All Day Prayer and Fasting Guide | 2-5-23
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:
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. This month, we are praying around the theme of God’s wisdom.
“Wisdom is supreme—so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding,” says Proverbs 4:7. The Bible talks a lot about gaining wisdom and defines it by giving examples and then showcasing what happens when we don’t act wisely. Wisdom involves seeing life from God’s perspective and acting accordingly. We must remove the shackles of earth-bound thinking and purpose to see life through a
bigger lens. Life is not about us. It is about God. We are only tiny pieces of God’s big plan, and a person seeking wisdom will acknowledge that.
We turn our eyes to You, Father…
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is respecting Him, obeying Him, submitting to His discipline, and worshiping Him in awe. When we live with the sense of God’s greatness, we gain wisdom. As you read the portion of Psalm 111 below, ask the Father to help you see that as we cherish and value God above all else, we are starting to obtain wisdom. And may this lead to praise God for his judgment and prudence:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!
Psalm 111:10 [ESV]
The primary place we find the wisdom of God in His written Word. Following God’s testimonies has a way of “making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). We become wise when we study the Word and apply it to our lives. Pray this: “Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts” (Psalm 119:98–100). “Lord, please help me pursue your wisdom in your Word…”
We turn our eyes to our own hearts…
We also develop wisdom when we learn from our mistakes. Lord, help us evaluate our folly from your perspective and set personal boundaries so that we don’t repeat it. We also reject so-called wisdom from other sources. Those with worldly thinking will always advise against true, godly wisdom. God’s
work will always appear as foolishness to the worldly-wise. “Lord, give us peace as one who wishes to get wisdom from you and to be prepared to be possibly misunderstood by the world as we do so.” (John 15:18). We want godly wisdom that comes from God and honors God. Godly wisdom enables us to prepare ourselves for eternity. With godly wisdom, we trade earthly values for biblical values (1 John 2:15–16). “Lord, we recognize we are citizens of another kingdom, and we desire to make choices that reflect that allegiance.” (Philippians 1:27; 3:20)
We turn our eyes to our prayer emphasis: a permanent location
We continue to believe that we need our own launching point for more disciple-making, church planting, and mission sending. For now, we wait on the Lord as we fast and pray - for his timing and will with that but we believe now is the time to, with intentionality, petition the Lord to this end. We believe there is power in prayer and a church that is praying together moves the heart of God in a
mysterious way. We want to see where the Lord is at work and join him in that work. “Lord, we see a Romans 12:2 reality - your good, perfect, and pleasing will.
We turn our eyes back to You...
Eternally grateful that you are sovereign and good. James 1:5 promises that, when we need wisdom, we need only ask of God, and He will give it to us. But we must ask in faith with plans to obey (James 1:6). Many people want God’s wisdom but then they want to weigh it against their own understanding and decide for themselves whether or not they will follow it. But Proverbs 3:5–6 warns us not to lean on our own understanding. “Lord, help us to trust in the One who knows all things, including the end from the beginning. He is the One who has our best interests at heart.”.
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