Wherever we go as a church we want to go there in prayer. Sunday morning worship is so much better when God shows up and it seems from scripture that God likes to manifest his presence where he is wanted. At EFC we have developed a few disciplines that function as spiritual engines driving us as a church. “Seven days of A.S.K.” is one of those engines. The name “A.S.K.,” asking, seeking, knocking, is drawn from Luke 11, where Jesus bids his disciples to pray persistently promising they will be answered. Our application of this command is to set aside the first full week of the new year to focus on asking the Father for new measures of his Spirit. This is not just a general application of scripture, Jesus said, “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13) As I see it the road to being a community that is characterized by the presence of the Holy Spirit is asking!
I believe A.S.K. is one of the most spiritually significant weeks in the life of our church. To start we challenge everyone to fast from something or multiple things for the entire week. Some form of dietary fasting can be helpful and is encouraged; for example, abstaining from caffeine, sugar, meat, or even all food. However, the most helpful fast for hearing God’s voice in today’s world is fasting media. Imagine giving up all media for a week, no Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Hulu or talk radio. I have found that when you make space in your life for the Lord to speak, you are much more likely to hear Him. And this is exactly what we are trying to do during A.S.K.
The rough outline of the week is as follows:
Monday night we take time to rest. If you are fasting from media this space opens time up for enjoying your family or slowing down for reflection and maybe even going to bed early.
Then Tuesday – Saturday from 6-8 pm we gather in the sanctuary to pray. This is a “come when you can, leave when you need to” prayer meeting. The focus of this time is simply waiting on the Lord and asking him to lead us in prayer. We are asking for God to give us more of himself and to lead us in seeing his kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. There have been times when God had led us into intense intercession with repentance, worship, declaring God’s promises over circumstances and deep outpouring of prayer. I have also seen times when we mostly sit in silence enjoying the presence of the Lord. In these times we do our best to set aside our agendas and seek the Lord’s agenda for the evening. The point is to offer our time and attention to the Lord asking that He lead us by his Spirit and like he did with Moses to “show us His glory.” Lastly, Sunday night at 5 pm we end with a bonfire celebration, including a soup dinner and testimonies. Seeking the face of God must never be a religious activity or done out of a sense of duty. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would be growing in us all a deep hunger to draw near to God, through prayer, scripture reading and fellowship with His people.
So consider what you might fast and mark your calendars A.S.K. January 3 – 9. Who knows what God will do?