the guy before you who threw in a large sum. Why? Because she put in all she had to live on…

 

You see, it doesn’t matter the amount you give. What matters, I think, is the amount you have left over. We are to be giving…practicing the discipline of giving…but not in order to impress people…but in order to draw closer to the heart of God.

 

What’s next?

 

PRAYING

Matthew 6:5-15 ESV

“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.

 

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

 

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name. 
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread, 
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,

 

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

Again, Jesus starts by saying, “when you pray…” letting us know that he expects us already to be praying.

 

And again, he calls us to be praying differently than the hypocritical actors…they love to pray out loud in the church and on the street corners, so people can hear them pray and be impressed by how holy they are. They made a show of their prayers. I see these kind of guys on TV a lot. And again, Jesus says their reward is that the people see them and think they are spiritual…and that’s their reward.

 

He goes onto say that our prayers are not to consist of words and empty phrases we say over and over again…the pagan cultures around Jesus at this time would repeat the same thing over and over again in their prayers to their gods…in hopes that their repetition would wear their gods down, make them bored and frustrated, and that the gods would then give them what they wanted.

 

Our prayers are to be different…and Jesus even gives us a model of prayer. I use these words of Jesus to direct my prayers everyday. Let’s take a look at it:

 

“Our Father”—Jesus starts his prayer, as should we, by acknowledging that we are speaking with our Father. And that is what prayer is at its most basic…conversation with our Father.

 

“in heaven”—Our Father is in heaven…and we are here on earth. I think to start our prayer with the words “Our Father in heaven” is a way that we put each of us in our place: we put our Father above all, in heaven…and we place ourselves underneath Him, where we belong.

 

“hallowed by your name”—This literally means “let your name be kept holy” or “let your name be treated with reverence.” To the Jewish people, your name embodied who you were. That’s why, if you read the OT, you see names reflecting the people. When Esau was born, he was given the name Esau, which means “red.” He was given that name because he was born covered in red hair. Jacob, after he wrestled with God, got the new name Israel. Israel means “wrestled with God.” So, this is a statement of praise. To praise God’s name is to praise who He is. It’s at this point in my own prayers that I praise God for who He is…His holiness, purity, love, grace, faithfulness, and so on. Our prayers should start with praise.

 

“Your kingdom come”—The kingdom has already come, right? We have talked about this at length. But, I think it’s at this point in our prayers where we dedicate ourselves to being citizens of God’s kingdom…and ask that His kingdom come fully in our lives. All this stuff that we have been talking about at TNT over the last weeks—it all is covered in this part of our prayer. Let your kingdom come in me…let me love, serve, turn the other cheek, give, hunger and thirst for righteousness, and on and on.

 

“Your will be done”—This is like God’s kingdom coming…we are asking that God’s will be done in our lives. We are aligning ourselves with His plan and His purpose.

 

“on earth as it is in heaven”—the punctuation of this phrase suggests that this phrase should be read with the previous lines. So, it actually would state: “Hallowed by your name on earth as it is in heaven.” “Let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” And “let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

 

“Give us this day our daily bread”—It’s at this point in my prayers that I present my basic prayer requests before God. Our most basic needs go before Him at this point. I pray for you as individuals, for wisdom, for insight, for healing, for all of those things at this point…because I see them as daily, basic needs; like bread. The phrase “give us this day our daily bread” seems to indicate to me that this prayer should be said at the start of the day. It makes sense, right? To pray for your needs for the day before the day is over? David states O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” (Psalm 5:3).

 

“forgive us our debts”—It’s at this point where I confess my sins and ask the Lord for His forgiveness. To fail to confess sins and ask for forgiveness is to pray with pride.

 

“as we also have forgiven our debtors”—Jesus feels the need to clarify this point for us a few verses later, probably because he knew we would have a hard time understanding it. He says this in verses 14 & 15: 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

If you have ever heard that forgiveness is unconditional, you are wrong…forgiveness is conditional on your willingness to forgive others. How can you expect to receive forgiveness from Christ and not extend forgiveness to others? That’s self-centered. There must be a connection between the way God has responded to our sins and the way we respond to the sins of others.

 

“and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”—This is when I pray for guidance and specifically, divine protection from temptation in the day ahead. God does not tempt us…James says that. But, there are things in this world that do…and this is a plea to be protected from those circumstances. I often will ask God for wisdom and guidance at this point in my prayers.

 

This is the model of prayer Jesus gives us…and he calls us to pray often and secretly. And I think, if we are all honest, we would confess that we want to be able to pray more effectively and honestly and with meaningfully.

 

We need to remember, as I stated before, that prayer is conversation. There is great freedom in it and it doesn’t have to be hard. Brother Lawrence was a cook in a French monastery, and he wrote a book called Practicing the Presence of God. He talked about how he prayed constantly in that book…praying a short one-breath prayer at the top of every hour. Praying as he worked. Praying with his eyes open…because he was so frustrated that he kept falling asleep during prayer time in the monastery.

 

Another thing to think about is…if prayer is a conversation, then it must be a two-way conversation, or it isn’t a conversation at all. If I just talk to Keri and never listen, we aren’t having a conversation. I need to shut up and listen…and prayer is the same way. I think God has much to say to us if we would simply shut up and listen.

