Hello and a happy Sunday to you. As we are coming to the end of the year, I am sure that we are planning on what we want to do in the New Year, our relationship with God, Spiritual Growth, Praying Patterns, Bible Study etc. I know some churches begin the new year with fasting and praying to start the year well. This is a good thing, but sometimes we do things out of religion and tradition instead of being led by the Holy Spirit.
Here are 10 reasons for biblical fasting :
1. To strengthen prayer (e.g., see Ezra 8:23)
2. To seek God’s guidance (e.g., see Judges 20:26)
3. To express grief (e.g., see 1 Samuel 31:13)
4. To seek deliverance or protection (e.g., see 2 Chronicles 20:3 – 4)
5. To express repentance and a return to God (e.g., see 1 Samuel 7:6)
6. To humble oneself before God (e.g., see 1 Kings 21:27 – 29)
7. To express concern for the work of God (e.g., see Nehemiah 1:3 – 4)
8. To minister to the needs of others (e.g., see Isaiah 58:3 – 7)
9. To overcome temptation and dedicate yourself to God (e.g., see Matthew 4:1 – 11)
10. To express love and worship for God (e.g., see Luke 2:37)
Here is a article I wrote some years back and I believe that it is still applicabale today. As I decided to embark on my 30 day Prayer and Fasting ,I did not know how I was going to do it but I thank God I did it.I knew it wasn't going to be easy especially after a 22 day holiday but as the word of God states in Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.I HAD DONE MANY DIFFERENT FASTS BEFORE,HOWEVER THIS WAS DIFFERENT AS IT WAS OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.Maybe on other occasions I will be able to share with you.The first thing I did was do my RESEARCH,because it is quite dangerous to go on a fast and not be physically or spiritually equipped for it.I went on You Tube and looked up Dr Myles Monroe, How to Fast Effectively.Here is the link for those of you who might want to watch it,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVxEh8gZ4zc .I usually listen to this sermon before fasting because it is really powerful and educational and every time I watch it, I get a different revelation from the Holy Spirit .I didn't want to get sick in the middle of my fasting and then stop it. You know the enemy will try all the tricks he can devise to stop you from getting close to God but No Weapon Fashioned Against me were going to prosper.
How Should We Fast?
The first imperative in deciding to fast is that we do so out of a sincere desire to seek God’s guidance and direction. Fasting for the sake of making a show in front of others, or fasting to ask God for things that are clearly outside of His will, is a waste of your time. Let’s look at the physical aspects of fasting. Fasting comes in different forms and is done in different ways. The most important factors to consider in starting a fasting regimen include the following:
Your Personal Reasons for Pursuing a Fast.
If you are thinking of a major life change, have experienced betrayal or heart break or are grieving the loss of a certain individual or period in your life, or are seeking answers from God for an upcoming decision, the reasons you choose to fast are unique to you. Consulting with others about their experiences can be instructive, but your choice to fast and the reasons for your fast are unique to your situation.
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The Method of Fasting You Want to Pursue.
Fasting doesn’t necessarily involve a complete stop to eating; it can be done by cutting down the number of calories you ingest for a certain period of time as well. For many people, however, the time and focus saved on preparing and eating food work well to change their focus to the issue at hand. Still, if you try a complete fast and find that you’re distracted by the lack of food, consider simply cutting your caloric intake back drastically and eat small amounts of food during your fast. Experts recommend 500 calories per day for women, and 600 calories per day for men (please do your own research on this)
The Duration of the Fast.
Fasting can be done on a daily, weekly, or annual basis. Many people who choose to fast do so intermittently, such as during a portion of their workday, to focus on seeking God for an hour or two, and then they go back to a regular eating schedule. Others find benefits in fasting during a certain time of the month or year to pursue guidance and direction from God. Again, the duration and length of your fast are personal decisions only you can make.
The Time You Have to Focus.
Fasting requires you to focus on the reasons for your fast and on listening to God during this period of time. You’ll want to clear your calendar of extraneous activities so you can calm your heart and mind as you seek God’s face. Ideally, setting aside specific time in your calendar to focus on prayer and study the word during your period of fasting will help. Spending an overnight in a location where you (or your group, if you’re fasting with others) can get away from city lights and noise or the distractions of family obligations can increase the effectiveness of the fast.I usually do a personal retreat every three months where I go fast and pray for the weakend.
Your Physical Space.
Selecting the right physical space is important for fasting. To reduce your temptation to eat and to sharpen your focus during your fast, consider setting aside space in your home or in another familiar space for prayer and meditation. While you’re fasting, move to that space to pray during the times you would normally be eating. If you can, during your typical mealtimes, move out of your food-related context by taking a walk, going for a drive, or sitting outdoors.
Your Own Personal Health.
While individuals in the Bible fasted for extended periods of time (see Matthew 4), before you fast for any period longer than twenty-four hours, please consult your doctor. Fasting for a longer period of time can lead to dehydration and have other detrimental health effects, especially if you suffer from conditions such as diabetes that may require you to eat at certain times and monitor your body’s sugar levels. If during the course of your fast you start to feel ill, stop fasting and ease back into eating.
Breaking your fast.
Experts recommend coming out of a period of fasting, not by feasting, but by starting slowly and being disciplined to eat only regular portions. While you may be hungry and inclined to overindulge after a fast, your goal should be to return to a normal eating pattern.Remember, nowhere in Scripture are individuals encouraged to fast to the detriment of their health. When individuals and people groups called for fasting, it was typically for a specific period of time with a well-defined starting and ending point.
Now let’s get back to the condition of your heart before you begin the fast. Again, let’s look at Isaiah 58 as we consider this important factor:
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ Isaiah 58:3
This implies that the people who engaged in the fast did so for a certain period of time for a certain personal reason. At this point in the conversation, perhaps they had completed their fast and were frustrated with the results: they had gone into their fast period with a certain goal in mind, and their goals were not accomplished. Even though they had correctly pursued the “how” of the fast, their fast didn’t have its intended effect.
Before you start your fast, review the list above several times and dig deeply to understand your motivations. Be clear on what you’re fasting for, and why, before you decide on how.
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I also read the Holy Word of God concerning Prayer & Fasting such as those below.Indeed the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.Hebrews 4:12 King James Version (KJV)
Acts 13:2 While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Exodus 34:28 Moses was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.
I knew I was ready to embark on this journey because I had the knowledge, the preparation, the Word of God, passion, commitment and the most importantly backing of the Holy Spirit.I was ready!!!!!!.Hope you are informed and you take time to do your own research.Remain blessed in the Lord.
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