A Call to Prayer and Fasting


Author: Eric Young

A CALL TO PRAYER AND FASTING  

The leadership team of Free Methodist Bible Quizzing is issuing a call to prayer and fasting as we seek God’s guidance for the direction of our ministry.  

The focus of this season of prayer and fasting is to ask God to work through our regions, conferences and individual churches to be more effective in our mission of instilling Biblical knowledge into the minds of students, establishing students in their faith and preparing students for Christian service. Our overriding mission is to be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ.  

We are setting aside one Monday each month between now and Quiz Finals 2018 to fast and pray for Bible Quizzing:

  • October 16
  • November 13
  • December 11
  • January 15
  • February 12
  • March 12
  • April 9
  • May 7
  • June 4
  • June 28 

We will follow a Wesley fast in practice by observing the fast from sundown Sunday to 3pm on Monday. You may want to continue the fast until sundown on Monday. Do as you feel led.  

We encourage you to pray each day for Bible Quizzing. There are daily prayer topics that are posted to our group Facebook page. Our group page is private and is an opportunity for you to interact and post under each topic.

Here is a list of leaders and ministries that FMBQ supports: Leadershipprayerguide


The Wesley Fast

What is fasting?

In a general sense, fasting can mean a number of things: abstaining from food and drink, abstaining from food only, or abstaining from certain foods for a limited period of time. In the Christian sense, fasting is abstaining from food as a spiritual discipline.  

Most Christians accompany fasting with prayer. Many Christians view fasting as a way to intensify prayer and increase its effectiveness. Some believe that by denying our physical hunger for a time, our spiritual sensitivity is heightened or enhanced.  

Essentially, fasting makes prayer more powerful, and can also help us hear God's voice more clearly.  

What is the Wesley fast?

For a portion of John Wesley's ministry, he advocated fasting on both Wednesday and Friday each week as a regular spiritual discipline. It's fairly well known that Wesley would not ordain anyone to the Methodist ministry who was unwilling to fast those days.  

But as time passed, Wesley fasted mostly on Fridays, which was the Anglican norm. (Actually, as early as August 1739, he advocated Friday fasting for Methodists in his journal, according to the Anglican rule.)  

Wesley usually began a Friday fast at sundown on Thursday. This was in continuity with Jewish and early Christian tradition, which both marked the beginning of the day at sundown, not midnight. Wesley typically ended his fast at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.   

Guidelines for observing OUR CALL TO FASTING AND PRAYER

  1. Be flexible and listen to the Holy Spirit. Don't get so caught up with the act of fasting itself that you forget why you're doing it in the first place.
  2. Decide whether you're going to do a complete fast (water only), a no-solid-food fast that allows milk, juice, coffee and tea, a no-meat fast, or some other kind of fast. There are no fixed rules here but it's always good to try to keep the fast you set out to do. Some fasts are more difficult than others, and there will be times you may feel led to switch things up.
  3. Plan on Monday as your regular fasting day, but use other days for additional fasting when you feel called to a time of deeper and more intense prayer. Remember, there's nothing "magic" about Monday. If for some reason another day of the week makes more sense for you, then fast on that day.
  4. Only fast for more than one consecutive day after you've consulted with your doctor and only if you're sure you're physically able to handle it. 
  5. Make sure you drink plenty of water while fasting, no matter what kind of fast you choose. 
  6. The fast is observed from sundown Sunday till 3:00 Monday afternoon. Some Christians go till sundown on Monday. Do whichever you feel led to do in any given week.
  7. Remember, there will be times when it makes sense to skip your Monday fast or move it to another day of the week. For example, if you have an opportunity to have lunch on a Monday with someone you've been wanting to connect with for a while, don't feel compelled to create an awkward situation by sticking to your fast. Just change your fast day that week. Guideline #1 applies here. 

We remember the words of John Wesley about the importance of seeking God's guidance:

"In a Christian believer, love sits upon the throne which is erected in the inmost soul- namely, love of God and [humanity], which fills the whole heart, and reigns without a rival. In a circle near the throne are all holy tempers: --longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, goodness, fidelity, temperance: and if any other is comprised in 'the mind which was in Christ Jesus.' In an exterior circle are all the works of mercy, which to the soul or bodies of (human beings]... Next to these are those that are usually termed works of piety; reading and hearing the Word, public, family, private prayer, receiving the Lord's Supper, fasting or abstinence. Lastly, that his followers may more effectually provoke one another to love, holy tempers, and good works, our blessed Lord has united them together in one body, the Church."

The Works of John Wesley edited by Albert C. Outler Volume 3, Sermon 92, On Zeal, p.313.

Posted on October 05, 2017