Dear Sweet UFC Sisters,
For the past 12 weeks, we have spent time together learning about both fasting and feasting. I know that for me much of what we are learning is new. I have loved learning about how both fasting and feasting teach us about God’s faithfulness over the generations, reminding us of His character and pointing us to what He was doing through Jesus and what is to come. But it is my prayer, and that of the women’s ministry team, that all of this head knowledge transforms our hearts, leading to a deeper obedience and trust in our God.
Last week, we talked about the Day of Atonement in our study of feasts. Both of our study series marry in this feast as Atonement is the one and only day of the year that was a commanded fast or humbling of God’s people in recognition of their sin. While we are not Jewish and are not held to the Old Testament sacrificial system of atonement, we do recognize that we are sinners in need of a savior, who sacrificially died in our place to pay the penalty of our sins so that our names can be sealed in the Book of Life.
As we contemplate Easter, we want to humble ourselves before we celebrate God’s extravagant grace. To do so, we invite you to a communal fast. Beginning Thursday, April 14 at sundown, the women’s ministry team and I will fast from food until Friday sundown. As part of our fast, we are including some psalms and prayers to help us focus and remember our sin and God’s faithfulness. There are five 5-minute pauses — one to start the fast, three during the day on Friday, and one to end the fast — that we will all pray together as we prepare our hearts for Easter.
May God bless you and encourage you as you take a big step of faith and do a hard thing like a fast as we learn to more deeply trust and obey Him.
Blessings, Jamie Harms
Women’s Ministry Fast
April 14-15, 2022
Begin Your Fast
(sunset at 7:55 p.m. Thursday, April 14)
Read Psalms 139
Heavenly Father, I humbly come before You, my Creator, who knows me from the inside out. You who formed my inmost parts and hems me in behind and before is always with me, pursuing me, and loving me. As I prepare my heart for Easter, Father, search me and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there is any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.
Read Psalms 24
Heavenly Father, You alone are the fountain of the life and love I have looked for in other places to my misery. I want to love You for Yourself alone and know Your fellowship and presence. That will be a long journey and a struggle. But I commit myself to it today. Amen.*
Read Psalms 51
Heavenly Father, When I sin against others — and even against myself — I am ultimately sinning against You because we are all Your possessions whom You love. When I sin, I don’t just break Your laws but trample on Your heart. Help me to grasp that because it helps me not just admit my sins but forsake them. Amen.*
Late Afternoon Pause
Read Isaiah 53
Heavenly Father, Surely You have borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. It was my sin, Lord, for which You were pierced and crushed instead of me. I humbly come before You to give You worship for Your great sacrifice on my behalf and for Your unending lovingkindness and mercy that I may be with You forever. Amen.
Conclude Your Fast
(sunset at 7:57 p.m. on Friday, April 15)
Read Psalms 103
Heavenly Father, I confess how much of my fear, anger, anxiety, and discouragement is wholly due to my forgetting Your benefits, forgetting all You’ve given me and promised me in Christ. My mind knows but my heart forgets I’m forgiving, delighted in, guaranteed a crown, a feast. Forgive me and help me speak to my soul until strength is renewed. I praise you, Father, for making Yourself not just my King and my shepherd, but my Father. To think of the omnipotent God as my Father — infinite power, entitled for me, loving me and working all things for my good! Transform my heart through a deeper grasp of Your fatherly love to me. Amen.*
*Prayer with an asterisk were taken from The Song of Jesus by Timothy and Kathy Keller