The 2030 Calling is an invitation to trust God together. We long to see him fulfill his mission as we abide in Jesus, and he in us. The posture of abiding is fundamentally humble and dependent, like a branch abiding in the vine. In his Upper Room Discourse (John 13–17), Jesus teaches his disciples how he designed his relationship with them to be one of intimate dependence. At Staff Conference 20 (SC20), we will pursue that same intimacy with Jesus as we humble ourselves through fasting and praying together. This day will include a morning session of prayer together, spaces to respond and reflect individually as we fast over lunch, and an afternoon session of prayer and response together.
[If you are unable to fast from food, please consider engaging the Prayer and Fasting Day by fasting from something else. Some other fasting examples we might suggest: social media, caffeine, sugar, cellphone usage, negative self-talk, or complaining. In these cases, SC20 will cover your lunch for that day. Use your p-card and submit the expense in Workday. Please keep within the $20 lunch stipend limit.]
Why pray and fast at SC20?
When we see prayers for revival in Scripture, as in Psalm 85 or Isaiah 64, the people cry out to God. They lament and grieve the death and decay of their own souls, relationships, and the world around them. They express their longing for the Lord to bring life, where there once was death.
So, too, as we long for revival, God calls us to honestly grieve over death and sin, to lament, confess, and repent together. He promises to meet us when we do. Prayer and fasting are two tangible expressions of lament, confession, and repentance.
Though we all are likely used to prayer as a means of connecting with God, fasting may not be such a familiar, regularly practiced spiritual discipline. It is one way we can humble ourselves and express our reliance on God to bring new life. When we fast—from food, technology, speaking, or other resources—we recognize our poverty and dependence on God. We also acknowledge the ways in which our passions and appetites can control our lives. Fasting lays down resources of comfort and control in order to more purely see God. As we humble ourselves before him and long for him to bring revival, we expect that God will meet us with forgiveness and mercy, empowering us for his mission.
As we cry out to God, we must not confuse our longing for revival with a longing for success. We long for an encounter with God himself, and we long for him to break through with his kingdom.
What can I expect as we pray together?
Lament expresses to God and to one another the grief of our hearts over the brokenness in and around us. Lament is a movement of the heart.
Repentance lays down idols and turns toward God, desiring to think and act in line with his righteousness, justice, and redemption. Repentance is a movement of the will, moving toward action.
Lament and repentance are both individual and communal. We identify with the pain and sin of our own hearts as well as those of our community. When we lament and repent together at SC20, we will all experience discomfort. Engaging in our own individual lament and repentance can be difficult as it opens us to pain and vulnerability, and when we lament and repent together, the experience can be even more dissonant yet more vibrant and more holistic.
We will encounter many different experiences and cultural expressions together. Some may challenge and draw us deeper while others may raise questions. In the midst of this dissonance, our community can experience God’s Spirit together and express our longing for revival from the many perspectives represented among us.
How can I prepare myself for prayer together at SC20?
If you have never been part of corporate lament and repentance, you can prepare yourself by praying through communal laments, such as Psalms 12, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, and 85. Consider reading Soong-Chan Rah’s book Prophetic Lament (IVP).
If you are already comfortable with corporate lament and repentance, you can prepare yourself for this new experience with InterVarsity by praying about how you might interpret your experiences of lament and repentance for others. Be prepared to help your sisters and brothers enter our communal experience together and ask God to lead us into intimacy with him and unity together.
If you have further questions about the Prayer and Fasting times at SC20, please contact Christy Gates.