Day of Fasting & Prayer – Ash Wednesday

 

PRAYER & FASTING GUIDE – Download

Online Gathering Links:

12:15 pm Facebook Live:

Here’s the link for Facebook Live

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12:15 pm ZOOM Meeting:

Zoom Link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88490027900?pwd=T0NIbVZrMHIyTkk3RkJIN3hIdmRmUT09
Meeting ID: 884 9002 7900  Passcode: 368492

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6:30 pm ZOOM Meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82842896710?pwd=d0s4eGloNnR1cW9sd1VpWjFXdUo0Zz09
Meeting ID: 828 4289 6710 Passcode: 719363

 

As Erickson Covenanters, we follow Jesus. And periodically, Jesus will whisk his followers away for special outings, much like spouses go on dates or friends go on trips (Mark 6:31-32). Jesus knows how crazy life can get, and so he calls a time out for our good. There are many ways Jesus helps us “come away” and listen to him, and fasting is one of those ways. As odd as it may be to some of us now, fasting follows the example of Jesus and has been a normal, Christian practice for many centuries–it is a very effective way to get our attention! The benefits of fasting are indisputable, inviting us to participate more fully in the life, ways, and work of Jesus Christ.
 
What is fasting? Richard Foster defines it as “the voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.” As such, while fasting normally involves abstaining from food in some way (totally or partially), it has also been used as a way of abstaining from other good things as well, for a spiritual purpose and for a defined period of time.
 
As a church community, we have chosen Ash Wednesday, the beginning the Lenten season, as a day of fasting and prayer. Our desire is to simply attend to Christ together, to wait upon the Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit, tuning our hearts to his grace and truth. As such, we are inviting each one of you to join in on this day of fasting. Recognizing that some of us may be unable to fast for a complete day for medical reasons, we are simply asking you to decide before the Lord how you will fast–some of you will do a complete food fast for the day, others may skip only one meal, and yet others may choose to give up some good or habit that would normally be part of your day (social media, TV news, chocolate), all for the sake of focusing your heart and mind on listening to Jesus. However you choose to participate, the invitation is clear: Erickson Covenant Church, let’s fast and pray together.
 
Fasting is not magical, nor is it a way of earning brownie points with God. We don’t do it for show or to twist God’s arm. Fasting is rooted in the good news that we are lavishly loved by the Father, unconditionally forgiven through the Son, and unequivocally sealed by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, fasting is never a way of getting God’s attention–he’s already fully attentive to us, living in us and calling us to listen to him. Fasting, rather, is pushing aside something good so we can focus on Someone Greater: our Triune God of Love.
 
In order to support our day of fasting and prayer, we will provide a guide for the day, including prayers, readings and reflection questions. We’ll also offer gathering times for shared worship and prayer, both through Facebook and over Zoom. All of this information will be made available a few days before Ash Wednesday, via email, website, and Facebook. For now, save the date and prayerfully ask the Spirit how he wants you to fast.
 
If you’d like to read a bit more about fasting, we encourage you to read Adele Calhoun’s Fasting: A Practical Guide (it’s very short) as well as Richard Foster’s little write up Understanding Fasting (also very short).
 
Jesus is calling us to follow him through a day of fasting and prayer. May we all hear his invitation, and come.
 
Date: February 17, Ash Wednesday
 

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