Every year at New Life, we begin the year with fasting and praying together. It is a time for us to reflect, take stock of the past year, and invite God to order our individual and corporate steps in the new year. We invite you into this cherished practice. Whether you are brand new or you’ve experienced this in previous years, we hope you will enter the next 21-Days with great expectancy for how God will commune with us.
An Introduction to Lament
Perhaps you enter the year simply glad that past year is over. Certainly, if nothing else, this last year taught us that simple optimism is not enough to carry us through long periods of uncertainty and deep brokenness. Instead, we need to reorient our hearts towards an eternal and certain hope.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matt 5:4)
When Jesus spoke these words, He recognized that human life is full of brokenness and suffering. But he was also assuring us that when we enter into mourning, we will experience the deep comfort of the Holy Spirit. The road from mourning to dancing resounds with deep blessing. But how does this transformation happen?
When the psalmist and prophets of old found themselves under the heavy yoke of slavery and exile, they unraveled their raw and honest lament before God’s throne of grace. They asked boldly for God to act. They allowed their hearts to be reoriented towards God’s promises and their gaze towards an eternal hope.
During this year’s 21-Days of Prayer and Fasting, join us in this ancient practice of biblical lament.
Purpose of Fasting
“By fasting we reveal to ourselves the things that control us”
– Richard Foster
Fasting is not a bribe to get God’s attention. It is a way of denying ourselves to make intentional space in our daily life for communing with God.
It can be a way to omit the things that anesthetize us to the broken reality of our world and sin. Becoming more aware of our spiritual condition potentially allows us to come more honestly before God’s throne of grace and open up a new depth of conversation with Him.
One of the keys to fasting is to make a plan. Consider the following:
- What are my reservations and hopes for the next 21 days?
- How can I use the the time freed up by fasting to spend time with God each day?
The readings and reflections in the 21 Days Lament Guide below is designed to help deepen your conversation with God.
- Can I join or form a small group that encourages one another when fasting is hard and to share this journey with? Talk to LiLing Pang (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need help connecting with a group.
Consider fasting from something that numbs you to the challenges of life.
For some of us, food, binge watching Netflix, or scrolling through social media, are a daily comfort. Fasting from food might look like skipping one meal each day, abstaining from certain types of food, or drinking just juice or water for a defined period of time.
Consuming media fills those gaps between activities, leaving little room for reflection and simply being aware and present to what God might be saying. Consider abstaining from watching any form of TV, browsing the Internet, or newspapers. Do your devices dominate your life? Turn off your smart phone for defined periods each day.
There are No “rules”! Each day and every person can be different!
What’s Happening During 21-Days 2022
Jan 2 – Kick off Sunday
Jan 3 – Fasting begins
Jan 6-8 – Prayer Stations (church sanctuary)
Jan 9 – Sunday Service – Guided lament
Jan 14 – Sunrise Stretch & Scripture Meditation
Jan 16 – Sunday Service – Repentance
Jan 23 – Sunday Service – Worship & Corporate Prayer
Last day of 21-Days – Break Fast.
We have designed the prayer stations this year to help you engage with the practice of lament in an interactive way with all your senses. The stations are available for 3 days (Jan 6-8) and you will have the church sanctuary all to yourself for an hour.
No drop-ins, by reservation only. Please click the button below to reserve your spot.
Resources for 21-Days of Prayer and Fasting
In addition to the curated 21-Day reflection guide below, you might also want to purchase a copy of “Dark Cloud, Deep Grace, Discovering the Grace of Lament” by Mark Vroegop which was used in the development of this guide.
Music has a way of speaking the language of the soul. Here are some playlists with songs of lament.
New Life Reflection Guide on Lament
Pick up a printed copy of the 21-Days reflection guide at church or download the guide for printing (print single side | print double side). You can also access all scripture readings and reflection questions below.