I find that in our desire to include and make everyone feel comfortable we add caveats into our teaching like, ‘if you feel like praying it’, ‘don’t feel you have to’, ‘if the lord directs you to’ etc. Now to a degree these statements are ok as they express our desire to not want to make anyone feel left out.

Jesus doesn’t seem so bothered with that. In the sermon on the mount he cut to the heart of the matter.

In three of the most contentious areas of Christianity he is very clear about what we should do, to him they are not contentious. His expectation is that they are part of our lives…and I know you are wondering what they might be! It is prayer, fasting and giving. Jesus doesn’t say if you pray, if you fast, if you give, no, he says when. It is an expected part of our journey.

But I know, in fear of being religious or legalistic, we remove ‘when’ and add in ‘if you feel like it’ or ‘if you feel led’. But neither of these options are available to us. There isn’t any room for manoeuvre, the ‘when’ is expecting it to happen. We can choose to argue and fight, but why not submit to the scripture and allow the grace of the Lord to help us to work out when. It isn’t about our feelings, if it was I probably wouldn’t ever fast, and I might not give as much away and when it comes to prayer, I’d probably give into the distractions far more than I do. But the when means I make a decision, it means I choose and with that I trust that He will give me grace to give, to pray and to fast.