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All Day Prayer and Fasting Guide | 10-2-22

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On Sunday, July 31, the elders called Mercyview's gospel communities together for a time of vision-casting and prayer to seek the Lord for both direction and provision for a permanent location for us as a church. We want to continue to invite you to join us in unity around this effort. To that end, we are taking one day a month for the foreseeable future to fast and pray with this intention. We will break our fast with our monthly potluck in the fellowship hall at Memorial following our evening worship gathering. 

What is fasting? 

Fasting traditionally involves abstaining from food for a set period of time. There are various reasons to fast but the overarching goal in fasting is to seek spiritual nourishment and an increased focus on God’s work in and around us. The physical hunger we experience while fasting reminds us of our spiritual need for Christ and drives us to seek him as our sustenance and strength. The time we would normally use to prepare and enjoy a meal is typically spent in prayer and study of the Bible. One way to share this experience is to gather together with your D-group, gospel community, or other groupings throughout the city to pray and read the Bible together. Some people will choose to fast one meal, others the 24 hour period, others a variation of this. You are certainly free in this. If you are new to fasting, you can find some valuable information in the two articles provided here: 

Prayer Guide 

Please find below a suggested guide to direct you during your times of prayer. You will notice an intentional progression: up, in, out, and up again. Looking up to our Father, looking into our own hearts, looking out to a specific posture of prayer, and then looking back up again at our Father. 

We turn our eyes to You, Father… 

We thank you for the greatness of Your faithfulness towards us. As you read the portion of Psalm 36 below, ask the Father to give a glimpse of His faithfulness. How vast is His steadfast love - how deep are His judgements - how His righteousness is as majestic as the mountains. In His faithfulness, we are invited to take refuge in the shadow of His wings - to drink from the river of His delights and to see His light. 

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast You save, O LORD. How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light. Oh, continue Your steadfast love to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright of heart!” (Psalm 36:5-10)

We turn our eyes to our own hearts… 

Help me to remember Your faithfulness as we ask for you to increase our faith. We admit that we are a people of little faith. We walk by sight, not faith. Lord, help us to see that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). We are convicted that “the righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) So we pray, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) and “have mercy on those who doubt.” (Jude 1:22)

This month, we turn our eyes outward in prayer for a permanent location… 

While the Lord could reveal that we are to stay where we are because it is the wisest and most responsible decision, we believe more than ever before that we need our own permanent space. We are willing to wait on the Lord on his timing with that but we believe now is the time to, with intentionality, petition the Lord to this end. Or said another way, to extend our faith that God can and will answer our prayer. 

At Mercyview, we are praying for a “mission-advancing” meeting place. We believe that apart from prayer, utter dependence on and abiding in God, and practical work that we are responsible for - namely, to place our faith and trust in his strength and power to meet our needs - we labor in vain. We are reminded of Jesus’ words in John 15, beginning in v. 4: 

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

Jesus’ words here are clear. Apart from him we can do nothing. But with him, as Paul says in Ephesians 4, God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us as we place our trust in his provision. We want to tap into that power - not for our own glory - but for his! We seek the Lord for a Romans 12:2 reality - God’s good, perfect, and pleasing will.

We turn our eyes back to You, rejoicing in Your strength and power… 

So “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23) We now proclaim that “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9) because we know that “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)