On November 1st, my annual 4-month “fast” begins. I’m not fasting from food or TV or social media. Instead, it’s time for my annual fast from bicycling. I set aside my favorite activity to create space for newness in my soul and to give my body rest.
Fasting also creates longing. During this season, I will soon hunger for the sun and for more cycling. Between November and February, my body and my soul yearn for the energy that cycling gives me. And the separation, the choice to set my bike aside, creates a gentled space to pay close attention to my life.
I first learned about “gentle fasting” at a Fuller Theological Seminary class: Transformation through Spiritual Practices, taught by Dallas Willard. Dr. Willard taught about fasting, not as punishment, not punitive in any way. Rather, fasting is a way to make room for hearing God’s voice; fasting brings an intentional focus that affects our hearts, bodies, and minds.
There are lots of ways to fast. You can fast from technology once/month, from lunch once/week (to go on a prayer walk), from coffee, or Diet Coke, or ice cream. During my 2017 sabbatical, I fasted from social media. My soul benefited so much, that I decided not to return to Facebook.
Here’s an idea. What if we as a church decided to fast and pray together about where God might be directing us to move our church? What if all of us set aside just a little time each week to pray through the end of 2019?
Prayer and fasting would help us prepare ourselves for where God might take us next. It would show us how to listen carefully to one another and to the voice of God so that we can move forward in unity on behalf of our beloved community.
Jesus fasted in the wilderness for 40 days. While I AM NOT suggesting that, I am inviting us to fasting and prayer. Fasting and praying will strengthen and prepare us for our future ministry together, just as Jesus was prepared for his ultimate sacrifice of love for the world.
As I begin to yearn again for bike riding and all the joy it brings, I’ll use this “fast” to remind me to pray for Highlands Church. Wanna join me in fasting and prayer? If you do, send me a quick email right now saying: “I’m in!” along with a thumbs up.
Much love as we move into our future together,