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Prayer and Fasting Guide 2017

Whenever God determines to do a great work, He firsts set His people to pray. C.H. Spurgeon.

 

Dear Oasis!

 

Thank you for coming on this prayer journey with us! Let’s get excited for this time of fasting and prayer! When we started Oasis Church, we wanted PRAYER to be the foundation of everything we do, and nothing has changed! We want people to go beyond just meeting with Jesus on a Sunday, to knowing Him everyday. Our prayer, is that this season of prayer and fasting will encourage you to be with Him more.

Mark 11:17a And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’.

 

 

This booklet is designed to help you take your NEXT STEPS to guide you through our annual season of prayer and fasting. Let’s set this time aside as sacred, and holy, to cry out to God corporately. Each day should take you around 15 – 20 minutes to complete.

 

 

Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship

 

This time is critical, and should be taken seriously. During the 2 weeks, there will be opportunities to pray on your own, pray within your small groups and pray with the wider Oasis Church. There is also a prayer devotional everyday.

 

 

A few weeks ago while I was away on holidays I had a profound dream. In the dream there were three huge green snakes fighting aggressively in a tree. Two were extremely large, and one was a it smaller and trying to get in the way. As Ewen and I approached the tree (and were standing at a safe distance), someone came running up to us and said, ‘the kingdoms are raging against each other’. The reason we have these kinds of dreams is so that we will pray!! Our prayers are powerful.

 

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have the divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 

We love you!

Ps Ewen and Christie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FASTING BASICS

 

Why Fast?

  • Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, “when you fast,” not if you fast.
  • Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
  • Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”
  • Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
  • The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!
  • Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
  • Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.

 

Examples of Fasting in the Bible

 

Old Testament

  • Moses fasted 40 days on behalf of Israel’s sin: Deuteronomy 9:9, 18, 25-29; 10:10.
  • David fasted and mourned the death of Saul: 2 Samuel 1:12.
  • David fasted and mourned the death of Abner: 2 Samuel 3:35.
  • David fasted and mourned the death of his child: 2 Samuel 12:16.
  • Elijah fasted 40 days after fleeing from Jezebel: 1 Kings 19:7-18.
  • Ahab fasted and humbled himself before God: 1 Kings 21:27-29.
  • Darius fasted in concern for Daniel: Daniel 6:18-24.
  • Daniel fasted on behalf of Judah’s sin while reading Jeremiah’s prophecy: Daniel 9:1-19.
  • Daniel fasted regarding a mysterious vision from God: Daniel 10:3-13.
  • Esther fasted on behalf of her people: Esther 4:13-16.
  • Ezra fasted and wept for the sins of the returning remnant: Ezra 10:6-17.
  • Nehemiah fasted and mourned over the broken walls of Jerusalem: Nehemiah 1:4-2:10.
  • The people of Ninevah fasted after hearing the message of Jonah: Jonah

 

New Testament

  • Anna fasted for the redemption of Jerusalem through the coming Messiah: Luke 2:37.
  • Jesus fasted 40 days before his temptation and the beginning of his ministry: Matthew

4:11.

  • The disciples of John the Baptist fasted: Matthew 9:14-15.
  • The elders in Antioch fasted before sending off Paul and Barnabas: Acts 13:1-5.
  • Cornelius fasted and sought God’s plan of salvation: Acts 10:30.
  • Paul fasted three day fast after his Damascus Road encounter: Acts 9:9.
  • Paul fasted 14 days while at sea on a sinking ship: Acts 27:33-34.

 

 

How to Begin

Start with a clear goal. Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible.

 

Preparing Spiritually

Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25Luke 11:417:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).

 

Deciding What to Fast

The type of fasting you choose is up to you. You could go on a full fast in which you only drink liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and the only liquid he drank was water. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study.

 

Deciding How Long

You may fast as long as you like. Most can easily fast from one to three days, but you may feel the grace to go longer, even as much as 21 to 40 days. As a church, we will fast for 14 days. Use wisdom and pray for guidance. Beginners are advised to start slow.

 

What to Expect

When you fast your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus’ example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God’s face.

 

How to End

Don’t overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid food gradually; eat small portions or snacks.

 

TYPES OF FASTS

Full Fast

Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).

 

The Daniel Fast

Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.

 

3-Day Fast

This fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.

 

Partial Fast

A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.

 

Prayer Devotional

Along with a topic to pray for everyday during the 14 days, we’ll also do a prayer devotional by Tim Keller. The bible plan is called, ‘Prayer: A 14 day devotional by Tim Keller’. You will find this plan on the ‘you version’ app on your phone (you can download it from apps), or follow it on your computer by going to https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1240-prayer-a-14-day-devotional-by-tim-keller

Choose a time of the day you will pray and read your devotional, and stick with it everyday.

 

Corporate Prayer Dates

Monday 7th and Monday 14th, 630pm-730pm @ Oasis Church

Thursday 10th and Thursday 17th, 630pm-730pm @ Oasis Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYER PLAN

 

Sunday 6th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Consecrate (devote, give over, set aside, set apart, assign, allot, allocate, reserve, commit, apply, consign, pledge, vow) yourself to God. Forgive, repent and realign your heart with God’s.

SAMPLE PRAYER: God, I give myself to you again today. I recommit that I choose to follow You all the days of my life. Set me apart! I pray the blood of Jesus over me to cover all my sins, those I know and those I don’t. I declare over my life that for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Earth is not my home, heaven is. I’ll live for you everyday, make choices that glorify you and do what you ask me to do. Take my life Lord, it’s yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

SCRIPTURE: Joshua 3:5 (whole chapter) Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.

 

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 1 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Monday 7th August

PRAYER FOCUS: People who don’t know Jesus in Cockburn and beyond.

SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 24:11 Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.

Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 2 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

 

Tuesday 8th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Presence of God over Everything we do

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 33:14-18 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. ”Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 3 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Wednesday 9th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Pray for Perth City – prosperity, health, spiritual blindness would be removed, repair the breaches in her walls, a standard of holiness to be raised

SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 29:7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

 

Ezekiel 22:30 “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 4 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Thursday 10th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Leaders of Government, City of Cockburn mayor

SCRIPTURE: Titus 3:1-2 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

 

Romans 13:6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.

