Practicing The Faith: Giving, Prayer, and Fasting

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For 2020, Solomon’s Porch has agreed together to begin fasting and praying together during the first week of each month. Choosing the day most conducive to each of our families and schedules during that week, we are fasting as the Lord directs each of us. It could be one meal, a whole day, or the whole six days. We are also using this as an opportunity to increase our giving to alms so that we can have more funds available to serve those in need within our community. We’ve asked our folks to use five dollars for each meal sacrificed as a guide for their gift to the alms account.

Importantly, fasting without giving and prayer is dieting. Our Lord places fasting as a Christian discipline immediately after these two disciplines in the Sermon on the Mount in Acts 6:1-18.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Note the beginning of verses 2, 5, 16. Each verse stating ” when you”, not “if you” in regards to giving, prayer, and fasting. Meaning that Jesus intended for His disciples to maintain these practices in their Christian communities. In a desire to obey the Lord and practice the Faith “once delivered to the Saints” as Jesus and the apostles delivered it in the Scriptures, we as a Christian community are choosing to “walk together” by giving, praying, and fasting during the same time period each month, focused on the same thing in prayer, and with the same goal of providing additional funds to minister to those in need.

Our prayer focus for this month will be “the restoration of natural and biblical marriage in our nation, as well as for the children of our nation” which suffer the immeasurable consequences of the destruction of chastity and piety. Whether through abortion, abandonment, abuse, or things like future poverty, addiction, and imprisonment, all having multiple orders of magnitudes higher chance of occurring among the children of the divorced or never married (fatherless), it is the children who suffer for our nation’s inordinate passions and selfishness the most. We pray that God would remove the “strong delusion” (2 Thess 2:11) obviously sent upon us as a Divine judgement, have mercy upon us, and “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal 4:6a) once again before we reap the second half of that verse, “lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” (Mal 4:6b) I can think of no greater plea to lift before our Father’s “Throne of Mercy” than the twin concerns of the restoration of natural and biblical marriage and the cherishing again of children as the gifts of God.


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