First Tuesday Fast
First Tuesday Fast @ Mercyview
November 2019: Our Great Shepherd
We invite you to join us in fasting and praying for ourselves, our church, our city and beyond on the first (second if there are five Tuesdays) Tuesday of every month. If that doesn’t fit your schedule, please be creative in how you can use it. It’s our invitation to you to partner with us as we pray for holiness, reliance on Christ, and a passion for mission!
What is Fasting?
In the following excerpt Donald Whitney encourages us regarding the focus of our fasting, “Fasting can be an expression of finding your greatest pleasure and enjoyment in life from God. That’s the case when disciplining yourself to fast means that you love God more than food, that seeking Him is more important to you than eating. This honors God and is a means of worshiping Him as God. It means that your stomach isn’t your god as it is with some (see Philippians 3:19). Instead it is God’s servant, and fasting proves it because you’re willing to sublimate its desires to those of the Spirit.” The article can be found here, Why Do Christians Fast?
In our guide 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 sphere of mission, and then looking back up again at our Father. Our theme for the November 2019 Fast is: Our Great Shepherd.
We turn our eyes to You. Thank you, Father you are our great shepherd. You know our neediness, our empty places, the places that need to be filled with you. In your wisdom, kindness and grace you make us lie down. You lead us beside waters, still waters that enable us to drink deeply and satisfy our thirst and our need for you.
Psalm 23:1-2 “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.”
We turn our eyes to our own hearts. Thank you, Father you are our great shepherd. You restore our depleted, empty and dry souls. You lead us and show us the depth of your righteousness. Your leading may take us through deep valleys but your presence gives us life and courage. Your correcting rod and steady strong staff comfort us.
Psalm 23:3-4 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
This month we turn our eyes outward to the harvest. It is our honor to join together with followers of Christ around the world praying for our brothers and sisters during the month of November for the persecuted church world-wide.
In a few story narratives of persecuted believers, we hear of the pain, trouble, strength and the things longed for as they endure:
- A young believer who started following after reading a Bible who longs to find others he can have fellowship and share community
- A pastor celebrating that his life was miraculously spared in court from a sentence of apostasy and only sentenced to one year in jail for following Christ
- A sister who’s prison time is seen a normative and maturing aspect of following of Jesus; she is longing to remain faithful
- A brother who was wounded so much so that he can no longer work; struggling financially to care for his family
- A college student shunned from friendship for following God’s ways and wrestling with loneliness
- A rural church body losing their church building because it was burned
- The many who endure the loss of a beloved friend or family member who has been killed because of their life following Christ
In Isaiah 55 we are given a poetic picture of the redeeming work God does; taking thorny things and making beauty grow instead. Instead of the thorn shall come up a cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (55:13)
Things we pray for them:
- To know more fully God and the companionship of Christ in deep and mysterious ways in their suffering
- What the enemy intends for evil in persecution becomes goodness and a solid foundation to grow the church and strengthen believers so that the Lord’s name is exalted.
- For those who witness the strength and courage of our brothers and sisters lives in persecution, that they ask themselves…with us…”What must He be like?”
- For those wondering if Jesus is worth the trouble they face...that they be strengthened by a fresh view of beauty of Jesus
- Protection and the armor of God which is putting on Christ himself for those who are facing relentless darkness from the enemy
- For God to miraculously and with delightful details meet the needs of his children.
- Pray Psalm 23 for our brothers and sisters, that they may know him as Shepherd.
We turn our eyes back to You. Thank you, Father you are our great shepherd. You’ve invited us to your table as your children. It’s a prepared table, a place of refreshing and healing, a place of your great abundance. We linger there. We know that your goodness and your life-giving mercy run after us. With you we will dwell forever.
Psalm 23:5-6 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.