North Way Christian Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA

Week 5 – Devotional 2

READ Scripture: Matthew 6:16-18

Fasting is viewed very differently by different people and groups. Some ignore the practice as if it didn’t exist. Others develop cookbooks and products to make money off trendy types of fasts. In today’s passage, Jesus doesn’t spell out the nature, details, or motivations of this practice. But he makes it clear that fasting is something between us and God, even going so far as to suggest a person hide the fact that they’re fasting if they’re tempted to “show off” to others. Maybe it’s time for us to unlearn whatever we thought we knew about fasting and to consider how we can approach this discipline with a fresh perspective.

REFLECT

Have you ever fasted? If so, describe your fasting experiences, particularly in terms of your encounters with God. If not, what has prevented you from taking part in a fast?

What is your understanding of the spiritual purpose and benefit of practicing a fast?

RESPOND

In this weekend’s sermon, we were challenged to engage in a faith-stretching fast this week. Decide what that will look like for you and share your plan with someone who will pray for you this week.

Download Week 5 Devotional.

Week 5 – Devotional 3

READ Scripture: Matthew 7:7-11

Have you ever forgotten to whom you’re praying? This may sound crazy, but think back to the prayers you have offered before meals. Is it possible that some prayers like this become so automatic or mechanical that we forget what we’re really doing? Every time you pray, you are communicating with the God who created the universe, formed your personality, and gave up his only Son for your sins. In today’s passage, Jesus helps us remember who we’re talking to in prayer: a good Father who knows what we need even more than we do. He may not always give us what we want or answer when we want him to, but we can rest in his goodness.

REFLECT

Describe your understanding of who God is. Include a list of adjectives you would use to describe God.

In what ways does your picture of God fluctuate as the circumstances of your life vary between good and bad?

RESPOND

Set aside time today or tomorrow to simply praise God for the qualities you listed above.

Download Week 5 Devotional.