bits from bob....


by Robert J. Young
©, 2001, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

In view of the request of our elders that we enter the installation of our new deacons on Sunday with prayer and fasting, consider the following thoughts and guidelines.

The early church fasted (Acts 13:1-3) and in Matthew 18:19 Jesus emphasized the special power of believers agreeing together in prayer. Participation is not forced, but is voluntary. Those sharing the fast should pray specifically for one another during the fast (Acts 14:23). Participants should also have the opportunity to come together for mutual prayer and exhortation.

Each individual should check his motives in fasting. Do not vow to God without strong intention of fulfilling your vow. Fasting is not to be frivolous or vain or for wrong reasons. Fasting is giving up something good for something better. The specific objective in this special period of fasting is the collective prayer and commitment of this church to increased ministry in the community and in the world through the leadership of these deacons, increasing ministries, and higher levels of involvement and commitment in each member. We are prayerfully seeking our places in the body of Christ, and committing to service in that place. Religious show and boasting should be avoided. Although many will be fasting, it may be that only one's close family will know of your participation.

Do plan to spend additional time in Bible reading and prayer during this weekend. Attend the Saturday evening prayer session for the entire family if possible. Let those for whom you are praying join you in that prayer. Your fasting should be based upon God's word as it speaks to you and disciplines your life (Matthew 6:16-18).

Power exists in the lives of those wholly committed to God, but feel no compulsion if health difficulties or other situations prohibit your fast. Your powerful prayers will rise to God.

You may decide how long to fast. You may miss from one to three meals if you fast on Saturday and Sunday. This is private, but collective. May God bless us with increasing faith and power in serving him and those about us. May God enable our leaders--elders, deacons, teachers, and evangelists--as they show us the way.

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Last updated November 28, 2001.