Jesus asks us in Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Message Translation)
This week of Prayer and Fasting is an opportunity to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace” and “to live freely and lightly”with Jesus. We intentionally pick one of the busiest times of the year to have a week of Prayer and Fasting. For it is in those busy, stressful times that we most need to pause and spend time receiving from God. This week is all about putting first things first and making sure we are aware of how much God loves us and then—because of his love for us—putting our FCC Vision Statement “To Love God, Love Others and Make Disciples” into practice in our lives. It’s a chance to press the reset button and make sure we are starting this new year with the right focus.
This week is also an opportunity to practice the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and meditation on scripture. These spiritual disciplines simply put us in a place to receive from God. Richard Foster says in Celebration of Discipline“By themselves the spiritual disciplines can do nothing: they can only get us to a place where something can be done…God has ordained the disciplines as the means by which He can bless us.” Adele Calhoun in her book the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, defines spiritual disciplines as “the intentional practices, relationships and experiences that give people space in their lives to keep company with Jesus.”
Members of FCC, men and women from both campuses, have written one day’s material each. Each person shares how a particular spiritual practice has enabled them to experience God’s love and how they seek to make their relationship with God the main thing in their lives. After each reflection, there is a section for you to reflect on the scripture yourself, designed to introduce you to different ways of engaging with scripture over the course of the week. At the end of each day’s meditation, we have included a couple of worship songs that relate to that day’s theme.
We are also inviting you to fast this week. Fasting is not easy, but it can be a very powerful tool that helps us draw closer to God. See the Prayer Week booklet for suggestions on why and how to fast and a variety of different options.
Click here to view the Prayer booklet.
How to use this daily blog
1. Pray first, ask and expect God to speak to you through his Word.
2. Read the scripture passage for the day and then read what the blog writer has written.
3. Use the “Engaging with Scripture” section to help you connect with God’s Word for yourself. Each day will introduce you to one of 4 different ways of engaging with scripture.
4. Try writing down your thoughts and prayers in a journal. It can help you stay focused and remember what you have thought about.
5. Share your responses and reactions with others via the Comments part of the blog.
Unless otherwise stated, all Bible references are from the NIV.