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A Time to Fast & Pray

by Jenna Tulman on June 06, 2024

Hello Jericho Ridge, 

Our elders and pastoral staff are inviting you into a season of fasting and praying for our church family. Fasting is not necessarily something Jericho has collectively practiced on a regular basis, but in this significant time of transition, we believe God is asking us to unite in this way so we can hear his voice for our future. We are being called into a time of "thinking and acting differently" as a church. Our aim is complete surrender in order to receive the mission and vision that God is calling us to. As tempting as it is to simply ask for the end destination, we are inviting you into the process of waiting on God's voice and direction by way of fasting and praying together. 

Fasting and prayer are knitted throughout the Bible as God's people repeatedly, and particularly in challenging times, call out and wait upon Him. Fasting is the practice of choosing to sacrifice food and, instead, spending that time in God's presence. During mealtimes, when we would normally be satisfying our needs, we are inviting you into prayer on behalf of the needs of Jericho Ridge. Although we are spread out, during our times of fasting and praying, we are collectively engaged as God's people. A powerful example of this is found in the Old Testament when Esther calls the Jewish nation into a three-day fast. The Jews are facing a life-threatening circumstance, so Esther asks them to pray and fast, interceding for God's protection as she approaches the king to ask for the nation's safety. 

“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” (Esther 4:16)

In the New Testament, we see Jesus himself fasting in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights in preparation for ministry. He then teaches his disciples to not make a show of fasting, but to instead simply be in the presence of God. “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you" (Matthew 6:16-18 NLT). Jesus' call for and his promise to his disciples remains today. 

So, what exactly are we asking of us as a church family? The invitation is to spend one day a week in fasting and prayer for Jericho Ridge. We propose that every Monday from now until the end of the summer (June 10 until August 30, 2024), we collectively come before the Lord. This will involve giving up food (beverages are allowed) for each meal that day and intentionally seeking God on Jericho's behalf. Please know that fasting shouldn't be harmful to our bodies, and so, depending on your needs, if you're unable to give up food for an entire day, then we would invite you to give up meals as you are able on Mondays. And if Monday doesn't work for your schedule, please choose an alternate day of the week. The idea is not to become legalistic, but to surrender in our spirits and bring a pleasing sacrifice before our God as we petition him for our future.

In particular, as we begin, here are items to bring before God in your times of fasting:

  1. God's call of mission (what) and vision (where) for our future - how is he asking us to think and act differently? 
  2. Our elders team as they lead us in a time of assessing our organizational health and renewing ministry partnerships
  3. Our financial needs, both immediate and long-term 
  4. Staff vacancies as we look for a new Youth Director and a new Facility Manager 

Feel free to pray into other items that the Lord places on your heart for our church. We will also update prayer items in the Friday version of our Family News (sign up here if you don't receive it).

May God's joy and peace fill us as we trust in him (Romans 15:13), 

Your Elder and Pastoral Teams

SEE Below as Pastor Wally launched this season for us during our Sunday Gathering:

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