Give, Pray, Fast: The When, How, and Where of Serving God and Others
This is the time of year many of us are asking The Question: “So, what are you giving up for Lent this year?” Many of our Christian sisters and brothers including myself are entering a time of 40 days of fasting to prepare for Easter Sunday.
Traditionally, the Church has focused on three key practices during this time: giving Alms, committing to Prayer, and Fasting. This comes from the Book of Matthew Chapter 6, where Jesus describes ‘What this may look like.’ Each section begins with this phrase “When you…” When you pray… When you fast… When you give… Jesus assumption is that his followers will be doing these things regularly! Additionally, he is teaching how and where we are to do these things.
For many of us, ‘The When’ of these practices is the coming 40 Days (with Sundays’ being days for feasting, not fasting!). But how and where are we to do these things? We are to Give, Pray, and Fast in secret apart from a desire to be seen by others. I would like to offer some thoughts and suggestions for Us, as we consider our Lenten practices, and invite you to consider working with HopeSprings in the coming days.
We all have something to give. There is no minimum and no maximum requirement. Some of us have been blessed with financial resources, to give large donations. Some of us can afford a small, occasional gift. But also, we still have Time we can give to others, above all else can be such a precious and loving gift. You also may have specific skills that benefit others.
You can give what you have to the workings of HopeSprings by donating, either a one-time gift or recurring donations. You can give of your Time by becoming a trained volunteer and serving with us. You can also offer any skills or expertise you have to benefit our work at HopeSprings (i.e. IT, Handyman, Administrative, Event Hosting, Video Editing, etc., we can make it connect!)
What might it look like for you to commit to a fresh prayer practice during this season of Lent? To whom have you said, “I’ll pray for you,” then forgotten moments later? (I’m guilty of this!) What if you prayed for people right then, or closed your office or bedroom door to pray?
We would love for you to pray for us and with us at HopeSprings and to witness the work we do, to see hope and healing come to all of us praying around the issues of HIV and other health disparities. Message Us to be added to our prayer list or to be one of our Prayer Warriors.
Fasting helps reveal the things we depend upon: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, certain foods, media consumption, etc. What thing could you fast from for these 40 days or for a full 24 hours once a week? How could your fasting then help permeate your prayer and your giving?
Here’s an example:
Let’s say your desire is to give more, but you don’t have much room in your budget.So, let’s also say you are like me and LOVE coffee… A LOT! Here’s how you might connect this to all three practices: You could choose to give up your morning coffee run each day. That could be your Fast.
Perhaps instead of taking the time to wait in line and/or drive thru or your walk to the coffee shop, you go for a Prayer Walk around your neighborhood, maybe bring a friend, a family member or some church members to join you.
Lastly, if you averaged $3-4 each trip, you could have $15-20 dollars by the end of the week to Give! We can connect these practices together to serve God and others.
Today, I am commiting to some new practices this Lent season which will allow me to better Give, Pray, and Fast. Consider joining me, and include HopeSprings in your practice.
We are in this together, so that Hope and Healing can come to us all.
-Derek H. Miller
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;”