With some excitement, some fear and trembling, and a strong dose of kindled confidence, I would like to announce to you that this Sunday begins our church family’s 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer. We will be starting on January 7 and concluding on January 28. We will have a 21-day fasting and prayer guide given out this Sunday at both services. We will again ask everyone to fast on the three Wednesdays and gather for a 6 pm prayer service at Living Streams (Childcare through 2nd grade and some soup for after the prayer time will be provided). We will be teaching each Sunday on fasting, prayer, and what it means to have God activate, mobilize, awaken, and move us from people full of potential energy to people experiencing the kinetic energy of God’s Spirit inside us.
If you would like to get your mind started on the topic of fasting; here is a little something to help…
According to the Bible, fasting can serve a variety of purposes for the believer brave enough to practice this spiritual discipline. Fasting can…
Add strength to our prayers (Ezra 8:23; Joel 2:13; Acts 13:3
Bring God’s guidance (Judges 20:26; Acts 14:23)
Help with the grieving process (1 Samuel 31:13; 2 Samuel 1:11–12)
Bring supernatural deliverance or protection (2 Chronicles 20:3–4; Ezra 8:21–23)
Express repentance and returning to God (1 Samuel 7:6; Jonah 3:5–8)
Humble oneself before God (1 Kings 21:27–29; Psalm 35:13)
Increase our concern for the work of God (Nehemiah 1:3–4; Daniel 9:3)
Minister to the needs of others (Isaiah 58:3–7)
Help us overcome temptation (Matthew 4:1–11)
Express love and worship to God (Luke 2:37)
Remember, according to Jesus, fasting can be done wrong.
I would hate to have anyone go through the challenge of fasting and receive no godly gain. But Jesus taught us that fasting can be done wrong. Instead of making me more focused on God and His kingdom, fasting often can make me more focused on…me. The desperate sucking sounds my stomach makes, and the festering fatigue that fills every part of my body relentlessly vies for my attention. In these moments, my fasting can easily become all about my need.
This is not the kind of fast God desires. God desires a fast that draws our attention away from ourselves and places it on the needs of those around us. To take this one step further, the denying of ourselves should not only subtract our selfish attention; it should also supply for the needs of others. Instead of only denying myself food or pleasure, I should go one step further and feed or bless someone else with what I would have fed or blessed myself with. For some deep and ancient reading on this, Isaiah 58 is a beautiful passage about the kind of fasting God does not like, as well as the kind of fasting God loves.
And one more concept from a more modern writer named C.S. Lewis… “Fasting… helps strengthen the heart against temptation, clarify the imagination, and make ready the soul to understand better the love of God in an abstract and metaphysical way.
Welcome to this part of our journey. Welcome to this ancient, power-laden discipline. Welcome to a practice of Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, and the blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Welcome to 2018’s first Kinetic Moment.