On Fasting, A Review

Thursday, January 14, 2016  ::  

In just a few days, the people of Second Mile will join hearts/hands, tighten our grip, and seek God together through prayer and fasting. So many new people joined our body this year and I've wonder if the thought of fasting is intimidating or overwhelming to some. I decided to give you a glimpse into what the week of prayer and fasting looked like for me in the past to encourage you as you engage this year, whether it is your first time or you've been doing this for years.

One of my go-to verses, one that is in my head almost every time I pray (no exaggeration) is Jeremiah 33:3. It says, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know." What a beautiful, encouraging, and focusing promise! I continually claim this for myself, my family, my friends, and my church. I'm praying it for you, too.

As you consider what it means to fast, let me remind you this is not a legalistic, reward-based pursuit. We deny our stomachs as an act of worship. The emptying of our physical selves allows us to empty our wholes selves in order to be filled up with God. If you've never fasted from food, don't start with not eating for a whole week. Choose one or two days to go without food. If you've fasted before, challenge yourself to extend your fast by a couple of days. Whatever days you choose, let Sunday, the 24th be your last day because we will break fast with communion during the gathering. The experience is unifying, worshipful, and beautiful. (Chad will teach on fasting this coming Sunday to provide further scripture, instruction, and help.)

Take a look at some of these stories of my past fasting experiences. I hope it helps you as you look to the coming week.

This specific post walks through four personal lessons of fasting. My favorite part of the post is explaining how fasting tangibly shines light on the fact that we are exiles on this earth. If you don't read any other linked posts, read this one.

Sometimes we make excuses about how we have to eat, that fasting isn't reasonable. It is definitely true for some. If you are performing surgery on someone, please don't get the shakes from lack of food. However, our bodies have a way of convincing us to make excuses. Personally, I've been making excuses for a couple of weeks about why I don't need to exercise. I'm lying to myself. Don't lie to yourself about how you just have to eat. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Eat or don't eat, just make sure it is out of obedience, not excuses.

And sometimes you absolutely need to eat, and going without food would be completely legalistic and irresponsible. In that case, figure out a God-glorifying, flesh-denying alternative.

And finally, sometimes we need someone else to challenge us in prayer and say things like, "Do you want God to revitalize your church? Revitalize your prayer life." Zinger.

Dear ones, I so hope one or more of these posts encourages you for the coming week of prayer and fasting. Several of us have worked diligently on the prayer guide and we are expectant for what God will do in and through our prayers. Ready yourself. If you have any questions, please email me!

Hebrews 12:12-13 
Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 

2 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Angela DeSoto said...

Can we just begin already?! Standing at this starting line (for me I walk up to this line around December 26th because I know this week is coming) seems like for-ev-er. I am waiting with anticipation because I just want God so much, but I'm also dreading the pain that is inevitable (whether it be physical discomfort or emotional/spiritual upheaving). Anyway, I love when we get to Sunday and break the fast together and know that God did big and little things in all of our lives this week. I'm ready. Let's go.

Rebecca said...

Thank you for making your blog public! I visit sporadically and read post after post (amen to the stagnant water analogy, so needed for my change-reticent soul), but am always blessed. Thank you especially for these words on fasting. It is a discipline I am trying to learn, yet it's hard for me to understand the significance (I often just say to myself, God said!)... Blessings!

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