Advent Fasting Guide—Week Two
Below are some ways to engage with God during this season of Advent, particularly through reading, praying, and singing. We pray that God meets us in these disciplines! If you want to read about why we’re in a season of fasting during Advent, read “A Call To Fasting During Advent”.
Ephesians 4:1-16 | John 17:20-23
This week we encourage you to meet up with someone, perhaps a roommate, spouse, or someone in your Gospel Community, to pray with utilizing conversational prayer (taken from Redeemer Presbyterian Church). As you pray with this other person, use the style of conversational prayer. It differs from what we often experience in group prayer: talking in detail about our prayer requests so that there is little time left to pray, or praying in one long monologue after another. Conversational prayer recognizes that prayer is dialogue, conversing in prayer not only with God but also with others present. As we pray, we invite and expect the Holy Spirit to be praying with us as well, guiding and edifying our prayers among us. This style of prayer also emphasizes the art of listening — to the Holy Spirit and to one another. Its use of short, focused prayers prevents anyone from dominating with long, lofty monologues or covering all the prayer requests in one breath.
Begin the prayer time with adoration, praising God for who He is. Think of an attribute and characteristic of God that relates to the topic, so you can build upon that. When a topic is complete, it will be clear by silence. Wait for someone else to present a new topic in prayer, or pose one yourself. Keep each prayer short (1-3 sentences) and focused on just one thought. Listen actively to and pray silently with the person praying. Discipline yourselves to not think about what you’ll pray next. Build upon the prayers of one another, as in conversation, so that you are knitting the short prayers into a broader and deeper one. Silence is okay! Rest in it. Don’t rush to fill it. Anyone can continue praying within the same topic, or move onto the next one. Don’t close each short prayer in “Jesus’ name, amen.” This fosters continuity and the leader will close the entire prayer time at the end. If a scripture comes to mind, do pray it. This is often how the Holy Spirit edifies our prayers. As you pray, also bring in His promises, commands, and desires. Doing so will help guide and transform your requests. Use everyday language. Pray spontaneously, not necessarily in order. Pray loud enough for the other person to hear you.
Here are a few other things you could pray and ask God for:
- That Park Church and the Church in Denver would be united
- That we would each know our gifts as individuals as well as our roles in seeking the maturity of the body of Christ
- Pray through lines from “O Come O Come Emmanuel” – (i.e. “Bid Thou our sad divisions cease…” Where are there divisions? Pray for unity and reconciliation.)
“O Come O Come Emmanuel” is a translation of a Latin hymn “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” which was a paraphrase of the “O Antiphons.” The “O Antiphons” (also known as “The great O’s”) have been used for over twelve centuries during the final week of Advent in monasteries & convents just before the Magnificat (Mary’s song found in Luke 1:46-55). Each verse highlights a different biblical name for Jesus: Wisdom, Adonai (or Lord), Root of Jesse, Key of David, Dayspring or Radiant Dawn, King of Nations (or of the Gentiles), Emmanuel. If you’re looking for a version of the song to listen to, click here.
O Come O Come Emmanuel?
O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel?
That mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here
?And drive away the shades of night and pierce the clouds and bring us light
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel
O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind
?Bid Thou our sad divisions cease and be Thyself our King of Peace
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny?
From depths of Hell Thy people save and give them victory o’er the grave
O Come, Thou Wisdom from on high and order all things far and nigh?
To us the path of knowledge show and cause us in her ways to go