 

Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 5 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Friday 11th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Oasis Church health, growth (reach people that don’t know Jesus!), financial provision and an amazing building!

SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

Romans 12:4-5 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 6 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

 

Saturday 12th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Over the senior pastors and leaders of Oasis Church including small group leaders and dream team leaders

SCRIPTURE: 1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brothers, pray for us.

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

 

Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 7 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Sunday 13th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Over the people at Oasis – marriages, families, health, blessing, favour, jobs,

SCRIPTURE: Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Exodus 23:25 “But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 8 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

 

Monday 14th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Revival for Perth, and Beyond

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father.

 

Psalm 85:6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?

 

Isaiah 64:1-4 Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.

 

Matthew 16:18-19 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

 

Matthew 6:10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 9 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Tuesday 15th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Over Oasis children/youth/primary schools/high schools in City of Cockburn and surrounds

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Matthew 19:13-15 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

 

Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 10 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

 

Wednesday 16th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Pray for the nations. Choose a current crisis in the world and pray over it.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 11 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

 

Thursday 17th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Signs, wonders, miracles, healings, supernatural encounters, powerful move of the Holy Spirit

SCRIPTURE: Acts 4:30 While you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

 

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

 

Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

 

Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs

 

Romans 8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 12 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

 

Friday 18th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Boldness to evangelise, and be obedient

SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

 

Ephesians 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

 

Acts 28:31 Proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

 

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 13 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

 

Saturday 19th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Greater Understanding of God’s Unconditional Love for us

SCRIPTURE: Romans 8:35-39 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

1 John 4:9-10 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 14 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Sunday 20th August

PRAYER FOCUS: Over you and your family, your future.

SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.

 

Psalm 115:13-14 He will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. May the Lord give you increase, you and your children!

 

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

 

PRAYER DEVOTIONAL: Day 15 of Tim Keller’s devotional

What did God say to you today?

Jesus Our Captain by Christie Blaikie

The Air Asia incident over the weekend got my attention. Seeing the video footage of people being rattled around as the plane changed course got me thinking about 2017 so far!

We started this year with clear goals and ideas about how this year would work out in our family, church, finances and health. I could not count the amount of turbulent direction course changes we have had in every single one of these areas so far!! For example, we decided to start saving for a building for our church (we were meeting in a big school) so that we could move in around a year into our own space. Before we knew it, there was a fire at Atwell College and we were moved on within 2 weeks! #uncharteredterritory We also started the year thinking we would sell our home and start buying rental properties, and that we would rent too. That quickly changed to us buying a big block to subdivide. We were gong to build side-by-side. Now it’s changed again and we are going to live in the old house at the front and build on the back, sell and then build on the front. #voyageshift So, I’ve felt like such a flake as I tell people that we are doing something different, again! So many freak waves which has made us shift course again, and again, and again.

Ewen and I were chatting this morning and he was talking about how this year has felt like he has been on a sail boat, tacking and jibing ahead, rather than sailing in a straight line! And hasn’t it been exactly like that? 2017 has been an exercise in faith and flexibility. Only last week as I was praying I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me about not being rigid in what I think should happen, but to be flexible in Him. When the plans don’t work out, or when the pain is too raw and the challenges are too hard, we become fixated on getting out of the situation and making it right (according to our own thinking!). Instead, we need to develop flexibility, and learn the unforced rhythms of grace (Matt 11:28:30). Obviously, faith is the key component in this journey. When we are all at sea, relaxing and being flexible are not usually the first things we think of! However, faith is not relying on our own methods, strengths, timing and clever strategies to pull us through, but allowing Jesus our captain to navigate the ship. We have to cooperate with Him every day so we don’t get hit by the boom, and end up in the water flailing around and being tossed to and fro (Eph 4:14).

So, after not being able to see the land clearly for sometime, I feel like it’s coming into full view. My mum in the Lord, Monie told me yesterday she felt like it was a Jude 1:1-2 season just now, and I fully agree.

 I, Jude, am a slave to Jesus Christ and brother to James, writing to those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ. Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!’

It’s all going to work out with Jesus at the helm of our ship, navigating the oceans and violent storms, the currents and prevailing winds and the calm, still waters in the doldrums where there feels as though there is no movement. Watch and see.

Psalm 107:23-32 Some of you set sail in big ships; you put to sea to do business in faraway ports. Out at sea you saw God in action, saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean: With a word he called up the wind— an ocean storm, towering waves! You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out; your hearts were stuck in your throats. You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk, you didn’t know which end was up. Then you called out to Godin your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time. He quieted the wind down to a whisper, put a muzzle on all the big waves. And you were so glad when the storm died down, and he led you safely back to harbor. So thank God for his marvelous love, for his miracle mercy to the children he loves. Lift high your praises when the people assemble, shout Hallelujah when the elders meet!

 

The Exchange – 12 steps to take before Easter

Everybody has hurts, hang-ups and habits!

The Bible clearly states “all have sinned.” It is my nature to sin, and it is yours too. None of us is untainted. Because of sin, we’ve all hurt ourselves, we’ve all hurt other people, and others have hurt us. This means each of us have things to deal with in order to live our lives the way God intended.

So this Easter, we are giving you an opportunity to take some of your hurts, hang-ups and habits and exchange them for healing, freedom and peace.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

 

  1. Identify which hurts, habits and hang-ups you’d like to deal with this Easter, and write them down. Bring the piece of paper on Easter Sunday.

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:18


 

  1. Write down the reasons you think those areas are there. Be honest with yourself.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:40


 

  1. Consecrate your life to God again. See the sample prayer below, and ask Him into all the areas of your heart.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1

 

PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you boldly in Jesus’ name. Take me as I am. I now give myself – my heart, my mind, my body, my time, talents and treasure to you. Fill me and possess me. I renounce all sins, self and Satan. Jesus, sanctify me. Cleanse me, purge me, purify me. Your will be done in my life, on earth as it is in heaven. Let me manifest a faithful spirit, a pure mind and a sickless body to your glory. Amen.

