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  • Writer's pictureGCI Auckland

Fasting for Direction

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

In the past month, our congregation has been engaged in a weekly fast, to seek God's direction for our small church.

We have prayed, studied, and read different views and ideas about church growth, church health, discipleship, and church direction.

In our recent church services we have included information on church statistics worldwide, which show church attendance is in decline. Societally, we know that Western cultures are now less inclined to favour traditional Christian religion, and even once Christian commemorations such as Easter and Christmas have been secularised and commercialised. Christianity is increasingly being seen as irrelevant. By contrast, growth in such places as Africa has increased. We struggle locally to attract new attendees, and many congregations such as ours have aging congregations that decline simply through health challenges, and death.

We don't know whether our congregation will grow, continue, or if we will one day have to close our doors. From a practical perspective, we thought it was time to consider the topic of when a church congregation is no longer viable, and whether how we do church should change.

So here we have been thoughtfully and earnestly seeking God's direction and guidance on this. Setting aside one day in the week this last month, we have asked our members to join in a fast - a practice that is also often neglected in Christian life. Jesus spoke about fasting in the Sermon on the Mount, and interestingly he said "when" you fast - an expectation that we WILL fast. Rex Morgan gave a message to our congregation on this a few weeks ago just before we started this month's fasting.

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12-13 (NIV)

We haven't entered into fasting for a dietary benefit, to save money, or be more virtuous. What we are trying to do is focus on becoming more in tune with the Spirit, purposefully seeking God through prayer, and putting aside earthly things (food being one in this instance) to focus better on God. And keeping in mind that we might not have the answers to our prayers straight away or even have an answer in ways we expect. We want to be fully open to the direction and guidance of the Spirit and be able to hear God's voice when He speaks.

When was the last time you fasted? Don't leave it till a time when you are deeply in need of God's help. We should be drawing close to Him through fasting on a regular basis. To keep ourselves aligned with and focused on Him. May He then fill your cup.

Scripture quote from New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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