Archives For fast and pray

Hustle picture

The picture above is from a year ago. That’s how long I’ve been contemplating this post. I’m constantly watching friends like Carlos Whittaker and others, including Jon Acuff encourage others to hustle. I have no problem with that. I’m extremely driven, ambitious and have a stong work ethic.

As a matter of fact, I just purchased and began reading my friend, Brad Lomenick’s book H3 Leadership: Humble. Hungry. Hustle. I love Brad’s quote: “Leadership is more than hard work, it is habitual work.”

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However, in the hustle and bustle of 21st Century life, I often wonder if we hustle too much or too often. I wonder if we take time to be still, be quiet, think, meditate, and hear that still, small voice of the Living God. I wonder if we stop to smell the roses and take in the beauty of a sunset or sunrise. I wonder if we appreciate the little things in life and thank God for family and friends.

Do we savor the good times in life and mourn the tough seasons that will inevitably come?

My exhortation and encouragement to you my friends is to take time to Sabbath. Take time to pray. Take time to think. Take time to rest. I’ve said for years that we should work hard and play hard. If you focus only on “hustle,” you will just work hard. Take time to enjoy God and being in His Presence.

Remember the story of Mary and Martha and make sure you’re not too busy hustling that you miss out on an opportunity to worship and adore the Savior.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations,
  I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:10

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” – Joel 2:12 (NIV)

This past Sunday at my church, the message was on worship and people were encouraged to text in questions at the end of the sermon for discussion. Here’s my question I texted in:

If worship is a lifestyle and the Bible encourages us to fast and pray, then why don’t we hear more about fasting in the American Church?

The answer I got didn’t satisfy. It was a “safe” answer and basically said that fasting was only something personal and not something that the church should talk about or do together. This disturbed me as I know some of the greatest churches in the country take fasting very seriously and have times of corporate prayer and fasting.

As a matter of fact, the last 2 churches listed as Outreach magazine’s “Fastest-growing Church in the US” (Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, AL and New Life in Conway, AR) both have annual times of fasting and prayer as a congregation.

I worked for a season with ARC (Association of Related Churches) and know how important prayer is to the foundation of a church planter. Prayer and fasting are drilled into the ARC church planters in their basic training and ARC (by no coincidence) has some of the fastest-growing churches in the country – including the two I listed above.

Throughout Scripture fasting plays a critical role in many God ordained events:

– Moses fasted for intimate fellowship with God (Exodus 34:28)
– David fasted for his sick child (2 Samuel 12:16)
– Ezra called a fast for humility and to ask for God’s provisions (Ezra 8:21-23)
– Daniel fasted to discern God’s will & seek God’s counsel (Daniel 10:2-3)
– Jesus fasted before beginning his public ministry (Matthew 4:2)
– Church leaders in Antioch fasted for God’s divine help (Acts 13:3)
– Paul fasted as servant of God for those he served (2 Corinthians 6:5)

If you’re interested in fasting, here are some resources I use HERE.

I believe the power of fasting as it relates to prayer is the spiritual atomic bomb that our Lord has given us to destroy the strongholds of evil and usher in a great revival and spiritual harvest around the world. —Bill Bright

So, if you invited your church to text in questions and I texted in my question you see above, how would you respond? Should the church as a whole fast and pray? Does your church participate in any kid of annual fast? Do you personally fast? Is this as one worship pastor friend of mine called a “lost art” in the Church?