 

  1. Confess and surrender your hurts, habits and hang-ups to God. Ask Him to help you in your shortcomings. See prayer below.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9


 

PRAYER: I ask you Holy Spirit to heal these areas of my hurts, hang-ups and habits. I choose to express my feelings of hurt, frustration and negative emotions to you Lord. (Doing this will help you release your emotions). Lord Jesus Christ, I invite you into these memories, habits, hurts and hang-ups and I ask you to bring your healing and Truth. (Allow Him ample time to heal you). Break any ungodly beliefs you have about your hurts, hang-ups and habits, and swap them out for godly beliefs.

 

  1. Repent before God. (Repentance means: understand what He has done for you, and how He loves you, then because of these things, have a change of heart about sinful behaviour). Ask Him to forgive you for your hurts, hang-ups and habits. Be specific. Understand that there is nothing you need to do for God to earn His forgiveness. It is a free gift.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

 

  1. Forgive anyone who needs forgiving that are associated with your hang-ups, and make direct amends where it is possible, or appropriate. Spend some time with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to heal those places in your heart, which are hurt. Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it’s just a choice to not hold them to account for what they did any longer.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31


 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24


 

  1. Forgive yourself for letting these hurts, hang-ups and habits rob you from experiencing the fullness of life!

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead Philippians 3:13

for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:20

 

  1. Are there any members of your family who have the same hurts, hang-ups and habits? Cut off spiritual curses. See prayer below.

maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:7

 

PRAYER: I confess the sins of my ancestors, parents and my own sins of ___________. I choose to forgive and release my ancestors, as well as all others who have influenced me for these sins and curses. (Be specific). I ask you to forgive me, Lord, for these sins and for yielding to them. I receive your forgiveness. On the basis of your forgiveness, Lord, I choose to forgive myself for entering into these sins. I renounce the sins and curses of ___________. I break these powers from my life and the lives of my descendants through the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. I receive God’s freedom from these sins and the resulting curses. I receive ________________.

 

  1. Find 3-4 scriptures that directly speak to the hurt, hang up or habit that you want to exchange and speak them over your life daily. Meditate on them, and let them wash away your hurts, hang-ups and habits.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Colossians 3:16

 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8

 

  1. Find someone trustworthy (small group leader?) to admit your hurts, hang-ups and habits to and ask them to pray for you.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16


Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

 

  1. Spend time in worship, and soak in God’s presence. Let Him heal you and wash over you. You could try Hillsong, Elevation worship, Bethel Music or Julie True has great soaking music.

Rather, worship the Lord your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.” 2 Kings 17:39

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

 

  1. Put on the Armor of God. Use this prayer as an outline to help you prepare for each day, while you are working through hurts, hang-ups and habits. First, put on the Armor of God, and then ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom, guide your steps, and help you stand and fight against the enemy daily.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17

 

The Helmet of Salvation

Thank You, Lord, for my salvation. I receive it in a new and fresh way from You and I declare that nothing can separate me now from the

love of Christ and the place I shall ever have in Your kingdom.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

Lord, I wear Your righteousness today against all condemnation and corruption. Fit me with Your holiness and purity—defend me from all assaults against my heart.

The Belt of Truth

Lord, I put on the belt of truth. I choose a lifestyle of honesty and integrity. Show me the truths I so desperately need today. Expose the lies that I am not even aware that I believe.

The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

I choose to live for the gospel at all times. Show me how I can be a part of what You are doing on the earth. Keep me focused on the path You want me to walk.

The Shield of Faith

Jesus, I lift the confidence that You are good against every lie and every assault of the enemy. You have good in store for me. Nothing is coming today that can overcome me because You are with me.

The Sword of the Spirit

Holy Spirit, show me specifically today the truths of the Word of God that I will need to counter the snares of the enemy. Bring them to mind throughout the day.

 

 

Summer Book Club – Part 2 of Present Over Perfect

UNFLASHY, UNSPECTACULAR, GOOD

In this session, you’ll be encouraged to bring before God all of your observations, assessments and questions about what to keep and what to shed, as it relates to your current endeavors, obligations, and pursuits – and to do so boldly, courageously with open hands, and an open heart.

“Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for resting your body and soul. And part of being an adult is learning to meet your own needs, because when it comes down to it, with a few exceptions, no one else is going to do it for you”. Shauna.

Questions for discussion:

  1. The five disciplines that have most helped Shauna during this four year period of remaking her life from the inside-out appear below, along with a brief definition of each. Which of the five feel most relevant or personally compelling to you during this season of your life, and why? Check the ones that apply, and explain your decision to your group.

 

à Silence/solitude [The state of being contentedly alone]

à Contemplative/centering prayer [Focusing intently on and silently celebrating a singular attribute of God’s, such as His graciousness, holiness, or all sufficiency, while in a mind set and heart posture of prayer]

à Rest/Sabbath [Ceasing from all labours for a day, according to God’s original commandment]

à Lectio divinia [literally “divine reading”; the practice of reading and meditating on a passage of Scripture in order to deepen one’s intimacy with God and enrich one’s knowledge of his word]

à Spiritual direction/counselling [Communicating with another person (or people) as a means for furthering one’s spiritual growth]

 

  1. Read 2 Corinthians 7:1. What fears, obligations, obstacles or other constraints present in your life today threaten to keep you from making “a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts” you, as the verse suggests?
  2. Blanket the earth, you tell the snow

Soak the countryside you instruct the rain

And, make your mark, you tell me, you tell us all.

Not a self made mark, mind you.

But a God-made one.

The God who thunders wondrously,

Who acts so mightily that our minds are blown,

This God is the one who wants to work in us, through us, around us,

Leaving our mark – leaving His mark – on this world.
What mark does God hope to leave on the world through you – and through us all?

  1. Are there any other spiritual disciplines that you have learnt that help you on your Christian journey?

 

  1. Seven solid spiritually directed questions to ask yourself and discuss. Maybe choose a couple.
  • What important decisions are you weighing these days? How would your choices differ if you made them based on fear versus faith?
  • How would you assess your current spiritual growth? How would your spouse/parents/closest friends/ministry partners/etc assess where you are spiritually?
  • What is a single word that best describes your present emotional state? How does speaking out that word make you feel?
  • What self care measures have you been taking lately, and how are those practices fueling you and fulfilling you?
  • How would you describe your prayer practices this week/month/year? Does your vision for prayer life match your present reality, or does a gap exist?
  • When did you last celebrate a spiritual victory of some sort? What progress had you made?
  • What is bringing you peace these days?