 

And thus, Jesus teaches us to pray. If you want to learn how NOT to pray, watch the movie Talladega Nights, the Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

 

“Dear Lord Baby Jesus…we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Dominoes, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell.” And he keeps praying and referring to Jesus as Tiny Baby Jesus. His red-hot smokin’ wife rebukes him, reminding him Jesus grew up. But he says, “I like the Christmas Jesus best and I’m saying grace. When you are saying grace, you can say grown-up Jesus or teenage Jesus or bearded Jesus or whoever you want.” (If you want to know how NOT to pray, make Jesus into your own image…) She replies, “You know what I want? I want you to do this grace good, so that God will let us win tomorrow.” (If you want to know how NOT to pray, pray with selfish motivations. Prayer is not twisting God’s arm…it’s not tricking Him into getting what you want…it’s making you into what He wants.) Ricky Bobby’s friend Cal Noughten Jr. jumps in and tells us what kind of Jesus he likes…the king of Jesus with a tuxedo t-shirt on. He wants to be formal, but he likes to party; Cal says he likes to party so he likes his Jesus to party too. Or the kids (Walker and Texas Ranger) like to picture him as a ninja fighting off evil samurai. Or as Jesus singing lead vocals for Lynard Skynard. “We just thank you for 21.2 million dollars…love that money.” And then he endorses PowerAde in his prayers.

 

This is everything prayer should NOT be.

 

Jesus wants us to pray in secret…to be formed in His image…not vice-versa.

 

And finally, right after prayer, comes:

 

FASTING

Matthew 6:16-18 ESV

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

 

Praying and fasting go hand in hand. And while prayer is practiced often, fasting is not. There were no books written about fasting from about 1850 to 1950. But here again, Jesus assumes that we are going to be fasting. “When you fast…”

 

And once again (notice the theme?) he states that we are not to fast like the hypocrite actors…who disfigure their faces so that the fact that they are fasting would be seen by others.

 

The Pharisees fasted twice a week…and when they fasted, they would dump ashes all over themselves and paint their faces white with chalk, so that they would look ghostly. And it would draw attention to themselves. And, get this: they fasted on two days, right? Usually Mondays and Thursdays. Do you know what else happened in Jerusalem on Mondays and Thursdays? The market was open…and so the population of the city flew through the roof because everyone was coming to town to go to the market. So, the Pharisees just happened to fast on the two busiest days in town…to maximize their exposure. “Ooooh, look how spiritual.”

 

And again, Jesus says that would be the extent of their reward.

 

But, he says, when you fast…put oil in your hair and wash your face…don’t look ghostly, but fix yourself up like you do everyday. Don’t draw attention to yourself…but again, like with giving and praying, keep your fasting between you and God in secret.

 

But since we don’t know much about fasting, I want to give us the basics tonight.

 

In our culture, food is a god. Most of us have never gone without a meal…and our days actually revolve around said meals. Our gods are, as Paul says, our stomachs.

 

And fasting is to deny ourselves and our gods…and pursue more deeply the one God. Eating is one of our most basic needs…and to abstain from eating for the pursuit of God places God above everything, even our most basic needs.

 

Remember a few weeks ago where we talked about hungering and thirsting for righteousness? You can see that principle played out in fasting.

 

Jesus, when he was fasting, said these words:

Matthew 4:2-4 ESV

And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

 

What sustains us when we fast? Every word that comes from the mouth of God. So, really…fasting is feasting! Not on Taco John’s, but feasting on the words of God.

 

(GO THROUGH SHEET)

 

Why do we fast? What are some of the purposes of fasting?

  • Repentance (confessing and acknowledging sin)
  • Humility
  • National Prayer
  • Deep Personal Prayer
  • Preparation for Missions
  • Wisdom
  • Before a Great Undertaking
  • Revival

 

And there, of course, are some wrong motives?

  • Pride
  • To get our way with God (as with all these spiritual disciplines; we don’t do them to get God in line with us, but we do them to get us in line with God.”
  • Legalism (legalism says ‘I do this so God will love me’ but grace says, ‘I do this because I love God.’

 

Benefits:

  • Joy and gladness (Zechariah 8:19 ESV 19“Thus says the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth shall be to the house of Judah seasons of joy and gladness and cheerful feasts.”)
  • Deeper intimacy with God.

 

Andrew Murray says “Fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything—to sacrifice ourselves—to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

 

The reason I want to go through this with you so thoroughly is because I feel as though God is leading us to fast together as a community…

 

We have set aside 30 hours…from 11am on October 1st (Monday) until 5pm on October 2nd (Tuesday) we will have a community fast. If you feel led to join us in that…please do. It will be an opportunity to be humble before God, to seek His face, to seek His wisdom, to devote significant time to prayer.

 

I want to have all 30 hours covered in prayer by someone…so, I have a sign-up sheet ready. If you want to volunteer to pray during one (or more) of those 30 hours, sign-up for the ones you will commit to. We hope to have a corner of this room set aside as a prayer closet…with tools and prayer activities to help guide you in your praying. You can come here and pray during your hour if you like…

 

If you feel confidently led to join us…you can sign-up tonight. I don’t want to know your names so that your EXTERNAL spirituality can be seen…I want to know names so that we can pray during the fast for those participating. I will send out an email tonight or tomorrow…and will have a Facebook group put together…where you can see the available times to pray and enlist to participate.

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