As promised, I am writing to you to share the resources for our Diocesan Day of Prayer and Fasting, to which our Bishops have called us.
Here are the guidelines, which I hope and trust you will read and consider how you might participate. This is very important and I urge you to join in this prayer in whatever way you can. Our world is in crisis and the prayers of God’s people are needed.
There is great blessing and power in unified prayer. Throughout the centuries, God’s people have gathered in times of need, seeking God’s will to be known and accomplished. These prayers have often been given focus and clarity through the spiritual discipline of fasting, a voluntary and temporary abstinence (primarily) of food.
Why should we do it?
Fasting helps in deepening our attentiveness to God and God’s will by turning from the desires of the body and towards the life-giving desire of serving and knowing Jesus Christ. In prayerful fasting, we are brought closer to the humble reality of our dependence upon God for all things, drawing from God as the Bread of Life, and are often given a sense of spiritual clarity which further helps hone our prayers and discernment. “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way.” (Psalm 25:9)
The Bible speaks in many ways to practices of prayer and fasting in both individual and corporate expressions (e.g. see Exodus 34:28; Nehemiah 1:4; Matthew 4:2, 6:16-18; Mark 2:18; Luke 2:37; Acts 13:2-3, 14:23, 27:9).
Jesus engaged prayer and fasting as did his disciples and other followers. Indeed, the Early Fathers and Mothers of the Church modeled and taught prayer and fasting as a universally applied practice for deepening in Christ-likeness.
How should we do it?
On March 26, you might choose to withhold one or two meals, or if you are familiar with the practice, to avoid food throughout the day. It is important to always ensure proper hydration with water. This discipline can also include withholding any contemporary behaviour or practice that represents a significant aspect of one’s daily “diet of life,” such as an intake of internet/TV/media. This is especially relevant for those whom restricting food is not medically advisable.
In order to make it possible for as many of us to participate as possible, we will not have morning prayer, Bible study, or Compline at our regularly scheduled times. These online events are cancelled for the day. Instead, I invite you to join me via Facebook live to pray throughout the day with the rest of our Diocese.
During the day, there will be three times designated for prayer:
9 am for Morning Prayers
12 pm for the Great Litany and the Litany of Resistance
7 pm for Evening Prayers
If you are not online, I encourage you to join in the prayers privately. They are included in a document here, which you can either print or just read from your computer.
Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer. May God bless us in our prayers tomorrow, and may the peace of Christ reign in our hearts.