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A Passion for Life – Prayer and Fasting

On March 2nd we will be having a day of prayer and fasting for A Passion for Life and it would be good to take some time to think through the reasons why we are not only taking time away for prayer but also abstaining from food.

What will that time look like?

As this is new to Kensington and will be new to some who are involved, we are not going for a very rigorous fast. We will encourage people to have an early evening meal on Saturday and then not eat again until we break the fast together – about 18 hours later.  We would recommend that people do not fast from liquids but only from food.

The plan will be to meet together for worship on Sunday morning and then take time out to pray together after the morning service and then break the fast together with a meal.

Why should we fast?

This question addresses the desires of our heart.  Whilst we praise God that we have been saved, we can sometimes forget that we have been saved to serve and that we are living in a city which is full of people who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and are heading for an eternity away from him.

We believe that God is calling us to be a Missional Church, by which we mean being a group of people on a mission. The mission is to magnify Christ and honour him by introducing the people of our city to Him.

As we take that vision seriously we will naturally turn to prayer and fasting.

Before Jesus began his ministry he spent 40 days and nights fasting and praying in the wilderness and we know from the book of Acts that the Apostles made important decisions in the context of prayer and fasting.

Some of the outcomes of fasting are the following.

1. A transformation in our hearts which imprints a desire to see people come to Jesus.

As we come together to pray and fast we begin to feel the burden of presenting Christ to the people of Bristol in a deeper way. Prayer and fasting burns the calling on to our hearts, not only as individuals but as a community, our community becomes defined by the mission, we become, in fact, a missional church.

2. A certain clarity of perception which helps us to understand better what we need to be doing.

As we come together to pray and fast, we begin to see our lives and our city from God’s perspective, our vision is changed and we get clear and specific guidance.

3. A wrestling with God which reveals our hearts.

As we take time out to pray and fast we are struggling in prayer with God.

Just as Jacob held on to the Lord and refused to let go until he received a blessing. We know that God loves to bless those who take hold of him. By abstaining from food that is what we are doing, taking hold of God and calling on Him to honour his promises.

4. A physical hunger and thirst which reflects a deeper longing.

Jesus promises that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled.  When we choose physical hunger we are teaching ourselves to hunger for him and the result is that he fills us with himself and fulfils our longing to be filled by him.

5. A way of responding to God which demonstrates repentance in the heart.

When people in the Bible realised that they had sinned against God they responded with prayer and fasting.  Even the Ninevites who had little understanding of the God of the Bible understood that this was the appropriate response. We believe that part of the reason why our society has rejected God is because God’s people have rejected God and have loved other gods.  As we come to God with prayer and fasting we are as a community asking for forgiveness and asking God to no longer hold our sin against us.

6. A form of preparation which produces tangible results.

When the disciples struggle to see a child set free from a demonic spirit, Jesus tells them that the reason why they failed is because “this kind only comes out through prayer and fasting”.  Some manuscripts don’t have the second part of that verse, but the principle is clear.  That when Satan is entrenched he can only be shifted through fervent prayer and, by implication, fasting.  We believe that that there is a rejection of God in our city which will only be shifted through a similar response.

7. A proven strategy which is powerful and effective!

Prayer and fasting works!   Passion for life will be more effective and we will see God at work in a greater way if we fast and pray.

Please determine in your heart to join us on March 2nd as we not only prepare for Passion for Life, but as we as a church turn our hearts to the living God in repentance and faith.

Mark Detzler