There is only one more day left of Pursuit 21. Before we conclude the fast and resume normal eating, I’d like to ask you to prayerfully consider how you will keep fasting a part of your lifestyle in the coming year.
For most of us, if we hadn’t been intentional and decided last year that on January 8, 2012 we were going to begin a fast, we never would have done it. I know I would not have.
If I would have waited until January 8 to decide whether or not I was going to fast, I never would have fasted. I would have been too attached to my food to choose fasting. However, because I made the commitment in advance, I began my fast on January 8th even though my flesh was not at all in the mood. And oh how thankful I am — on this side of January 8 — that I made the commitment in advance and have had these glorious days with God in fasting and prayer.
My point is this: if you wait until June, July or August to decide how fasting and prayer will be a part of your lifestyle, you may miss a great opportunity. Consider and pray now about how God would have you incorporate fasting in the coming months. I encourage you to prayerfully put a date on the calendar. It does not mean that when God calls you to a unique season of fasting, you will not obey. It simply means that you have intentional plans for fasting to be a part of your lifestyle.
Like Praying and Giving
After Jesus called His disciples, He gave them their first public teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. In it He explained to them the kingdom of God — its laws and life. He provided the pattern by which each of us is to live as a child of God. This pattern mentions three specific responsibilities: giving, praying and fasting.
In this passage Jesus said, “When you give,” “When you pray,” and “When you fast” (Mt. 6:2, 5, 16). He made it obvious that fasting is to be a regular part of the Christian life. He did not say “if you fast” but “when you fast.” We are to give as much focus and priority to fasting as we do to giving and praying.
We do not wait until after we’ve received a paycheck, paid all our bills and spent money on frivolous things to decide whether to tithe. No, tithing is a deliberate decision we make in advance. It’s practically on our calendar. We know that when we receive a paycheck, we will give the first ten percent to God.
We do not wait until tomorrow morning to decide whether or not we feel like praying. We know that scripture exhorts us to seek God first. Therefore, we set our alarm so that we wake early for prayer — so that we have time to spend with God before beginning the day’s activities. Prayer is essentially on our calendar, our agenda, for the next morning.
What if you were to treat fasting in the same manner? What if you made plans now for a regular time of fasting and prayer?
When the Shades of Grace team and I traveled to Romania to minister several years ago, our team stayed in the home of Liviu and Mary Neagoe. Immediately upon arriving, we sat down for dinner and a time to get to know each other. Within minutes, the topic of fasting came up. We quickly discovered that we were all fasting twenty-one days in January.
Conviction quickly sat in as Liviu mentioned that he also fasts the first two days of every month — before he pays bills or makes business decisions. He gives God the first two days of the month.
The Holy Spirit’s point was well taken. Up until then, I followed God’s leading for individual fasts, but I hadn’t been so intentional as to put fasting on my monthly calendar. In my new friend Liviu, God showed me a powerful example of one way we can be deliberate about fasting — one way we can be sure it is a part of our lifestyle.
Ears to Hear
“Natalie,” a friend told me this week, “the times that I’ve fasted, I’ve heard God so much more clearly. I mean, wow! It’s amazing the difference in how much more clearly I hear His voice when I fast!”
If for no other reason than to keep us in tune with God, we should be intentional and keep fasting a part of our lifestyle.
However, once we resume normal eating, we may forget how clearly we’ve heard God and sensed His presence during this time. The memory of just how glorious these days have been may fade. Now is the time to pray about keeping prayer and fasting a part of your lifestyle.
- “If you seek him, he will be found by you” (1 Chron. 28:9).
- “He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Ps. 107:9).
- “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me” (Prov. 8:17).
- “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).
- “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
Worship: “The More I Seek You”
Question: How could you incorporate prayer and fasting during the rest of this year? The more we seek Him, the more we find Him.
FROM THE FASTING ARCHIVES:
- Call for the Watching, Fasting Women
- Fasting Day 20: Returning in Power, Part 4
- Fasting Day 20: Returning in Power, Part 5
- Fasting Day 20: Three Promised Results