OUR VISION

We are taking from January 8th – 29th to focus on prayer & fasting. The starting point for all significant works of God is prayer. It is here that we have an opportunity to interact with the Spirit of God and participate in the work of bringing redemption to our city and healing into our lives. In the book of John, Jesus invites us to ask anything in his name (His nature), and he will do it. We want to boldly and continually pray for his Kingdom to come.

SURRENDER – SEEK – CONTEND

Over the 3 weeks we will devote 1 week to each of these themes Surrender, Seek, Contend. Our posture of heart when desiring God’s will for our lives must be one of surrender. We spend time repenting (shift our thinking to God’s thinking), surrendering our will, mind & body to reignite our first love. Jesus said Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom, meaning those who know they have need will find the Kingdom. The second week is “seek”. When we seek with all of our heart we will find Him. Thirdly “Contend”. With a surrendered & focused heart to the things of the Kingdom we can align ourselves with what God desires us to ask for.  

WHY PRAYER?

“I am convinced, however, that our constant activity is fruitless without first making that humble act of kneeling to pray. I am convinced that prayer is not only our greatest privilege, but also our greatest source of power.” Pete Greig

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” Karl Barth

“If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer: Intercession is a way of loving others.” Richard Foster

WHAT IS FASTING & WHY DO IT?

Fasting is the deliberate, temporary abstention from food for religious reasons. Fasting is a means by which the disciple of Jesus prays with their entire body. After all, you are not simply a spirit in a body; you are a spirit and a body. The discipline of fasting draws our attention to both our spiritual and our physical being. In fasting, the great hunger of the heart and mind for answered prayer permeates the body itself. Fasting fosters an internal intimacy, a quiet space, in which God’s voice has more room. God is relational. Like any other intimate relationship, we hear one another better when we focus our entire person on the other. Fasting is not a hunger strike, but it is a way of expressing to God our hunger for him to move in our life.

 – No one—least of all God—expects you to be an expert, already fluent in the art of fasting. Take baby steps, if you’ve never fasted before then just start with one meal. Once you’ve tried that a few times, try fasting from your evening meal one day to your evening meal the next day.

– As you fast, allow the hunger you feel to prompt you towards prayer. Use the time you would normally eat in communion with God, engaging one of the above conversations with him. Look for what begins to stir in you that you normally keep at bay through comfort eating and drinking. If anger, for example, starts to rise, invite God into it and ask him what the cause of that anger really is.

“The discipline of fasting can focus our prayers in the way that a magnifying glass can focus sunlight to start a fire.” Pete Greig 

THEMES FOR PRAYER:

WEEK 1: SURRENDER

Ask God for opportunities to practice putting Him first and surrendering to His will above your own. Ask God to reveal idols in your heart that have distracted you from devotion to Him. Is there anything you need to give to God? Offer those things to Him in prayer, and ask that He would give you His heart for each situation.

Suggested Daily Prayer: Father, I open my clenched fists to surrender everything You have given to me. Re-establish my identity in You – not in my family, my work, my accomplishments, or what others think of me. Cleanse the things in me that are not conformed to Your will. By faith, I unite my will to Yours so that the likeness of Jesus Christ may be formed in me. In His name, amen. Wait, and allow Holy Spirit to bring to the surface hinderances in your heart. Repent and receive God’s love into the situation.

 Passages to Reflect on: PSALM 51:10 – PSALM 139:23-24 – PSALM 86:6 – COLOSSIANS 3:1-13 – PROVERBS 23:26 – GALATIANS 2:20

WEEK 2: SEEK

Seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Luke 11:9)

What do you need to seek His wisdom about? Make time in your prayer time to ask God to reveal to you more of His heart, His purposes, and His plans. Ask Him about specific things, and make time to listen.

Below is a guide to Listening Prayer:

1. Start by asking Jesus to silence all other voices in the room. Specifically ask Jesus to silence the voice of our enemy or distracting thoughts in your mind.

2. Begin with forgiveness. Ask the Father to bring to mind anything you don’t feel forgiven for. Imagine taking it to the cross and leaving it there. Then ask the Father if there is anyone you need to forgive.

3. Invite God to bring to mind what he wants to address.

4. When things come to mind ask follow up questions: – What do you want me to know about this? – Is there anything else? (Don’t be afraid to wait. Enjoy the stillness.)

Here are a couple of common frustrations when doing listening prayer:

What if you ask God to speak and there is nothing or you see just blackness in your mind’s eye? If this is the case then ask the Father, “What do you want me to know about this?” Perhaps the blackness is an invitation into peace or rest.

What if it’s really hard to focus? Ask the Father, “What do you want me to know about this?” Remember that this is a Practice, it can take some time. If you are not hearing anything, ask the Father if there is a Scripture that He wants to bring to mind.

Overall, this is a time to be deepening your relationship with the Father. Maybe this is just a time to relax with God and receive his love.

Passages to Reflect on: 2 CHRONICLES 7:14 – ACTS 17:27 – HEBREWS 11:6 – JAMES 4:8 – JEREMIAH 29:13 – MATTHEW 6:33 & 7:7-12

WEEK 3: CONTEND

Jesus is our great intercessor (Heb 7:25). To be like Jesus is to take on God’s heart for others and the world – to pray and plead for change. God wants to partner with us to see His Kingdom come.

What do you believe God is wanting to change in your life & your world?

What are you believing for God to do through our church community this year?

Write a list of things you will contend for this year.

Below is a guide to Intercessional Prayer: (Luke 11:1-13 & Luke 18:1-8)

1. Prepare your heart. Spend a moment in silence. Calm your mind. Be with Jesus. Contending prayer is not a magic formula, and it’s not how loud you get. It’s about positioning yourself in Christ and in the authority He has given you. Fill your heart with thankfulness, and bring to mind testimonies and scriptures of His goodness.

2. Invite the Holy Spirit to bring a specific understanding for how to pray for the person or circumstance.

3. Ask with expectancy towards a loving Father, who loves to give good things. Ask with “shameless audacity”. It’s our faith that pleases God and so often we don’t have because we do not ask.

4. Don’t stop asking. Don’t stop knocking on the door. We are called to be faithful in prayer. Keep the list visible so you do not forget. Pray with others to bring fresh insight into the situation.