Let Us Pray Together: 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

10/15/2020

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson invites North Georgia United Methodists to join the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference for 40 days of prayer and weekly fasting.

We will begin October 18, but you are invited to join in at any time. Every day, you are invited to enter into the offices of prayer, beginning the day with Wesley’s Covenant Prayer, saying the Lord’s Prayer at mid-day, and ending the day with the Prayer of St. Francis. Each Tuesday, you are invited to fast from rising up until settling down.

The season of prayer will take us from today, through election day, and lead us into Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent. On Tuesdays, including Election Day, you are invited to abstain from food and, when you feel hunger, turn to God in prayer — viewing that yearning for food as a call to prayer. Those who are unable to fast for medical or other reasons are asked to abstain from other significant things, like social media or another habit or practice.

 Among the greatest gifts United Methodists have to give to our nation is prayer and fasting to undergird our prayers.

The three daily prayers are found in The United Methodist Hymnal on pages 607 (Covenant Prayer), 270 (Lord’s Prayer), and 481 (Prayer of St. Francis) and are below.
 

 The Daily Prayers

 
A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition (UMH #607)

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
Exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.


Some Guidance on Fasting

The Baltimore-Washington Conference offers the following guidelines for fasting: Fasting in a religious context involves abstaining from food, or certain foods, for a period of time as a spiritual discipline. Fasting is most effective when accompanied by prayer. Some Christians believe that denying physical hunger for a time can heighten or enhance spiritual sensitivity. Fasting is often said to help people hear God’s voice more clearly.

Fasting is a biblical practice. Jesus began his public ministry by fasting for 40 days and nights. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, advocated for fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays as a spiritual practice and asked Methodist clergy to do the same.

Please note: Do not fast if you or your doctor feels it will have a negative impact on your health. When fasting, it is important to be flexible and listen to the Holy Spirit and to the cues your body gives you. There are no fixed rules to this fast, but it's always good to try to keep the fast you set out to do. Drink plenty of water.

Thank you to the Baltimore-Washington Conference for sharing this initiative. 


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