 

Solo work

For all the energized thrills of undisciplined living – the adventures! The risk taking! The spontaneity! The rush! – progress always has discipline to thank. For example, take weight regulation, both those who are overweight and those who are underweight don’t take off or put on kilos without disciplining themselves when it comes to exercise and food. It’s true for friendships, financial progress, psychological progress, rehabilitative progress, and spiritual progress. We grow toward God when we move toward Him, one small step at a time.

 

Solitude

  • Select a 20 minute slot, calendar it.
  • Find a quiet place, detach from people and your phone; sit down in a comfortable position; take a few deep breaths, sink into the quiet surroundings, coming down and calming down each moment that passes.
  • Record your thoughts

Centering Prayer

  • Whatever you choose to think on – a word, an attribute, an icon or a name (some following) – commit to sit for 20 minutes and allow God to prompt you toward wholeness and holiness.
  • Record your experiences on centering prayer

Sabbath Keeping

  • A day for rest, a day for play. A gift.
  • Clear your schedule for one day this week, and let that calendar entry stay totally blank. We are not how hard we work.
  • After the day, reflect on the experience of the Sabbath.

Lectio Divina

  • Lectio divina dates back to the third century and was established as a monastic practice in the 6th century by St Benedict.
  • The four parts include reading, meditating, prayer, and contemplation.
  • Carve out 20 minutes, take a journal and a pen and a secluded place (toilet!?). Select a passage (some below), chew away!
  • Reflect

 

LIVING THE LOVE

We’ve made it at last – through the pain and through the dissection of the roles that cause the pain, and through the tangle of yeses and nos that reinforce the role that cause the pain, and through the discovery of the disciplines that guide us into a new space, a new reality, a life marked not be other people’s expectations of who we are and what we should do, but rather of prizing God’s opinion – and His opinion alone. Now we’ve reached the fifth and final session of the series, to a session that is all about love. Truly anything healthy and strong, anything laudable and excellent has at its centre a core of love. And regardless of the nuances that define the life you desire, surely it includes at least some of those descriptors – whole, not fragments; holy, not profane; healthy, not diseased; strong instead of brittle; excellent, not tacky or cheap. In session 5, we will explore the love that is available to you, the love that can remake you, the love that ironically has been there all along.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Describe a time when you felt deeply loved. What were the circumstances, who was involved, and why was the experience so impactful to you?

 

  1. Reflect on these thoughts together. “Without a soul, we are machines. Without a soul, we are robots. We can perform duties, but we can’t feel and create and express and connect”. During this season of life, what does soul care look like for you? Does your self assessment land you more on the end of the spectrum that considers soul care as optional, or on the end where it is valued as a fundamental part of loving a connected life?

 

  1. What attitudes, expectations, neuroses, habits, responsibilities, obligations, commitments, or relationships do you think you would have to upend in order to care more faithfully and purposefully for your soul? How willing would you be to upend them, if holiness and beauty were guaranteed by-products of your hard work? What, if anything, stands in your way?

 

  1. How do you respond to Shauna’s assertion that God’s love – the diamond necklace that we’ve frantically been searching for – has been here before us, around us inside of us, all along? What does the decision to embrace that love have to do with the health and wholeness of our soul?

 

  1. For Shauna’s son Henry, what he wanted more of was “this”, which in the moment meant more quality family time at home, just hanging out, playing with lego. What is the “more this” you find yourself longing for? That thing that might just right-size your life and lighten it to the point where you could comfortably carry it for once?

Solo work

The chasm only gets bridged by love, God’ love. God’s great love for us. It’s the only way to get from here to there. The chasm doesn’t get bridged by buffers, or by striving, or by really hard work. No, this bridge is steadied by hand-holding and song-singing, by whispered encouragement and long boat rides, by slow cooked meals and conversation that isn’t rushed. This is the love. This is where the soul feels its worth, here in the hands of God.

 

For Shauna, the journey toward love involved not a complete rebuilding of her life, but rather a return to the life she once knew. It involved reclaiming vital things she’d left behind – whimsy, yes, but also self-forgiveness, relational fortitude, deep faith.

For you, what would such a reclamation project involve? Maybe you were totally alive in your faith in high school; or you were selfless and compassionate and serving in missions. You might look back on early childhood and remember all the Scripture verse you committed to memory? Or else you could be one who was generally laid back, never pushing, never rushing, never uptight… and yet across these last ten years or so, where did that free spirit go?

On the path below, note the dates (or general time frames) of key seasons of your life and descriptions that fit you at that time.

 

Present Over Perfect – Summer Book Club Session 1

Spend some time eating, and talking about the book – favourite quotes and chapters.

PART 1 – PAIN POINTS

Let’s explore the inner battles we all face and emboldens us with the reminder that the selfish structures we’ve built can be rebuilt, the harmful systems we’ve shaped can be reshaped, and the fruitless deeds we’ve done can be redone. That is, if we’re willing to change.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Shauna’s watershed moment was when she realized she had created her own perfect life that was driving her crazy, and that chronic busyness that surrounded her was her own doing. She described it two sins: gluttony and pride.

‘I want to taste and experience absolutely everything, and I want to be perceived as wildly competent.’ p.19

If you had to name the swirl of dirt, dust and disorder that tends to follow you around, what would you call it? Constant drama, maybe, or chronic busyness? The drive toward perfectionism, perhaps, or the need to control?

  1. There’s no there, there.

Often we say, when there is enough money in the bank, or I’ve hit that magic number on the scales, or when my kids overcome this hurdle, I’ll find rest. This is a lie! There is no there, there. The there is here and now – and we must learn to rest in the journey. What lies are you believing about the there, there?

 

Solo work:

“It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time:

  • repetitive, loveless, cheap sex
  • a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage
  • frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness
  • trinket gods
  • magic-show religion
  • paranoid lonliness
  • cutthroat competition
  • all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants
  • a brutal temper
  • an impotence to love and be loved
  • divided homes and divided lives
  • small minded and lopsided pursuits
  • the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival
  • uncontrolled and cuncontrollbale addictions
  • ugly parodies of community

Galatians 5:19-21

When we realize that the life we have created for ourselves is far from the life we dream of, the gap between the two, as depicted below can cause us to despair. How will we ever get from here to there? How can we close the gap?

