(Editor’s Note: The following is the body of a note I recently sent out on HopeNews, our staff vehicle for communicating to Hope Chapel’s participants. –geno)
I hope my note finds you enjoying the peace and presence of Jesus as you go about your life’s business.
This coming Wednesday, February 13th, Hope Chapel will join the Christian Church around the world in observing 40 days of preparation for what is typically called ‘Holy Week’–that week just prior to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Traditionally, this period of preparation includes special times of prayer and fasting. Many choose to fast from something important during the entire time. Typically this kind of fasting runs from Monday through Saturday, with no fasting on Sundays.
This year I’m calling Hope Chapel to three periods of joint fasting during the Lenten season.
First, I’d like for as many of us as possible to engage in a liquid fast the first three days of the season, February 13-15. Some will only drink water during the period, while others will need to drink more substantial liquids including fruit or vegetable juices. Please, please consult your physician if you have health limitations. It would be entirely wrong to conduct a fast that endangers your health.
Second, I would like for us to fast together for a 10-day period from Tuesday, February 19th through Thursday, February 28th. Please choose your method of self-denial in fasting. However, I would like to see as many of us as possible engage in what is called the “Daniel Fast,” which is essentially a vegan diet. When we fast together as a faith community we tend to strengthen one another’s resolve and, I believe, there comes a spiritual power into our midst.
Finally, I would like to see us fast for a 21-day period running from March 3-March 23. Lent ends on Sunday, March 24 (Palm Sunday). My suggestion, again, is that this longer fast be conducted following guidelines for the Daniel Fast. Help for understanding this type of fasting may be found on my blog at: http://genohild.com/?p=385.
What will we be praying together during the Lenten season and these fast periods? Great question. I have read through Seek God for the City 2013 and would like for us to follow this prayer guide through the entire time period. Steve Hawthorne always does a great job with this pamphlet, but this year’s themes and prayers work very, very well with the direction I believe the Lord is taking Hope Chapel. So pick up a copy this Sunday at Hope or get the app on your smart phone and pray through.
May God’s peace keep us all.