Pace: Prayer and Fasting

Recordings, notes and application questions

Each week, we produce notes, discussion points and application questions for the Sunday talks — helping you go deeper into everything we’re looking at together and resourcing our Small Groups during the week. Our current series explores how we can build rhythms and disciplines into our daily lives that help us go deeper with God. Use the embedded players to listen to the talks, or click here to visit Soundcloud and download them on a PC.

Key Passages

  • Matthew 6:9–13
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
  • Matthew 6:16–18

Notes: Prayer

The five senses of prayer:

  • “Feels like” — Love (it’s all about relationship with God). Sometimes feels hard or pointless when disappointment comes, but even that is something we can bring to God openly and honestly. Love allows total transparency.
  • “Smells like” — A pleasing aroma (Rev 5:8). Stored up before God, no prayer is wasted. One day, all prayers will be gathered up in God’s ‘putting right’ of all things (Rev 8:3–5)
  • “Looks like” — An invitation. Not an obligation but an opportunity to be with God and receive from Him; knowing the ultimate gift is God Himself.
  • “Sounds like” — You. There’s no need to be intimidated by how others pray, and we don’t need to mimic them (though sometimes this can help for a short while). You are free to be you. That’s what God wants.
  • “Tastes like” — The goodness of God. Psalm 34:8 — “taste and see the LORD is good!”

We finished by watching this short video from John Piper, walking us through the Lord’s Prayer.

Notes: Fasting

Fasting is going without something we enjoy to aid our pursuit of Jesus. It is hunger for God.

What of Fasting
Matthew 6:16 talks about ‘when’ you fast, not ‘if’. It is a key aspect of Christian growth. It develops our joy, since it cultivates a greater hunger, dependency and desire for God. And to have Him is to have joy!

Why of Fasting
Fasting: sharpens our Focus; cultivates a hunger for God; illuminates what is really going on inside (since quick comforts are taken away) allowing Jesus to be Lord, healer and saviour; is a mystery involving reward from God but not in a manner we can rationalise or tie down (since we never bargain with God).

How of Fasting
Involves training. Start small and build up over time. Decide you are going to fast what you intend to fast from, define the nature of the fast (how long, what it includes), and do it.

Application Questions

  1. What struck you most from Sunday’s talks?
  2. What comes to mind when you think of prayer?
  3. For you right now, what does prayer honestly feel/look/smell/sound/taste like?
  4. Today, how do you respond to God’s invitation to prayer? Do you want more of Him? What practical steps might help you grow in prayer life?
  5. What experience, if any, do you have of fasting? What comes to mind when you think of it?
  6. What motivates you to fast?
  7. How can fasting become an exciting opportunity to grow in joy?
  8. What practical steps could you take to begin introducing fasting into your walk with God?
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