Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting . . . for Lent

Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent are upon us, and with this season many will be taking up additional (or at least more intentional) practices of fasting or abstinence.

I would commend to the readers of Wesleyan/Anglican, especially those who are members of World Methodist Council denominations*, the "Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting." In particular, I would commend the practice set forth in the "World Methodist Call To Prayer and Fasting and to Faith-Sharing."

For years, now, ever since my first involvement with the Order of the FLAME** through World Methodist Evangelism of the World Methodist Council, I have made it a habit of providing for my congregation the bookmarks provided by World Methodist Evangelism issuing this call to all those in the larger Wesleyan/Methodist family. These bookmarks explain the background of the call, provide a short history of the practice of fasting, and provide prayers for preparation for fasting, Morning and Mealtime prayers, as well as a prayer for breaking fast.

The focus of this fast is on spreading the gospel of Christ Jesus through word, deed and sign. The fast consists of going without solid food after the evening meal each Thursday until mid-afternoon (about 3:00 PM) each Friday. (Those who wish, can also use the same practice for a Wednesday fast, as did those in the Ancient Church.) This time of fasting is focused in prayer for the vision of World Evangelism - "To see the Methodist movement alive, vibrant, growing and yearning to spread the good news of Christ Jesus in a world that so desperately needs healing, hope and salvation."

Originally, the call to prayer and fasting was intended to take place during the fifty days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday with Pentecost being designated as Making Disciples Sunday. I mentioned to the Rev'd. Dr. H. Eddie Fox, World Director of World Evangelism, World Methodist Council, that, while I understood the Easter season as being a season of "feasting," I would certainly promote the use of the Wesley pattern during the season of Lent, and suggest it as a permanent discipline throughout the year. Since, then, Lent has been suggested as an option when ordering the bookmarks.

The Prayer Bookmarks (cards) can be order FREE of charge in English or Spanish through WME Press (World Methodist Evangelism Publishing) by clicking here. According to the website, they usually ship the next business day.

Again, I join my voice with the voice of the 2001 World Methodist conference in calling upon Methodists around the world (or at least those who read my blog!) to "follow the Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting."

*In the United States, WMC member denominations include seven denominations: The AME, AMEZ, CME, Free Methodist, UM, and The Wesleyan churches, along with my own denomination, the Church of the Nazarene.

**FLAME stands for: Faithful Leaders As Mission Evangelists

1 comment:

Ben said...

Dr. Stepp,

I stumbled across your blog via your comment on the blog of Fr. Stephen Freeman. I am also an Asbury graduate and likely share your views on the sacraments and liturgy. I am wondering if there is a way that I can ask you a few questions.

Thank you,

- Ben Howard