Day of Prayer & Fasting
The General Assembly of our denomination (PCA), along with several other denominations, have invited churches to consider setting apart Good Friday for a day for prayers and fasting. The pastoral staff petitioned the Session of Elders to consider it, and they heartily agreed and thereby call Columbia Presbyterian Church to a Day of Prayer and fasting.
Scripture gives many examples of people fasting. For example, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and David all set apart time for prayer and fasting. All of Israel would also be called to engage in fasts. Jesus fasted (Matt. 4:2), and he taught about fasting (Matt. 6:16-18). The early Church fasted (Acts 13:2-3; 14:23), and of course Christian communities for centuries have encouraged individuals and practiced corporate fasts.
The Old Testament Prophets and Jesus provide caution us against why we fast – checking our motivations. However, the Prophets and Jesus assume when we fast – framing our practices. The Prophet Joel writes:
Yet even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster (Joel 2:12-13).
Our Reformed faith understands “solemn fastings” can be part of personal and corporate worship (WCF 21.5). Other authors have done great work to inform the Church how fasting contributes to a Christian’s spiritual formation and devotional life – Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline; Don Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life to name just two.
Direction for Friday’s Day of Prayer and Fasting
At its simplest form, fasting is abstaining from food. One idea would be to start your fast after your evening meal on Thursday, and break your fast around lunch or after on Friday. You are free to go longer. If you have concerns associated with medical issues, do what is wise for your own bodies. Some people abstain from food and drink. Some might abstain from food but drink water. Some might abstain from all foods except fruit.
The focus of the fast is not what you abstain. The point of the fast is not to leverage or barter with God so to manufacture his attention. The focus and the point is upon God; we abstain for a time so to maintain our attention upon the Lord and restrain our distractions away from him. It is a call to prayer of praise, confession, and repentance. May the Lord meet you during this time.
Here are links to guidance provided from our denomination’s webpage:
Easter Week Schedule
Here is the schedule for various opportunities this week:
- Wednesday, 10AM – Morning Prayer Gathering | Join This Prayer Group
- Thursday, 7PM – Maundy Thursday Service on Zoom | Register to attend
- Friday, various
Ways to Contribute
As mentioned in the live stream today, there are several ways you can join with us in contributing to the needs of our surrounding community.