Easter is just around the corner! I can’t wait to celebrate Easter weekend with you at our Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. We’ll be gathering at 9am and 10:30 at our Barrie and Orillia Campuses on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
But… did you know we’re in a season not a lot of people talk about anymore? It’s called Lent.
And in many ways, it’s a season that’s completely counter-cultural.
Let me me explain.
From the time you were little, you were likely conditioned to believe that life was about you.
Your mom would make sure you got your favourite food and a cake you loved on your birthday, not to mention the gift you had no power to buy for yourself.
Your parents helped you try to succeed at your favourite sport and in school.
As you grew up, you realized you could (in some small way), bend reality to fit your wants and needs.
Chances are your kitchen cupboards and fridge have some of your favourite foods in them. Your car has at least a few options you really wanted (who really wants to roll down a window manually anyway?)
If you’re like me, you have this selfish gene that just wants everything to be the way you want it to be all the time.
Let’s be honest… often our prayer life works like that.
I can spend far too much time in my prayer life telling God how to run the world (and my world). If I’m not careful, I can vacuum up all my prayer time telling God what I want him to do for my kids, my wife, our church, my work, my finances, my health and what I want him to do in the lives of everyone I’m praying for.
Prayer can so easily become about what we want to get from God, can’t it?
It can even be a meagre attempt to control God.
But when I read the Psalms and the scripture, prayer seems to be so much less about control than it seems to be about surrender.
Which is why prayer and fasting are a beautiful combination.
Fasting—something many Christians observe in Lent—is all about giving something up.
While we’re not doing a concerted fast right now at Connexus (we’ve done them before and might do them again), fasting something can be a great spiritual discipline as you get ready to celebrate Easter.
Even fasting anything for a day or two can make a big difference.
Because fasting is about actually depriving yourself.
It could be depriving yourself of social media or TV for a season.
Or even sugar, carbs or dessert for a period of time (that’s what I’m doing as I write this). Or of solid foods (see your doctor before you do that!).
Every time I fast, I realize it’s about creating a life that’s less about me and more about God.
I let the cravings prompt me to think less about what I want and more about what God wants.
It’s like the absence of what I’m missing during my fast is driving me into the arms of the God I was missing before I fasted.
And, my goodness, that has implications.
- My prayers become less about what I want and more about what God wants.
- My relationships can be less about me and more about what helps the other person.
- Greed, envy, selfishness and desires lose some of their power.
- The reality that life is more than food and clothes and possessions and things sears more deeply into my heart, soul and mind.
So what can come about from praying and fasting?
Let the absence of what you’re missing drive you into the arms of the God you were missing.
He missed you too.
O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 NLT
Teaching Pastor, Connexus Church