On the 7th of February we will begin our annual church fast. This has been a key part of Kingsgate life for some time and I want to really encourage you all to engage and participate in these four days. For two thousand years the Christian church around the world has recognised the significance and value of praying and fasting and I am trusting that as we gather together we will (corporately and individually) reap the benefits of setting time aside to seek God in this way.
I am aware that in our church family we have those who have fasted before while there are others for whom this is all new. In light of that, I wanted to put down a few points to both remind us and give understanding as to what we are doing when we fast.
WHAT IS A FAST?
VERY simply put, a fast involves:
- Going without food (and / or other things: e.g. TV)
- For a period of time,
- As a means of helping us focus our prayer
In a way you could say that fasting helps to put our whole being into a posture / place of prayer.
- By denying ourselves something as fundamental as food, we are reminding ourselves that we need God more than absolutely anything else. As Jesus said when he went without food, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Mat 4:4 (NIV).
- By fasting we are reminding ourselves that the deepest desires of our heart can only find satisfaction in God. All other expressions of desire are in some sense an attempt to find Him. Fasting is therefore a means of training our heart’s longing towards God.
- It quietens the distractions and noise so that we can hear God. We step away from the routine of eating meals, watching TV, reading papers, social media and into a space where we can hear his still small voice. Christine used the phrase the other day that Fasting is about hearing – and I really liked that.
WHAT DO WE FAST?
We are not prescribing what people have to fast BUT we do encourage you to make it something substantial and not merely a token gesture. As an example, on Tuesday and Thursday I am going to have only soup and fruit juice and on the Wednesday and Friday I am going to only have water.
Two additional notes in this regard:
- Be wise with what you choose to fast and don’t do anything which may jeopardize your health e.g. if you have some forms of diabetes or are on certain medication. If uncertain, contact your doctor.
- If you are a coffee drinker, begin to cut back in order to avoid a very big caffeine withdrawal headache!
A key part of fasting is obviously prayer and I encourage you to use the time that you would normally break for lunch (or coffee breaks) to spend time in prayer. To help with this process, each morning of the fast we will be sending you out a blog with prayer points for the day.
It is MUCH easier to fast together than on your own and so we encourage all of you to come to our prayer gatherings that will take place every evening of the fast:
- Tuesday 7th @ 7:30pm – KingsGate Kingston
- Wednesday 8th @ 7:30pm – KingsGate Cobham
- Thursday 9th @ 7:30pm – KingsGate Kingston
- Friday 10th @ 7:30pm – KingsGate Kingston
At these evenings we will worship and pray into the areas highlighted by the blog of the day. On the Friday evening we will break the fast with a shared meal.
I encourage you all to engage with this fast and to come with a sense of expectancy as we set aside to seek God, knowing that “he rewards those who seek him”!