Isaiah 58: Season of Prayer & Fasting
As we approach General Conference held in May this year, our Bishop has asked us to prepare our hearts and minds for General Conference that it will be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to prepare ourselves as vessels for God’s Holy will. We are a part of the Washington Region and our assigned month for prayer and fasting is March 15-April 14.
Fasting has been a part of Methodism from its early beginnings. John Wesley considered fasting an important part of a Christian’s life and he fasted weekly or twice weekly if he was undergoing a spiritual struggle. To Wesley, fasting was an important way to express sorrow for sin and penitence for overindulgence. He believed it allowed more time for prayer and was more meaningful if combined with giving to the poor.
A typical fast is to abstain from all solid food and to consume clear liquids only between sunrise and sunset.
If you have any health concerns, please consult a physician before beginning your fast.
I realize our assigned month of fasting come during Lent and includes three Fridays that fall on days of our Lenten Lunches (March 20, 27 and April 3). You may choose to fast only on Wednesdays during those weeks or fast between dinner on Thursday and lunch on Friday—breaking the fast on Friday after worship at noon.
See the guidelines below. I will be asking for commitments from those of you who feel called to engage in this spiritual discipline for one month.
Peace be with you,
PRAYER & FASTING THROUGH THE LENS OF ISAIAH 58:6-7
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
PRAY EACH DAY:
O God our deliverer: You led your people of old through the wilderness and brought them to the Promised Land. Guide now the people of your church, that, following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
Personal Reflection, Petitioning and Listening:
This is a time for you to personally ask questions, make petitions and leave space for the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
God of Transformation,
We are not accountable for the environments into which we were born,
but we are accountable for the environments we create.
We are not accountable for the bigotry into which we were born,
but we are accountable for the bigotry that we birth.
We are not accountable for the lack of love that existed in the homes
into which we were born,
but we are accountable for the love that resides in the homes we create.
May the lessons of our pasts inform our present, and transform our future.
May we use the power of your Holy Spirit to create environments of holiness and healing. Amen.
~Prayer by Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling