Lenten Practice: Seeking God Through Fasting and Prayer
by Stephanie Hurd
God says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”
- Proverbs 8:17
Lent is a perfect time to seek God through spiritual practices. A simple and rhythmic way to engage in Lent is to observe the Wesley Fast once per week (if you are physically able) and pray the Lord’s Prayer daily. Patterns have power—consistent practice over time bears the most fruit.
- John Wesley fasted most Fridays, which was the Anglican norm. Wesley required all his preachers to fast on Fridays. He would usually begin on Thursday (after the evening meal) and end at 3 pm on Friday. During this time, he fasted from solid food. For more information on “how” to fast, turn to the fasting guide in the Gratitude and Sermon Journal (pgs. 8-9).
Some early Methodists would fast until sundown on Friday, following the Jewish tradition of marking the “day” from sundown to sundown, instead of midnight to midnight as we do. Fridays are historically considered a fast day because it is a “type” of Good Friday, however, we do not have to be rigid in this. If another day is better for your schedule, go with that.
- The Lord’s Prayer is the name given to the prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13. A good habit is to pray this with your kids before school or before bedtime. Pastor Tom is encouraging us to form prayer pods of two to three people and focus prayers on helping others follow Jesus.
Other good habits to practice during Lent are daily scripture reading (choose a Gospel or follow the Journal), consistent Sunday worship, and taking walks (using that time to talk to God). Together, all these habits positively affect the mind, body, and spirit. If you miss a day or two—don’t give up—just start again the next day. Lent is a time to seek God through spiritual practices, but it is also a time to enter the rhythms of His grace. Lenten practices are for our benefit, not His. And we aren’t being graded. We are seeking God because we love Him, and because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).