First Tuesday Fast / April 2021
April 2021: One Another
Written by: Lauren Jones
We invite you to join us in fasting and praying for ourselves, our church, and our city on the first Tuesday of every month. We welcome you to partner with us as we pray for holiness, reliance on Christ, and a passion for mission!
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 in community is to gather together in small groups throughout the city to pray and read the Bible together. Some people will choose to fast one meal, others a 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, Fasting for Beginners. (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/fasting-for-beginners) and Sharpen Your Affections with Fasting (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/sharpen-your-affections-with-fasting).
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 sphere of mission, and then looking back up again at Christ. Our theme for the April 2021 First Tuesday Fast is One Another
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others…Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12: 4-5,10
We turn our eyes to You, Father who connects us to one another
Father, you are not like us, you are so much more! Yet, you tell us we are made in your image. We consider and wonder at this mystery. There are plenty of days it seems hard to imagine we are made in your likeness. Then, a glimpse will catch us. We will see some quality on display in someone and the rightness and beauty of it resonates deep within us. We see glimpses in the varied gifts and passions that are in people different than us, hidden within a parent’s care for their child, when a person bears the sting of injustice on behalf of someone living crippled under its weight. These examples could go on and on as does the benefit and purpose You, Father have for us within relationship. In our variety we see how, knit together, we loosely resemble your presence in this world..each of us carrying out the function you have given us.
We turn our eyes to our own hearts.
Turning our gaze to the corners of our hearts we prefer to avoid, we find there is much that can divide and separate us. We often find that we slowly elevate ourselves to the throne, God’s rightful place. Pride can grow in it’s subtle ways and before we know it we are searching for independence and giving into the desire to be the point and subject of it all. There are also times when it costs to be connected to the church, to other believers who hurt us, fail and suffer. At times we are the cause of the hurts. Yet, we hope and strive for a love that draws us together, forgives and covers what can be repaired. Christ, we cannot stay connected without your love. Heal and restore what has been hurt and broken between us. We need your help.
This month we turn our eyes outward toward people observing Ramadan
A few partners from our church live in areas where Islam is the predominant religion. The month of Ramadan begins in April. This is a time set apart for fasting and renewed devotion to Allah and the teaching of Islam. This month we want to pray for those people who are seeking and hungering to find truth. We want to pray they would find rest from striving in the forgiveness and life of Jesus.
The names of our partners in these two areas both start with “H”, so we will affectionately refer to them as HA and HE in this post. Both of the areas HA and HE live in are seeing a movement of people coming to Jesus in unprecedented ways. Both ask us to pray with them for the church in their area to grow strong in Christ. And for leaders to continue to rise up among them who have a heart of service and for discipleship. HA is carrying on training the residents who are finishing out the residency program. She will be starting an online masters program soon with the hope that it will help pave the way for continued work alongside the people in her area as changes to her work will be needed in the coming few years.
HE will soon be wrapping up work in the camps and transitioning to a community center that is being established. Hoping the community center would become a welcome place that serves the needs of the people. She asked us to join their prayers for more national partners who have a heart for discipleship as the need is growing great.
*If you would like more information about our partners in these areas we would be delighted to share, you can contact email@example.com
We turn our eyes back to Christ
Looking back to Christ we are humbled and heartened considering our source of love…for this we know will not run dry! We want to see evidence of this love among us at MercyView. We ask you to draw our attention in the coming month to the love for one another that does grow richly among us. We want to continue to taste and see the goodness of belonging that comes with being a part of your family. May our love and devotion to one another be a thing of inviting beauty to a watching world!