 

 

These questions can seem unanswerable, and in our frustration and a deep seated sense of futility, we turn to buffers such as busyness, overworking, striving and straining, working out obsessively, shopping compulsively, using harmful drugs, overindulging in alcohol, engaging in illicit sex, blowing money on gambling, and more – all in an attempt to build that coveted bridge. Have you seen this dynamic play out in your own life? What did you hope the preferred buffers would provide for you, and how well were they able to deliver on the promises they made?

How would you describe the life you’re living now, the one that may need an overhaul, a rebuilding, right from the ground up? Circle any of the adjectives below that apply to the characteristics you’d like to leave behind (add your own if you wish).

Burdened            anxious            joyless            competitive

Tough                        cutthroat            hyper focused            fearful

Lonely            restless            loveless            heavy

Regretful             isolated            efficient            exhausted

Stuffed            effective            hard                        divided

Perfect            proud                        hurried            sad

Single-minded            brutal                        busy            task-oriented

Materialistic            stressful            frenzied            undisciplined

Overdisciplined            reactive            exasperating

Impersonal            unchecked            frustrating            addictive

Compulsive            flabby            friendless            erratic

Productive            hopeless            ugly            scattered            selfish

Hustling            disheveled            multi-tasking            structured

Rage-filled            wearying            ____________            _________

 

  • Read Titus 3:3-8
  • Turn it into a prayer. A) Thank you for your word, I am reminded that… B) What this tells me about You is… C) As it relates to me and my struggle… D) Please give me….

 

PART 2 – THE ROLES WE PLAY

Let’s peel back the next layer and ask, ‘why am I doing this?’ What is it in me that keeps things moving so breakneck fast, that believes achieving will keep me safe, that sacrifices my own health and happiness so that people who aren’t me will think I’m doing a good job, in some vague, moving target kind of way? p.58

 

Questions for discussion:

  1. Name a fictional TV or movie character who (at least in part) reminds you of yourself, and explain why.

 

  1. Read page 40. What role would you say you play – in your family of origin, in your relationships, at work, in your circle of friends, and so forth? If you were asked to assign descriptions to it, what words would you use? Here’s some help. Circle the words that apply, and discuss.

The dependable one            The workhorse            The cynic

The shock absorber            The pessimist            The naysayer

The cautious one The decision maker The spontaneous one

The caregiver            The boss            The life of the party

The relational glue            The ideas person            The pusher

The social planner            The control freak            The negotiator

The people pleaser            The available one            The multitasker

The funny one            The jokester            The others-centred one

The topper            The sports buff            The best mum

The skeptic            The trivia hound            The eternal optimist

The know-it-all            The creative one            The talker

The health nut            The inexhaustible            The holy one

The deep one The one in the know The self deprecating

The encouraging one            The peacemaker            The giver

The one who has it altogether The quiet one The questioner

 

These roles can have benefits, they can also have negative effects. What sacrifices fo you find yourself making to play the role you find yourself playing?

 

If you could reclaim one lost trait, one thing that used to be true of you, but you dropped it along the way, what would it be and why? Here’s a list to help, or come up with your own.

 

 

Solo work:

Your solo work this time, involves looking closely at the key role you’ve been holding onto, and mustering the resolve to release your grip. Within each of the following categories, describe the message involving what you were meant to say, think and respond.

Messaging from parents:

Messaging from siblings:

Messaging from friends:

Messaging from church:

Messaging from teachers or coaches:

Messaging from bosses or colleagues:

Other messages I received:

 

God wants to play all the roles. All the pushing and producing, straining and striving, all the contrivances and role-playing and all the hustle and bustle and forcing and drive – to all of it, God says, “Here, I’ll take that – really, I never meant for you to carry that load.”

Picture yourself handing him the script – every line, every stage cue, every scene – and then picture yourself weightless and free. Ready for a baby step today? If you’re the control freak, let things unfold unorchestrated, just for this day, or this week. If you’re the chronic overworker, pick up a magazine and pop down on the couch. If you’re the relational glue in your family, forego the hyper communicative phone calls just once. If you’re the health nut, try a donut. Loosen your grip on the role you’ve been playing long enough to toy with allowing a new narrative to step in. You might be shocked to learn the whole world will keep spinning, and that you’re a whole lot happier in the end.

What’s one baby step you can take today, along these lines?

PART 3 – YES, AND NO

For all its sparkly personality, “yes” only tells half the story, because you can’t have yes without no. Each time you offer a yes, you by definition also offer a no. Or a series of nos, depending on how consequential that yes proves to be. Let’s delve into the yeses and nos that dictate our actions, which determine the pace of – and the peace in – our lives.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Are you by nature more of a spontaneous/adventuresome/eager “yes” person or more of a well ordered/circumspect/sober-minded “no” person? What predispositions, priorities, or experiences have shaped you in this regard?

 

  1. Read the last paragraph on pg 44, onto midway through pg 55 and on the story of the chairs.

Look over the themes and realities of your life today and assess how many chairs are currently set up. A chair could be volunteering at your child’s school, or being the one your friends can call on whenever they need a hot meal, a ride, childcare, or a listening ear; or the worker who may stay up late to make sure the project is completed; or serving at the church’s events. How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the number of chairs you see set up? What thoughts come to mind as you consider the fact that you can add or take down chairs at will?

Often, chairs feel nonnegotiable – keeping your house well ordered and clean, etc, etc but if you were given permission to remove one chair from your life, which would you remove and why?

  1. Read this poem together.

Yes.

And no.

Two game-changing, path paving words.

Yes to this, no to that, and before you know it, the course it set.

The course marked by contentment and calm, or else by chaos and craving.

By pushing and hustling and stress.

“Come to me, you who are weary,” God says.

“Come to me and I’ll give you rest.”

I want that rest, but who has time?

My yeses have left me too busy.

Too busy being… busy.

Rest.

The word alone makes me ache.

I’m tired at a level that sleep on it’s own can’t address.

I’m soul tired.

Something is off in my soul.

The something comes down to yes, and also no.

Those yes-yes-yeses, they were rampant,

And consequential like you can’t believe.

Those yeses I so quickly said made me say no, and no and no.

