Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fasting together

Here are some practical fasting guidelines:

Fasting is a spiritual discipline designed to better connect us with God. Our motive for fasting should always be to deepen our relationship with God and walk in agreement with His plan and purpose for our life. When fasting from food we are substituting our regular food intake with time with God (prayer, journaling, Bible reading, etc.). God uses our time of fasting and prayer to make us more aware of His presence and more sensitive to His leading. Our goal should be to develop a genuine hunger for intimacy with God.

Be specific about why you are fasting.
Begin a fasting journal by recording your reasons for fasting. Is it for breakthrough in you own life or in the life of a loved one? Is it to seek the Lord for physical or emotional healing? Do you need to hear God concerning major decisions to be made? Or, maybe you are seeking deliverance from an addiction or life-controlling problem.

Decide the type of fast.
Fasting is a spiritual commitment to God to abstain from something that is a normal part of your life in order to focus more on connecting with Him. Decide what, when and how long you will fast. For example, Daniel fasted from eating the King’s rich foods and wine (Daniel 1:8) and ate a vegetarian diet. Some people make fasting a part of their lifestyle by fasting one day or one meal each week. Seek God’s direction on how long and the type of fast. If you realize that you’re spending too much time watching TV or playing video games, it would make sense to fast from these activities and spend this time with God or as He directs.

Plan ahead and prepare for your fast.
1) If you are choosing to do a partial food fast or a juice fast, then you will need to make different food choices and make purchases ahead of time. If you are fasting from all food for more than a day, be sure to clear this with your physician. Always take into consideration the condition of your health and how the fast will affect you.

2) Make a commitment of your time and decide how and when you will spend time alone with God. You may want to do a Bible study on a certain topic or book. Journaling is always recommended so that you can record your thoughts and the insights God gives you.

3) Decide the best time to start and how long you will fast. Check your calendar and plan ahead how you will handle social activities and family meal times.

4) Inform only those individuals who need to know; such as, spouse and/or accountability partner. Remember, fasting is between you and God. It is a spiritual commitment to seek God as the most important relationship in your life and your true source of strength, wisdom, peace, healing and joy.

As you fast, spend quality time with God in prayer.
Each time you are hungry or long for the thing that you have given up, turn your heart to God and relate to Him instead. Remind yourself that your real hunger is to know God and depend on Him to sustain and satisfy you.

1) Be real with God. Tell Him whatever is going on inside you that you can identify. Be honest about how you are experiencing God right then. Do you see Him as a vending machine, a frowning father, a distant, cold force? Or, as a gloriously strong and intimate friend?

2) Remove hindrances. Ask God to reveal anything that would hinder your fully connecting with Him. Put into words whatever makes you uncomfortable or embarrassed when you are real with God (write this in your journal). Confess any sins of attitude, behavior or omission that come to mind and ACCEPT GOD’S TOTAL FORGIVENESS.

3) Approach God as the “first thing” in your life;. Seek Him as your most treasured and needed relationship; the person you want to know more than anyone else. Acknowledge that you have placed other people and things above Him and that you long to desire God more than anything else on earth.

4) Worship God for who He is and not just His earthly blessings.Worship is surrendering all that we are to Him so that He can express His life through us. It is desiring that God’s will be done on earth (in you) as it is in heaven.

5) Seek God’s vision and purpose for your life. Ask God to put His desires in your heart for all that He has planned for your life. Let go of selfish expectations and agendas.

6) Spend time meditating on God’s Word. Ask God to build your faith on His Word instead of on your circumstances and/or feelings. Try personalizing and praying scripture. The Psalms can be very helpful in expressing your deep feelings, needs and trust in God. (see Psalm 16, 23, 25, 27,34, 37, 51, 62, 103, 145)

7) Pray for yourself and others. While fasting, it is easier to hear God and pray according to His will instead of our own understanding. Be available to intercede for others as God brings people to mind. This is also a great time to take authority over the schemes of the evil one and reclaim any areas that you have, knowingly or unknowingly, given-over to him.

Yield all results to God.
We don’t always see immediate results during of our fast. However, God is always using this time to prepare us for what lies ahead. Remember, the goal is to know God better and trust Him more. Thank Him in advance for whatever you are desiring from Him. As you end your fast, stand on His promises and the things He has revealed to you during your fast. If you make fasting a regular part of your relationship with God, you’ll be amazed at how deep and rich your time with Him will become.


Sambi Katano said...

I will be fasting from food during our fasting together. Food is one of my biggest fleshly desires, so I will be staying away from it to experience my dependence on God as I will to surrender my life over to Him once again.

I pray for us coming together, and that the Spirit will unite our hearts as we gather to worship Him and pray on Wednesday night.

Anonymous said...

As a Baby Christian I am still learning and understanding what it means to "fast for spiritual growth". I am pleased to be in a situation where I am exposed to different seasons of fasting and with each one I learn more.

It only makes sense that you deny your fleshy cravings and replace it with prayer. Obviously the more you pray the more connected you will be to hear God speak to you.

I am also thrilled that Daniel's fasting was not all food but still gave him what he needed. I am not allowed to deny myself food and didn't think I would be able to have that connected fasting experience.

Well, I look forward to every fasting season to hear my heavenly father's answers. See you at the Pot "Faith"!

With Aloha, Lani

Anonymous said...

Well, the fast begins! I always hate the way my body feels while I fast (I'm doing a juice fast). Lack of protein, really gets to me and I can get irritable very, very, easy. I guess I am thankful that the family is all out of town. I hope I don't kick the dog! Watch out at staff meeting tomorrow. :)

Seriously, I have to depend even more so on the grace of God so that I behave well while fasting--especially a one dayer. So I ask Him to help me right now to honor Him while I fast.

I do look forward to getting up in the morning and having a wonderful time with Him. I do want to show Him that I love Him by denying myself. I anticipate His Presence and I desperately and hungerly (is that a word)want to hear from Him.