Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feasting on God

One of the ways that I have sought God’s face is the practice of fasting. Obviously, it is not something I do every day. Yet, I fast often. I find it to be a vital discipline in my walk with Jesus.

Some of you have asked me about fasting. What follows is some practical advice on fasting. I hope you will try this ancient practice. I believe God has a feast He wants to serve you.

(When I talk about fasting, I am speaking about refraining from food. Others fast from different things. However, for my purposes here I will talk about not eating.)

Why fast?

Jesus calls us to fast in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 6:16. He uses the phrase, “when you fast.” He does not say if but when. He also mentions the practice right alongside of giving and praying. Obviously, we think it is vital to practice those two disciplines. Fasting should be seen with the same importance. Also, the early church followed the practice, in Acts 13:1-3. In fact, fasting has been practiced by Christians all around the world throughout history.

How do you fast?

I suggest that the first time you fast, you try a 24-hour fast. That means you eat your dinner and then fast during breakfast and lunch and eat dinner. After that you can try longer fasts of 3 or 4 days and even longer. It is important to make sure you are medically OK to do this and monitor yourself during the fast.

I suggest that you drink a little less caffeine and drink fruit juice when you need it. The fruit juice will help you get through some of the tough times of the fast. You will get light headaches (these are minor and the juice will help) and you will feel hungry during meal times. Your body doesn’t need the food; it is just conditioned to having it at certain times during the day.

Most importantly, what should you pray about?

At times, it is easy to forget about the need to pray when we are fasting. Make sure you are taking time to do some extra praying and seeking of God during the fast. God has prepared a feast for you to enjoy during the fast. The only way you are going to get it is if you step up to the table and eat.

When you pray, take time to pray for more of God. As you hunger for food, redirect that hunger into a hunger for Him. Jesus told us in Matthew 9:14-15 that we will fast in these days because we will miss His Presence. Long for His Presence as you fast. Couple this hunger you have for Him with a hunger for His Word. Chew on the opening verses of Deuteronomy 8. I believe Jesus meditated on these verses when He was fasting in the wilderness (He quoted them to Satan).

God also could be giving you this time of fasting to seek His wisdom on a certain issue in your life. We find the church doing this in Acts 13:1-3. Bring the issue before Him and ask Him to reveal His will.

May God bless you as you hunger and feast for Him. I highly recommend it.

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