To any of you reading this who live outside the 469, a few words of explanation are necessary. “42 Days” is a 6-week men’s study we do once or twice a year at North Point. During this time, I’ll be posting weekly questions, quotes, and instructions for guys here on my blog.
Feel free to follow along with us.
Here’s the plan for our second week of 42 Days.
The Book. If you are reading Celebration of Discipline, make sure you read through chapters 3 and 4 this week. We will be considering prayer and fasting in our study and discussion next week.
Fasting. The author writes the central idea of fasting is the voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of purposeful spiritual activity. Consider fasting this week, in order to pray or meditate or study your Bible with a greater purpose. Fasting from food is not the only option, although it is the one taught in the Bible. You could fast from a bad habit, an unhealthy practice, social media, television, a certain food, people (for the purpose of solitude or prayer), etc…, as a practice of discipline.
Bible Study. Your chapter for the week is Psalm 25. Make it your goal to read it at least twice each day. Try reading it in different versions like The Message or the Good News Bible. Take notes while you read. What do words and statements mean? What actions should you be taking? What questions do you have and how are you going to pursue answers?
*Let me know if you have any questions about Bible translations or different versions. Give a shout if you need any help with your online Bible app.
23rd Psalm. The line of the week is “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Try to memorize it. Write it down and post in places you’ll see it…on the bathroom mirror or your computer screen or your dashboard. Meditate on it. Contemplate what it means and ways you can put it into practice. Use your notebook again, to write down your responses to this amazing sentence.
Quotes from Celebration of Discipline
“Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.”
“Of all spiritual disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father.”
“To pray is to change. All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives.”
“For those explorers in the frontiers of faith, prayer was no little habit tacked on to the periphery of their lives; it was their lives. It was the most serious work of their most productive years. Prayer – nothing draws us closer to the heart of God.”
“Fasting must forever center on God. More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.”
“The most difficult problem is not finding time but convincing myself that this is important enough to set aside the time.”
“Spiritual disciplines can do nothing. They can only get us to the place where something can be done.”
“There simply are no biblical laws that command regular fasting. Our freedom in the gospel, however, does not mean license; it means opportunity.”
“Restriction often enhances clarity.”
Questions for relection:
- Where and how did you learn to pray? Was it accidental or intentional?
- Does the Bible teach us how to pray?
- Have you ever been intimidated or embarrassed by prayer? Why?
- Have you ever tried to follow someone’s example in prayer, only to feel like a failure?
- The author states, “To pray is to change”. What does that mean? How can it shape our prayer life?
- Do you think that prayer changes God’s mind? Why or why not?
- Is it bad to continually ask God for stuff?
- The author writes about the role of imagination in prayer. What do you think?
- Do you have any addictive tendencies? How have you struggled with them?
- What have you done to proactively address those tendencies?
- What is your first reaction to the thought of fasting?
- Have you ever fasted? Why? From what? For how long?
- What was the outcome of your fasting this week? What did you learn?