Wednesday, November 23, 2005

After Thanksgiving, Fast for Renewal

Pacific Southwest Region Board Names Last Friday of Each Month as Day of Prayer & Fasting

The PSW Region Board believes that any change we seek as a Region, any movement to transform our worlds for Christ must be bathed in prayer. Fasting helps center the mind by depriving the body of nourishment and directing the spirit in nourishing relationships with our Lord and Savior.

Therefore, we call on every pastor, church and American Baptist Christian throughout our PSW region to set aside the last Friday of the month as a time to devote to prayer. We will do this every month as we seek to determine God's leading for the future.

For those who have demanding work schedules you still have time set aside to have meals. We hope that you will use the time set for meals to instead pray for discernment and clarity.

What is fasting? Throughout Scripture fasting refers to abstaining from food for the spiritual purpose of submitting to God. It is not a hunger strike, nor is to gain political power, or attract attention for a good cause. It is not a diet for physical purposes. (Luke 4:2ff; Daniel 10:3; Esther 4:16; Acts 9:9; Deut. 9:9; 2 Chron. 20:1-4; 2 Cor. 11:27)

How to Pray and Fast (from Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline)
"While it is the spirit of the rule and not the letter of it that is important, consider avoiding food for 24 hours (this includes snacks as much as meals). Replace a meal with water and fruit juices.

"Outwardly perform the duties of your day, but inwardly you will be in prayer and adoration, song and worship. Consider some worship music on your CD player for some of this. In a new way, cause every task of the day to be a sacred ministry to the Lord. Break your fast with a light meal of fresh fruits and vegetables and a good deal of inner rejoicing. Consider writing down what you experienced. Obviously care needs to be taken if you have diabetes, or are pregnant, or have heart problems."

During times you would normally eat, avoid normal activities and conversations and be in a place or spirit of concentration to pray on all the issues that our pastors, churches and Region face. This time of prayer might include the ideas of ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication for others)

What to Pray About:

Pray that our Region listen to the Lord's leading and avoid anything that does not Honor Him.

Pray for our Executive Minister, Dr. Dale Salico and our Region Board - that the leadership decisions they make will glorify Christ.

Pray for the upcoming meeting of the Regional Executive Ministers (REMC)
and the General Board that will face many of the same issues that we are facing here in PSW.

Pray for a renewal of ABCUSA across the country

Pray that our churches make the right decision regarding withdrawal from the Covenant of Relationships with ABCUSA.

Pray for our churches to be transformed by a new vision for reaching their world's for Christ, and pray for the raising up of empowered leaders in all our churches to strengthen our churches.

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger ?. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks." - Phillips Brooks, Minister 1835-1893


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