No to the things that matter,

No to family,

No to soul-care.

No to rest and groundedness,

No to connection and peace.

I don’t want to be a “no” person! Life is too short for no.

And yet in this season, I see no for what it is:

An anchor, a life preserver, a friend.

 

Read page 116 and discuss with your group on ‘should’ being a warning sign.

 

Solo work:

Take a look at the graphic below. Then, on the chart that follows, begin to map your current relational connections. Which areas have been adversely impacted by your yeses?

 

First-circle connections (God + closest confidants)Second circle connections (extended family and close friends)Third circle connections (people you know, but not well)Fourth circle connections (acquaintances. Friends of friends)
    
    
    
    
    

 

 

The Post

THE POST

By Sally Samuel-Olver

 

For me, the final days of February 2016 were daunting. Overwhelm, disorder, panic, frustration consumed me. Caring for my family, caring for myself, caring about life felt insurmountable.

For days this weight burdened me. It convinced me that I was useless, so I prayed often. I was praying intently for clarity and absolution, when I heard God say “Sally, I don’t need you to be happy, I don’t need you to be sad. I don’t need you to be a saint, a puritan, or ethereal. What I do need you to be is authentic. I want to know what is happening in the depths of your soul right now, so I can begin to heal you.”

Evidently, I heard what I wanted to hear and conveniently misinterpreted the Lord’s request for my authenticity, as a green light to spray my pent up grievances all over social media. I proceeded to compose a righteous rant, in an effort to make sense, and be released of the oppressive sadness I was carrying. I justified my aggressive attack as an attempt to be ‘real’, to be ‘exposed’, ‘to be ‘vulnerable’. No. If I’m going to be ‘real’, the motive behind ‘the post’, was to glean attention and validation from my fellow social media ‘friends’ and ‘followers’.

For a brief moment, I felt liberated. I was exonerated by my five minutes of ‘raw honesty’. It seemed that so many others exploited the opportunity to project uncouth thoughts and opinions on social media. Why couldn’t I? It’s not like I did it often.

The next morning when I was connecting with God, I heard him bluntly ask “So what was all that about?!” I replied “Dear Lord Jesus, I just longed to be free for a moment. Free to speak my mind, free to speak the truth, free to articulate my true feelings with complete abandon”. God replied “An eloquent response, not convinced! What is going on??!!” God already knew the answer to His question, so feeding him another guised explanation was futile. God wanted me to discover the true answers to His questions for myself. I took a moment and stilled my mind. I searched for the true answers within my heart, because this time, I was going to answer God sincerely.

After a few moments, of uncomfortable reflection, the answers to His questions came screaming to the forefront of my mind and I prayed, “Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive me and thank you for helping me see the truth. ‘The post’ was an unconscious cry for attention. Lord, I was feeling so down and so lonely. I longed for approval, I longed for connection, I longed to be heard”.

I heard God say “NOW we’re getting somewhere! Let’s start from there’. I knew I was hearing the voice of God, because only God can communicate to me with equal parts authority and compassion. He said, “Sal, couple of things. First and foremost, I love you. I loved you before ‘the post’, I love you after ‘the post’ – my love for ALL my children is unconditional and everlasting and that includes YOU!”

He went on to say “Secondly, in the future, if you need attention, YOU COME TO ME! If you need validation, YOU COME TO ME! If you need connection, YOU COME TO ME! If EVER you need to be heard, YOU! COME! TO! ME!”. In this moment, I felt the true exoneration and validation I was searching for.

In the spirit of being truthful, I balled like a baby. Tears still come to my eyes when I replay these words in my mind. I took a wealth of understanding from this encounter. I learned, that NOTHING has the power to deliver us, like the love and grace of our Lord – No person, no item, no substance, no title and certainly no post. Jesus wants to be the One who lifts my spirits and make me whole, and I am saying YES! I am humbly receiving His Divine blessing with an open heart and deep thanksgiving.

I have now made a promise to Jesus. When I feel compelled to ‘comment’, ‘tag’ or ‘like’ uploads on social media, from now on, before hitting ‘post’ or ‘send’, I promise to examine my motives for doing so, and will discern if the action is coming from a place of love, or a place of emotional deficit.

“Thank you Jesus. Thank you for loving me SO much, that you would invest such an important and valuable lesson in me before it was too late. Eternal love and praise to you Dear God. ALL the glory be to you. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen”

 

A Fresh Start – Prayer Book for 2016 Fast

A Fresh Start

Starting the year off with less of the old and more of God.

Oasis is a church founded on prayer. We believe that wherever we go, we must first go there in prayer. We believe prayer and reading the Bible can’t just be routine; they’re meant to be the heartbeat of your life, your daily connection to God. But developing this discipline won’t happen by accident. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says to “take time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.” No one can go to the gym for you and no one can grow your prayer life for you.

 

This book is designed to help you start your year strong by learning to pray with purpose, joining your prayers with God’s word so that you’re equipped for any season or situation you may face. On each page you will find a theme paired with a story from the Bible and a promise from God. Take time to read each set of scriptures, reflect on how they relate to the theme and connect with each other, and allow God to speak to you as you do so. Our hope is that through doing this you will discover the great joy that comes from living a fresh and clean life, as you allow Jesus to shape and direct your life.

 

Pastors Ewen + Christie Blaikie

 

DAY 01

FORGIVENESS

PRAYER Father, Forgive Them: The Cry Of Jesus Luke 23:26-34


PROMISE
1 John 1:9

 

NOTES

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DAY 02

SALVATION

 

PRAYER Jesus, Remember Me: The Criminal On The Cross Luke 23:39-43

 

PROMISE Hebrews 11:1-12

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 03

MERCY

 

PRAYER God, Have Mercy On Me, A Sinner: The Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14

 

PROMISE Ephesians 2:4-10

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 04

FAITH

PRAYER Increase Our Faith: The Disciples & A Demon Possessed Boy Matthew 17:14-20

 

PROMISE John 3:16

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

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DAY 05

TEMPTATION

 

PRAYER It Is Written: Jesus Resists Temptation Luke 4:1-13

 

PROMISE 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

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DAY 06

FEAR

 

PRAYER Save Us: The Disciples In The Storm Matthew 8:23-27

 

