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A Closer Walk with Jesus

How is the Lord inviting you to walk more closely with Him?

(This blog post will be updated with testimonies during Lent 2024) Bookmark this page and keep checking page to read more.)

Someone reminded us that the season of Lent is not a challenge to give something up but an invitation from Jesus to take up a closer walk with him. Lent is just an opportunity to create a habit that goes on all year round.

In our Lent study group we learned that John Wesley removed Lent, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday from the Anglican prayer book as he revised it for Methodists. He stated this season had “no added value” for Methodists. Why would he say that?  Because Methodists were to be participating in prayer, repentance, fasting, and the Lord’s Supper regularly. So he felt no need to have a Church season where these means of grace were emphasised. 

So, whether or not you participate in Lenten practices, NOW is still the time to take up the spiritual disciplines and accept the invitation from Jesus to walk in closer relationship with him. 

Many of our House Fellowships have been talking about fasting and are committing to practice individually and as a community. Fellowship Bands are a good place to hold one another to account for exercising spiritual disciplines through Lent. Joining with one or two others to focus on a particular project can be a helpful way of pressing in together in prayer. 

We would love to hear how the Lord is leading you, and what he teaches you along the way. Send us you stories: [email protected]

Here are a few ways we have heard people resolving to be intentional about their journey with Jesus through Lent 2024. 

  • For those who are able, as a fellowship we will fast from Thursday evening until Friday evening when we break bread together. For some of us due to age or health needs, that fasting might need to look slightly different from water only, but if we set aside Fridays to purposely empty ourselves and expectantly open our empty hands to receive more of God’s grace we will be blessed. We could also each set aside time on those Fridays to ask the Lord how we can freely give to others both as a fellowship and individually.
  • We are going to pick up our Crocheting the Way of the Cross group that we did last year through Lent. We have a message group where we share what God is saying as we crochet and pray. We are using the Beacon of Hope as our devotional. We are each going to be crocheting baby blankets or hats. As we crochet we will be praying for the mothers and babies that will receive them through ministries we are connected with.  
  • As a house fellowship we are fasting and praying together every Friday and breaking our fast when we break bread together for our evening fellowship. During the lunch hour on a fasting day we set aside to pray, read and reflect on the penitential Psalms and then as we are led we can share how a verse or a particular part of these Psalms speaks to us each week when we gather in Lent. Read more about the penitential psalms here.
  • I am fasting one day at a time, from whatever seems right that day.. My young children have been helping to choose something each day. So far we have done sugar and TV. And we aim to read all the way through one of our children’s Bible through Lent. 
  • I am fasting from all things television. And I am feasting by reaching out to at least one person a day through phone or text and having an in-person time with someone once per week.
  • I’ve been watching tree surgeons cutting down my neighbours conifers. It made me think of the pruning (fasting) I need to do this season of Lent when the long spindly fruitless branches get exposed!  Lord let me fast from a critical spirit, anger, and self-concern. Let me become an encourager and exhorter on the journey to Easter.
  • I hope to focus on four things:  pray every day; play music every day; write every day; and be healthy.  I want to pray, play, write and be a better steward of the body the Lord has given me, so I can be more faithful to serve the Lord and serve others.  I’m called to service these days in various ministries, and I want to be in closer touch with the One who called me. 
  • I have asked my fellowship bands to hold me accountable for my resolve to love the Lord better with my body, mind and soul. I am fasting from sugar and trying to walk/exercise for at least 30 mins each day (body); I am reading a book about humility and on about the Way of Life (mind); I am mentoring a new fellowship band where the Holy Spirit is ministering to us all (soul).

How are the spiritual disciplines helping you encounter Jesus?

  • I wanted to try fasting on Fridays in Lent. I forgot the first week! I asked the Lord to remind me the second week and asked my husband to prompt me too. It took a lot of prayer to turn down my morning cinnamon roll at the coffee shop! I messaged my band and someone said “Praying that the blessing the Lord has for you today will beat a cinnamon roll. I know that’s a challenge for the Lord but I am confident that he can do it!!” And they were right. I had the sweetest time sharing coffee with my husband.
  • I have been reciting Matthew 5, something I committed to memorize thanks to Inspire Scholars. Every time I repeat the verses it either convicts me or challenges me, or strengthens me. Sometimes all 3 at once!
  • Why is it instead of seeking, feasting and quenching, the default can be to wait until the longing feels lonely, the hunger is starving and the thirst is parched? Instead of accepting what Jesus has to offer we sometime choose to self destruct instead. We need to choose to long, hunger and thirst, choose to draw close and be fed.
  • The more I pray, the more I pray. You can’t pray everywhere until you have prayed somewhere. The more I fast, the more I feast on true sustenance.
  • I long for a deeper walk with the Father, but I must trust Him more everyday walking by faith and not by sight. I hunger to become more like Jesus, but I must ask Him for a deeper desire to hunger for more of his righteousness and sit at His feet waiting to feed upon every word that comes from His mouth everyday. I thirst for the Spirit-filled life, but I must repent of any sense that I have enough longing for the Spirit. I must long to be thirstier and thirstier, to be hungrier and hungrier. Apart from these desires my lamp will be empty. Give me oil in my lamp, I pray! 
  • Spiritual Disciplines are so full of God’s love and mercy. Even fasting which is probably the most difficult Spiritual Discipline opens us to the relational reality of God’s love. When we forgo something we think we need or love and fill that time with pursing God how overwhelming that is! In my experience that is why I say Spiritual Disciplines are God’s mercies for us today.
  • In spite of the cost involved with spiritual disciplines, they are filled with God’s grace, or as Wesley said, they are “ordinary channels of God’s grace.” It is interesting that people don’t seem to have an issue with discipline when it comes to preparing for a marathon or something else they may desire to do in their lives.
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