Testimonials from the Week of Prayer and Fasting
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Let me encourage and build us up as a church by sharing some testimonies about the week of prayer and fasting in March 2021. I trust you’ll be strengthened by reading and considering how God moved in some fellow GBCers.
Thank you to those who graciously shared these with me so they can be shared with the church. My prayer is that these testimonies will encourage all of us and build us up as we trust and follow Jesus together.
Below you'll see a few testimonials about the March 2021 week of prayer and fasting.
Please see Dave’s blog post entitled, “Blackberry Bushes and a Messy House.”
Growing up I watched my Dad fasting regularly on Sunday mornings - forgoing what was usually my favorite meal of the week. I could not fathom his simple sacrifice as a kid, and having participated in this discipline myself as an adult, I still struggle with the sacrifice fasting requires. Life with young kids often becomes about surviving and rewarding yourself because you made it through the craziness of another day. Having realized this as a Dad now myself, it makes me appreciate my father’s act of weekly fasting.My personal fasting experience was full of reminders to turn my eyes towards Jesus and rely on his sustenance. He opened my eyes to areas in life that I attempt to control - areas driven by fear and selfishness. I caught glimpses of what it would look like to give up that control and be motivated only by how God sees me. How quickly I forget though...I know I need to be reminded of my Savior’s sacrifice and what he desires for me - regular fasting will be a key part to me remembering.
As I’m sure my Dad felt a bit each Sunday morning of fasting, there will be some suffering, but to God be the glory.
So I didn't fast from food. I fasted from media whether it was social media, playing a game on my phone, tv or the radio. It was extremely challenging and showed just how much time I spent mindlessly scrolling or times I could be directing my thoughts on God while doing work/housework instead of secular radio or movie tunes. Okay fine, it's usually Disney songs. But it was very revealing. I mean, I knew I spent a lot of time on my phone but seriously. It was also very challenging to work on that habit of running to something of this world to soothe the hard feelings I've had with grief and frustrations with life as we know it right now. I think a lot about perspective and focus. If I keep my eyes on Jesus then I can walk with him on the water rather than give in to the waves of anxiety, doubt, grief and anger. Not that I avoid those feelings but to remember what is most important in the long run.
I am still growing in my understanding of the relationship of the need for food and then connecting that to prayer and dependence. While much more prayer was practiced for sure, it seemed the hungrier I became, the blanker my mind was. However, the unity among our friends and the church as a whole was amazing. The intentional time spent in corporate prayer led me to deeper worship and dependence on God. Time spent teaching our kids to pray using scripture via the prayer guide was incredibly valuable!
I was reflecting on the week of prayer and fasting, specifically the group prayer meeting and this is the testimonial I would like to share.No fellowship binds believers so close as coming together to speak to God our adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. With minds finally off of ourselves, we draw near to the One in Whom true oneness is found.
For me, there were two parts. Fasting was not difficult as I am used to fasting 12-14 hours daily anyway. Then the prayer time was good to follow the guide provided, plus my prayer journal is fairly detailed. What I learned was how weak I am and that how much I need my faith community. I’ve been praying for a permanent facility for us since it was first shared. I have several other things that I am praying about too. I can share those another day. God can do immeasurably more. (Ephesians 3:20)
The GBC week of prayer and fasting was something I was excited to try. Prayer is an area in which I personally desire to see more growth.I chose a modified food /news fast. I ate some nuts and an orange or two during the day but completely stayed away from all news sources for the week.
By altering my normal daily consumption, I was energized to pray, redeeming the time to praise God and thank Jesus.
The prayer guide provided proved to be helpful in “setting the plate” for each day with the scripture passages and the things we could be praying for.
The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), to make it a consistent part of our walk with God. The residual effects of the week recalibrated my rhythm of life with prayer a priority.
I look forward to participating in the next church wide prayer and fasting.
A Praying Church
May we really be a praying church that depends on God. Not just in what we aspire to be in the future, but also in our actual day-to-day lives now. If that’s to be the case, as members of GBC, we all need to be praying people. We need one another to be a praying church . . . . for our own good, for the good of GBC, and for the glory of God. One of our church distinctives says it like this:
Prayer is indispensable.
We are a church that prays because we depend on God. Prayer is our shameless admission that we can do nothing without Him. Therefore, prayer is not merely a transition point in our lives and activities, nor is it the cherry on top; prayer is the beginning, middle, and end of our work. If we desire for God to work in ways that cannot be merely attributed to our efforts, then we must be a people on our knees (Ephesians 6:18, James 5:13, 1 John 5:14).