We want to partner with you by providing resources that give you the chance to connect with your student and help them grow in their faith. For weekly conversation starters regarding our current series, start here!
Food is a big deal for people. Not only is it necessary for existence, but it is where we find enjoyment, comfort, and community. We eat food at parties and during the holidays, we eat out to mark significant celebrations with others, and we use food as a place of solace when we are needing to feel safe or home. Food serves so many roles in our lives. So why would the Bible promote something like fasting? What are the benefits of abstaining from food, and how do we use that to abide in Christ? We want to take a look at the lifestyle of Jesus and His habits like fasting, Bible study, prayer, and generosity and how they can completely change our spiritual lives.
WEEKLY CONVERSATION STARTERS
Week 1 | January 11 - Fasting
Read: Matthew 11:28-30; 6:16-18; 4:1-4
Examine: When we don’t eat, it usually means that something is wrong. Eating is so ingrained in our lives that we can become so resistant to changing that part of our lives at all. There is a reason many diets fail so soon after they start. We hold tight to the comfort of food or other elements in our lives, and in a world that says we need to do more and more to succeed or be satisfied, these comforts can become a crutch. Fasting is not about “doing more” but about “doing differently.” Fasting from these elements allows us to slow down and enjoy the meals that satisfy us while revealing the ones that don’t. If we’re willing to be a little uncomfortable, God will show us where true comfort lies.
Apply: What do you want to fast from during our 21 days of prayer and fasting? You can even choose something as a family to fast from. What will you do differently during this time of fasting and how can that carry over after the 21 days have finished?
Pray: Pray with your student for God to reveal what He wants your family to fast from, and ask Him to reveal the “meals” that don’t ultimately satisfy.
Week 2 | January 18 - Bible Study
Read: Matthew 4:1-4; Matthew 6:11
Examine: John Mark Comer says “Fast food is fast. Real food takes time”. The same is true for our relationship with God. We often treat the Bible as something we open only when someone else gives it to us pre-packaged in a message. That’s like only eating once a week and it’s something that someone else has cooked for us, never something we’ve put time and effort into. That isn’t physically healthy, so why do we do that spiritually? As we begin to slow down, abide in, and spend daily time with Jesus, we become spiritually fed. Just as bread is a meal for the body, God’s Word is a meal for our soul, and we will never experience the life-giving change Jesus offers if we are spiritually starved.
Apply: During these 21 days of Abide, discuss with your student what you have been studying in the Bible every day and ask them what they are studying. Consider getting a Study Bible to help your student’s growth and understanding of God’s Word.
Pray: Pray together over the verses that you and your student have been studying and try to make that a regular rhythm in your family’s life.
Week 3 | January 25 - Prayer
Read: Mark 1:35; Philippians 1:9-11
Examine: Conversations are a part of our everyday lives. We talk at work and at school. We talk to friends and family. Some people talk in their sleep and some talk with food in their mouths. We talk a LOT. However, when it comes to talking to God, we usually talk differently. We usually only converse with God when we are asking for something, feel obligated to say a few words to Him before a meal, or when we are complaining about something. These aren’t necessarily bad things to do, but what does that say about a relationship when the only conversations are in those contexts? Jesus has invited us to follow Him. One of the most common practices of Jesus that he invited his followers into was prioritizing times of silence and solitude. Setting aside a place of silence and solitude with the purpose of Prayer creates an environment to sit and share a meal with Jesus. That’s what God wants: a REAL relationship. Real relationships require real conversations.
Apply: What part of your day do you want to set aside to spend with God? Why do you think that is an important thing to do?
Pray: Pray that your student can find silence and solitude to set aside so they can have real conversations with God.
Week 4 | February 1 - Generosity & Serving
Read: Matthew 6:19-34; Acts 20:35
Examine: Giving is something the Bible talks a lot about. We probably like to think that we are good at giving. However, we often give when it’s easy for us to give. When it requires sacrificing things we care about, it becomes a lot more difficult. Abiding in Jesus is all about understanding what God has done for us and what He now wants for us. God desires that we are spiritually full, and we are never more spiritually full than when we actively seek to feed others. The great thing is that God does give us all that we need. If He was willing to give His own Son for us, how much more will He take care of us in our daily lives?
Apply: What is an area of your life that would be tough to sacrifice part of or sacrifice time in? How do you think God wants you to use that area of your life to serve Him?
Pray: Pray that your family would be willing to sacrifice areas or time in areas of their lives that are difficult to give up, and for God to reveal how God wants to use your family to serve Him and others.