PROMISE Isaiah 43:1-2

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

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DAY 07

HELP

 

PRAYER Deliver Us: Hezekiah Seeks The Lord 2 Kings 19:15-19

 

PROMISE Psalm 46:1-3

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 08

PROTECTION

 

PRAYER Help Us: Relying On God 2 Chronicles 14:9-12

 

PROMISE Psalm 91:1-2

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 09

COMFORT

 

PRAYER The Lord Is My Rock: The Prayer Of David Psalm 18

 

PROMISE Psalm 34:17-18

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 10

PEACE

 

PRAYER Our Eyes Are On You: Finding Peace In God 2 Chronicles 20:1-12

 

PROMISE Philippians 4:6-7

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 11

WISDOM


PRAYER
Give Me Wisdom: The Prayer Of Solomon 2 Chronicles 1:7-10

 

PROMISE James 1:5

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 12

CONFIDENCE

 

PRAYER Go In Confidence: Gideon’s Calling Judges 6:11-17

 

PROMISE Philippians 1:6

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 13

STRENGTH

 

PRAYER Give Me Strength: Overcoming The Odds Exodus 17:8-13

 

PROMISE Isaiah 41:10

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 14

ANSWERED PRAYER

 

PRAYER Answer Me: Elijah On Mount Carmel 1 Kings 18:36-39

 

PROMISE Matthew 7:7-8

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 15
GOD’S GOODNESS

PRAYER In The Fire: Blessing Through Trail Daniel 3:16-30

 

PROMISE Romans 8:28

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 16

PROVISION

 

PRAYER Grant Me Favor: Nehemiah Returns To Jerusalem Nehemiah 1:1-11

 

PROMISE Philippians 4:19

 

NOTES

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

 

DAY 17

BLESSINGS

 

PRAYER Expand My Influence: The Prayer Of Jabez 1 Chronicles 4:10

 

PROMISE Psalm 1:1-3

 

NOTES

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DAY 18

GUIDANCE

 

PRAYER God Lead Us: I Know You By Name Exodus 33:12-17

 

PROMISE Proverbs 3:5-6

 

NOTES

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DAY 19

PROMOTION

 

PRAYER God’s Timing: A Story From The Life Of Joseph Genesis 50:14-21

 

PROMISE 2 Peter 1:6

 

NOTES

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DAY 20

REVIVAL

 

PRAYER Give Me This Water: The Story Of The Samaritan Woman John 4:1-42

 

PROMISE Isaiah 55

 

NOTES

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DAY 21

FUTURE

 

PRAYER God With Us: Do Not Fear Numbers 14:1-9

 

PROMISE Jeremiah 29:11

 

NOTES

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Praying and Fasting 2016

PRAYER AND FASTING SEASON 2016

Monday 1st February – Sunday 14th February

 

Prayer and fasting season is an incredible time to join together with the rest of our community and seek God’s face for our lives, our families and our church for 2016. It’s without a doubt, the most powerful way to start your year – it sets up the rest of the year with good fruit and momentum.

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

 

It is a critical time, and should be taken seriously. EVERYTHING rises and falls on prayer, and we want an amazing year for you all, and Oasis!

 

And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’. Mark 11:17a

 

FASTING BASICS

 

Why Fast?

  • Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, “when you fast,” not if you fast.
  • Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.
  • Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.”
  • Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.
  • The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you!
  • Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.
  • Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.

 

How to Begin

Start with a clear goal. Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need direction, healing, restoration of marriage or family issues? Are you facing financial difficulties? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Pray daily and read the Bible.

 

 

Preparing Spiritually


Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25Luke 11:417:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).

 

Deciding What to Fast


The type of fasting you choose is up to you. You could go on a full fast in which you only drink liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel, who abstained from sweets and meats, and the only liquid he drank was water. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study. See below for more examples.

 

What to Expect


When you fast your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pains. Limit your activity and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results. You are following Jesus’ example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God’s face.

 

How to End

Don’t overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid food gradually; eat small portions or snacks.

 

TYPES OF FASTS

Full Fast


Drink only liquids (you establish the number of days).

 

The Daniel Fast


Eat no meat, no sweets and no bread. Drink water and juice. Eat fruits and vegetables.

 

3-Day Fast


This fast can be a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food.

 

Partial Fast


A partial fast is from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm or from sun up to sundown. You can select from three types of fasting —a Full Fast, Daniel Fast or give up at least one item of food. Children may like to join in, and give up sugar, or lollies, or even bakery items.

 

Examples of Fasting in the Bible

 

Old Testament

  • Moses fasted 40 days on behalf of Israel’s sin: Deuteronomy 9:9, 18, 25-29; 10:10.
  • David fasted and mourned the death of Saul: 2 Samuel 1:12.
  • David fasted and mourned the death of Abner: 2 Samuel 3:35.
  • David fasted and mourned the death of his child: 2 Samuel 12:16.
  • Elijah fasted 40 days after fleeing from Jezebel: 1 Kings 19:7-18.
  • Ahab fasted and humbled himself before God: 1 Kings 21:27-29.
  • Darius fasted in concern for Daniel: Daniel 6:18-24.
  • Daniel fasted on behalf of Judah’s sin while reading Jeremiah’s prophecy: Daniel 9:1-19.
  • Daniel fasted regarding a mysterious vision from God: Daniel 10:3-13.
  • Esther fasted on behalf of her people: Esther 4:13-16.
  • Ezra fasted and wept for the sins of the returning remnant: Ezra 10:6-17.
  • Nehemiah fasted and mourned over the broken walls of Jerusalem: Nehemiah 1:4-2:10.
  • The people of Ninevah fasted after hearing the message of Jonah: Jonah

 

New Testament

  • Anna fasted for the redemption of Jerusalem through the coming Messiah: Luke 2:37.
  • Jesus fasted 40 days before his temptation and the beginning of his ministry: Matthew 4:1-11.
  • The disciples of John the Baptist fasted: Matthew 9:14-15.
  • The elders in Antioch fasted before sending off Paul and Barnabas: Acts 13:1-5.
  • Cornelius fasted and sought God’s plan of salvation: Acts 10:30.
  • Paul fasted three day fast after his Damascus Road encounter: Acts 9:9.
  • Paul fasted 14 days while at sea on a sinking ship: Acts 27:33-34.

