21 days of Prayer and Fasting

Hi church family,

I'd like to invite you to join me in praying and fasting for our church family over the next 3 weeks (either all or a portion of 11th Feb - 3rd March 2019). Sound scary? I agree! But please take a minute to read on as I believe this will be something that blesses you and enriches your walk with God.

If you've never participated in a food fast before, here are a couple of things to know:

- Fasting is, in a nutshell, giving up food and/or drink at a set time to focus on 'spiritual things' - prayer, time with God, intercession.

- It goes hand in hand with prayer. The purpose is to direct your attention towards God. Let the hunger pangs remind you to spend time with God when you would have otherwise been eating lunch!

- Fasting is not some special 'supercharged' form of prayer, but biblically it is something followers or Jesus are called to do as they seek God for his provision, healing, wisdom, guidance, etc.

- You can fast from certain foods (eg. give up meats, desserts, 'luxury' foods for a season, fast for certain periods of the day for a season (ie. from breakfast until dinner) or a combination.

- A fast is not a diet. If our motivations are "this is a great way to loose weight and be spiritual!" it may be better to rethink. Fasting is simply meant to draw us into the presence of God.

- IMPORTANT: if you have any medical condition that may cause fasting of any kind to be detrimental to your health, please consult your doctor first. Also, it is unwise to start a fast of any more than one meal from day 1 - please start small! - If you are not able to fast from food, there may be another way you can set aside one of 'life's pleasures' to focus on prayer in these next few weeks.

If you are open to giving this a go, please consider what kind of fast is manageable and without health risk, but will challenge you and draw you towards time with God. For example, I plan to start small this week, fasting in the middle of each day, and increasing the daily fast time a little in the 2nd and 3rd weeks. If you're not too sure yet, you can jump on board next weekend

Why fast and pray? At the beginning of our 20th year as a church community, I believe it is important that we pray for God to lead us, bless us, provide for us and correct us as we seek to honour him in all that we do. I believe that as we fast and pray, God will give some of you prophetic words, revelations of what he is doing and wants to do among us. That our hearts will become more attuned to his heart as we engage in the mission he has for us.

You may like to pray for:

- Our leaders, including the staff, church council (elders) and other ministry leaders

- The members of our church family

- The people we will have an opportunity to reach with the gospel this year

- The tenants in our building and their activities and ministries

- Our finances and resources

- Direction for future projects and decisions, like the back block

- 'The Space' and the opportunities to reach the local community

- Anything God wants to show you that would bless The Billabong at the beginning of this year!

I pray that this corporate time of prayer and fasting would be a rich time of experiencing God's goodness and presence. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Grace and Peace,