Sunday is March 31, and if you're following along with our Bible reading and prayer guide, it's a day of fasting. I do want to reiterate, that no one is asking you if you're fasting. No one is checking your Bible reading and prayer guides. We're not going to ask that they be turned in at the end of the year. If you decide that Sunday is not a day you can fast because of family obligations, then fast on Monday! I have had several people reach out to me in weeping and lamentation that they had forgotten and accidentally ate a bowl of cereal. I just want to dispel any rumors that I'm sending the fasting police after you, checking to see if you've eaten today. Though we're doing this together, it's also very personal. The Bible actually says as much in Matthew 6:16-18:
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.
That being said, we're fasting as a church for the purpose of learning what it means to fast and to give you practice in fasting. So each time we fast, I'm encouraging you to consider different things that we as a church body should be concerned about. You are certainly more than welcome to pray for some more personal things – in fact, I would encourage you to!
Tomorrow, I want us to consider those in our body (and connected to) who are facing serious trials. There are no doubt some of which I am unaware, but some that I am aware of:
- Kathy Cook: Kathy has been battling pancreatic cancer for about a year and a half. Currently she is taking chemotherapy, and this has proven to be a very difficult journey. Doug (her husband) has asked us to pray for the following:
"Please pray for healing, first of all; that the chemo she is on would keep the disease from progressing; that our May 9 appointment in Boston would be encouraging; that she would be able to gain weight; that the enormous abdominal hernia would not progress; that promising trials would develop; that this difficult path would bring glory to God. We would like to thank the body for their prayers, love, and many acts of kindness."
- Pat Gray: Pat is a member of our congregation who has a daughter and a daughter-in-law with cancer. Will you please remember to lift up Pat, her daughter Denise (advanced stages of brain cancer), and her daughter-in-law Mary Lynn (recovering from cancer surgery). Pray for healing for both of them, peace for the family during this extremely intense trial.
- Grady Coble: Grady is undergoing radiation for a cancer on his arm. First, is a praise: though the biopsy showed cancer, it appears to be caught very early. Second, he and Jolene will be in Jacksonville for 5 more weeks getting radiation. Pray that the Lord sustain him during this time away from our church. Pray that the Lord restore him to full health.
There are many others related to our church (and maybe even within) that are going through very challenging times. All of these requests that I've listed have been mentioned on Wednesday nights, and our church has been praying for for some time now. For anyone who may be enduring trials, whether health related or otherwise, I would encourage you to pray for them tomorrow.
In addition, send them an encouraging text message, phone call, voicemail, or handwritten note to tell them that you were praying for them. I'm very confident they'll be encouraged by it.