Pray – Fast – Give

In Matthew 6: 1-18 Jesus encouraged his followers to practice three spiritual disciplines:

  • The discipline of giving to the needs of those who are without (verses 1-4).
  • The regular discipline of prayer (verses 5-15).
  • The discipline of fasting (verses 16-18).

You will notice in the second verse, Jesus said, “when you give to the needy,” not “if” you give to the needy. Jesus assumed that part of being a Christ follower and spiritual person was giving to the poor. In verse five and again in verse six, he said, “when you pray,” not “if you pray.” He assumes again that we will pray. And then again, in verses sixteen and seventeen, twice he said, “when you fast,” not if you fast. He expected that all Christians would practice these disciplines.

In this week in the middle of a Christian period known as Lent we as a HillSide church feel God is calling us to a week of Prayer and Fasting: 15th to the 22nd March. We are called to fast and pray and give to the needy. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF OUR CHURCH TO JOIN US.

Below is a simple guideline for the HillSide Prayer and Fasting week:

Sunday 15th March 2020-Sunday 22nd March 2020

Prayer: Every day in the above week for 10-15 minutes: (1) pray for our nation and its leadership, (2) pray for Edenvale/Linbro Park/ Modderfontein area, (3) pray for all the schools in our area (4) pray for our church and other churches in the area, (5) and pray for our families and those feeling the pressure of the recession (6) pray for those who need healing (7) pray for yourself that you might be a Christ-like example to those you meet .

Fasting: Every day in the above week give up one meal, just drink water with a little sugar if need be. Let your hunger and connection to these things lead you to pray. The Isaiah passage below reminds us that fasting can also include fasting from finger-pointing and malicious talk. (One can even fast from swearing and negative talk)   

Giving to the needy: Every day give something away (whether it is money or an item of clothing or a toy). Or another option is give away the money you would have spent on a meal to various charities of your choice.

Isaiah 58: 6-12 reminds and promises us God’s response to fasting and prayer:

6“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.