 

 

Grow

When I get time and space, I like to reflect and think. I have been thinking on 2015, and without a doubt it’s been the most stretching and busy season of our lives: moving from our family home, starting a church, balancing church with family life, and part time jobs.

Now that I am thinking, I can see the spiritual growth that I have undergone this year. I used to think spiritual growth was about encountering God, and becoming more, well, ‘spiritual’. Maybe I thought I’d see angels and have fiery God encounters and I would be able to prophesy over people in the street… I no longer think this way. I can see now, that spiritual growth, is more about becoming more like Jesus, which is oxy-moronic anyway, as ‘growth’ means ‘decrease’ in the kingdom of God. More of Him, less of me. Less of my money, less of my will, less of my TIME, less of my choices, less of my options, less offense, less freedom even…. Much less. Yet, in the less, I have become more. I’ve been stretched beyond my wildest dreams, I’ve been stretched to lead, I’ve been stretched to love, I’ve been stretched to be humble, stretched to be fully reliant on Him. Just when I thought I couldn’t handle one more thing… there it is again.

It’s not good to save people from hard things. Our natural human instinct is to save people from pain, or hard situations. If someone had saved me from this year, I would not have grown. I would have missed the opportunity to become more like Jesus – to love more, have more character, develop more spiritual fruit, and depend on Him more than ever. Empathise with people, love them well and cheer them on, but don’t rescue them from hard things! And, don’t empower them to escape – it’s the only thing that grows us. Staying in it, facing it head on and owning it. People need to feel the full weight and gravity of their circumstance so they can empower change in their own lives!

It could probably be called the ‘law of selflessness’. The more intrinsically we allow God to push us to the end of ourselves, the more He is able to move in us, through us and to others. Sometimes we settle in the land of selfish (I’ve definitely been there before!). We like to have our cake, and eat it too (I love cake). We sit just where we feel like we are Christian-enough, but don’t ever let God challenge us to give up more self, for the more of God. How will we ever grow and do great things sitting on the fence of ‘just enough’? Great people do great things. Great in the sense of selfless things. They make their lives count for something bigger than just themselves. It takes bravery, heartache at times, loss of personal time, steadfastness, confronting fears and rejection (and so much more!), but only those people get to taste the glory of growth and greatness.

Here’s some ideas; attend prayer meetings, start a small group, get baptized, read the bible in a year (you version), raise the next generation by becoming a kid’s or youth worker, develop your relationship with God and start more dialogue with Him, serve more/give more: time, money or resource, mentor someone, be mentored by someone, tell more people about Jesus, pray for people more, give up your addictions and crutches (ie, take a year without alcohol), do some bible study or a ministry course, attend alpha, etc, etc. The opportunities for growth and greatness are knocking on your front door.

Now to change tack slightly…

Every year for at least 10 years, I have sat with the Holy Spirit through December and January and allowed Him to wash over me and highlight ONE thing to me each year that we should work on, pray for or dream on. Some of the things I remember we (the Holy Spirit and me!) have spent a year on are; learning to love people better (that was a big year J), learning to become more like Mary and less like Martha, overcoming fear, last year was ‘promises, people and places’. This year was BRAVERY and courage.

When we meditate with Him, He takes us through a well thought out road of encounter that brings about change (and thus, don’t rescue people from hard things – it could be the result of a prayer prayed). If New Year’s resolutions feel hard and powerless, try just one thing (even one word), and team up with the Holy Spirit; He knows what you need. Then reflect throughout the year and watch your life grow.

 

 

Are you dreaming big for 2016?

Are you dreaming big for 2016?

I trust that you have all had a wonderful Christmas time with your loved ones. For us that has been time together with family, opening presents, swimming in the pool with the kids, and of course too much good food!

Christmas and holidays can be a great time to relax and take stock of the year that’s been. I’ve also found it very helpful, (before I relax too much!) to scan the horizon of the year ahead and start to dream about what’s in store.

God speaks to us through our dreams and our visions. They are the things that keep us moving forward. If we don’t have any, we die! Proverbs says “without vision, the people perish.” If we are willing to just take the year as it comes, then life is going to get in the way of God’s plan for us. We’re just going to be reacting to problems as they arise, holding ground at best. We could even fall back into old habits without realising it.

We need to start the year out with a big dream!

God gave Abraham in the Bible a big dream. He said, “I am going to give you so many children, they’ll be like the stars in the sky.” What an awesome promise! But Abraham and his wife Sarah were old, and they had no children. Abraham could have taken stock of his inventory and thought, “that’s never going to happen!” “Maybe God’s promise to me was nothing more than that left-over hummus I ate last night!”

It was going to take real, staunch faith for Abraham to believe God even though everything he saw around him didn’t stack up. But Abraham did believe, and in Hebrews the writer says that it was “credited to him as righteousness.” Abraham and Sarah did have a son in their old age, Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob, who God gave the name Israel, and the rest – as they say- is history.

So what’s your dream? What has God put in your heart that seems a bit crazy? Impossible even? I want to encourage you to dream big for next year. Don’t hold back! Allow the Holy Spirit to breathe his thoughts into your hearts and minds. I can guarantee he’ll give you some crazy, impossible ideas! He wants to partner with you to achieve great things, just like he partnered with Abraham all those years ago.

Maybe it’s a dream for a new job, or a career, or a house. Maybe it’s a dream for something creative – to write something that will encourage others, or to write a song, or even to start a business. Maybe it’s simply the dream to break an addiction! God has something big in store for you.

I am dreaming big dreams for Oasis Church this year! I am looking forward to seeing us grow in number, with new families connecting and finding life. I’m dreaming of our church community bringing family and friends to church to see what all the fuss is about! I’m dreaming about more people getting baptised and committing their lives to Jesus. I’m dreaming of our kids’ church growing exponentially, and many primary-aged children discovering the joy of knowing their saviour. I’m dreaming for our youth as we launch out, connecting with teenagers at Atwell College, and bringing young people to faith in the church. I’m dreaming of a thriving small group culture, with people able to connect with one another as a spiritual family. I’m dreaming of a church always growing beyond its borders.

Sound impossible? Then we’re on the right track! Dream big, partner with the Holy Spirit and watch him do a miracle through you!