Thursday, 25 August 2016

Note from the Sun, August 21, 2016

  Every year, before we begin our ministries and programs, the people of Hope Fellowship come together to pray and seek God’s will for our community. This tradition came out of a season of pain, when we were unsure of the future and God’s calling on the church. When we stopped all our regular meetings and programs, and met together to pray, that’s when the healing began. Every year since that time, we have come together for five days of prayer. This year is no exception—we will meet from Monday, September 12 to Friday, September 16 for one hour each evening from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Some teaching about prayer & fasting:
  “To fast, means to put God first. There are times when we must eat and drink and sleep and enjoy the blessings of everyday life. Times also come when we turn our backs on these things and search God's face in prayer and fasting.
  1. Fasting is a heart attitude where we interrupt our normal life to pray for a specific reason. 
  2. Fasting also means to pray persistently. It means to be serious with God; to pray till you have an answer, in spite of whether the answer is yes or no or to wait further. Fasting therefore also has an element of determination. 
  3. Fasting is an effective way to disperse all hindrances and burdens out of the way, so that you can pray in a focused way, with your full attention. 
  4. Fasting is sometimes a sign of sadness or mourning. 
  5. Fasting in the Old Testament was often a sign of humbling before God (Lev. 23:27). At the deepest level, it means that we tear open our hearts before God, we confess our sins and turn again afresh to God (Joel 2:12,13). 
  6. The Lord also actually meant that fasting should contain an element of joy and happiness (Zech.8:19). 
  7. Isaiah 58:6-7 shows what deeds or behaviour should accompany fasting. Should we do these, we can expect the blessings of Isaiah 58:8-14. 
  8. We can also offer fasting as a praise offering to God  (Ps 50:14,23). 
  Prayer needs to always come from a pure heart - and this also counts for fasting. God looks for honesty and obedience. These are the prerequisites for fasting. Fasting is not obligatory. Fasting comes from a heart that cares, a heart that has compassion and a heart which is focused on God.”

  Why not just pray at home? When we join together, there’s a sense of setting things aside, and taking the time to come together and be in God’s presence. Jackie, one of our two prayer coordinators says “When one person prays, a thousand angels are put to flight. When two people pray together, ten thousand are put to flight”. It’s not a magic formula, but a way of expressing that there is power when God’s people come together to pray. And when fasting is added to that, we open our lives to God’s transforming work and are equipped to focus on God and his purposes. And, honestly, shouldn’t that be our first desire? To do what God has in mind for us – not asking him to bless our plans and ideas, but to show us his, because what he can come up with is so far beyond what we can dream of.
  Mark your calendar so that you can come at least one night the week of Sept. 11, or come all five nights. One hour to worship God, to pray together, to come closer to our God and our brothers and sisters.

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