Throughout each month in 2021, we will be praying and fasting through our membership covenant; asking God to help us hunger for his glory and to be faithful to fulfill the things we have committed to each other as church members. These are commitments he has called us to live out together according to his word. Likewise, each month we will be praying and fasting for significant cultural issues of our day and asking the Lord for his truth and righteousness to be known throughout the world.
Fasting Together: September 14, 2021
- Membership Covenant Topic: Our Consideration of All Believers
- Loving and praying for all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:3, 11-12).
- Cultural Issue: That We Would Love Our Neighbors (who live in our neighborhoods)
- Love Your Neighbor as Yourself (Mark 12:31)
Fast begins after dinner on Monday (September 13), forgoing breakfast and lunch on Tuesday (September 14), then breaking the fast by eating dinner on Tuesday. Our encouragement throughout the day is to pray, meditate, and consider these things before the Lord.
Read and Reflect:
For The Church: Our Consideration of All Believers
“We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing… To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 11–12.
As we continue to fast through the principles of our church covenant, we want to grow in our practice of loving God’s people. Last month we fasted and prayed for those we covenant and fellowship with (i.e. the other members of CCC). Asking the Lord to give us grace to serve and love one another. Yet, our concern and care for believers should not end there. We also want to be a people who love and pray for all of God’s saints. This is why we pray for other local churches, missionaries, and pastors throughout the world during corporate prayer on Sunday mornings.
Paul is a helpful example for us of how to minister and care for other Christians when proximity is a challenge. He encourages the church, and he prays for them:
- that they would be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Rom 12:12);
- by confirming the grace and testimony God has given them in Christ (1 Cor 1:4–9);
- through praising God who comforts in affliction (2 Cor 1:3–7);
- that the church would do what is right (2 Cor 13: 7–9);
- for the Spirit to strengthen them (Eph 3: 14–21);
- that the church would be pure, blameless, and filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes from Christ (Phil 1:9–11);
- to not be anxious but to pray (Phil 4:6–7);
- to be filled with knowledge and wisdom for the purpose of bearing fruit (Col 1:3–14); and there are many more.
These are really helpful prayers that we too can pray for our mission partners and those we are currently serving. As a reminder, here is a list of our current partnerships:
- Westwood Baptist Church (and the Lingles);
- Refugee Hope Partners;
- Hearts and Hands for Haiti and the pastors and schools affiliated;
- The International Missions Board;
- Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary and pastors Amjad and Philip (JETS);
- 9Marks Ministries;
- "Z International" ministries (who are bringing the gospel to the Box people in China).
In addition, this month, we want to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living and ministering in Afghanistan. Many of them are being hunted because they bear the name of Christ. Please praise God for their testimony, and pray for God’s protection, for their faith to remain steadfast, for the enemies plans to be foiled, and for the church to thrive in this country.
For Our World: That We Would Love Our Neighbors (who live in our neighborhoods)
“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
Last month we fasted and prayed for God’s help to be intentional in the way we love the “neighbors” that we work with. These are people that God has sovereignly placed around us in our spheres of employment. We prayed for those who we serve, work with, and proclaim his glorious gospel to. This month, we want to continue praying and fasting for other neighbors, especially those who, by God’s providential design, live on our streets and in our neighborhoods.
When you think about your neighbors through the lens of God’s sovereignty, it’s really fascinating to consider that God has placed each of them intentionally on your street. And, by his sovereign grace, has entrusted you with the good news of Jesus. Sadly, our minds often fail to meld these two sovereign acts together.
We can love our neighbor well by living considerately before them, by serving their needs, through listening to their stories, by bringing them food, and through sharing the gospel with them (to name a few). Think about how you like to be cared for and loved, and then do those same things for your neighbor.
Paul encourages the church to do everything for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). This would include neighboring. Since we are citizens of another kingdom (Phil 3:20), elect exiles from another land (1 Peter 1:1), we therefore, can carry the banner of Christ’s kingdom into the kingdoms of this world. And we can plant Christ’s flag right in our front yards (metaphorically speaking).
Would you pray and fast this month for God to help us overcome our rugged individualism in hopes of loving our neighbors? Would you pray for trusting relationships to blossom and for tender hearts to emerge? Would you pray for the gospel to go forward?
- Pray for the saints around the world to persevere in the faith and to grow in their affections for God and the church.
- Pray that we would actively develop patterns of prayer for our mission partners and their success in advancing the kingdom of God.
- Pray that God would care for the churches under persecution, both for protection and perseverance.
- Pray that we would rest in God as he is the one who provides strength to serve one another.
- Pray specifically for our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan as they are being hunted for the faith.
- Pray for the neighbors on your street by name (if you do not know their names, pray for bold opportunities to engage). Pray that God would allow you to build relationships with them.
- Pray that you would represent the character of God to your neighbors.
- Pray for opportunities for the gospel to go forward and for the lost to be saved in your neighborhood.
Helpful fasting resources:
- A Hunger for God: Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer, John Piper
- "Fasting for Beginners" by David Mathis (Desiring God)
- "How Do I Delight Myself in the Lord?" by John Piper
- Fixing the Mind: A Guide to Meditation
Fasting from (ideas):
- Social Media/News