Thursday, February 07, 2008


From Monday through Friday February 18-22, West Houston will undertake a “Week of Prayer and Fasting for Breakthrough.” The purpose for this communal effort will be to call each of us to an individual time of consecration and prayerful reflection on our life with God, and to call our congregation to a mutual time of seeking God’s anointing and direction.

Prayer and fasting have a long history together in the Bible and in the lives of God’s people. People have prayed and fasted in a time of crisis (2 Chronicles 20:3), in confession and repentance (Daniel 9:3), while seeking direction from God (Acts 13:2), in anticipation of a new initiative for God’s work (Acts 13:3), and as part of the regular rhythm of the spiritual life (Matthew 6:16). There is something powerful that happens when we not only pray in a concerted way, but accompany that with the self-denial that is at the heart of fasting.

You might ask, what does “breakthrough” mean? What it means is a change for the better in an area of your life that is hindering you from experiencing spiritual vitality and impeding your relationship with God. For one person, it might be a marital difficulty, for another an ongoing temptation, an addiction, an estranged relationship, a besetting sin, a sense of despair and loss of hope, professional frustration, or a feeling of spiritual stagnation.

For our congregation, this may mean a greater willingness to venture out of our comfort zones to pursue God’s mission in the world, a greater engagement with the lost and hurting in our community, a deeper awareness of and partnership with the Holy Spirit, or a greater hunger to know and feed on God’s Word in the Scriptures. Or all of the above.

On Sunday February 17 each member and guest will receive a card with various options of ways to fast, from a “strict” fast of water and juice only to a fast that abstains from certain activities. We will each commit to participating in some way by turning in our cards and agreeing that the Fasting Police may check on us any time to make sure we are not violating our religious observance. That last part was a joke, friends.

Our chapel will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. each night for people to come in and pray alone or in groups. A few shepherds and staff will be there each evening to pray with people who feel a special burden.

On Saturday morning, our week will culminate with a breakfast in the gym at 7:30, then a day of “Servin’ the Burbs.” We have partnered with Cypress Assistance Ministries to line up multiple work projects to help people in our community. In addition, we will do some independent projects we have identified ourselves. Imagine hundreds of West Houston folks exercising our faith and serving our community in Christ’s name on this special day! It is going to be a powerful week.

I am spending three of the four weeks in February preaching from Amos, who calls God’s people out of their “gated communities” (figuratively) to engage with the world. It is a great challenge and also a great joy. Think about how you will participate.


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