The end of the year always brings a chance to reflect, and to think about the new year ahead. It is also a time to consider what goals and resolutions we will work towards. The New Year is a time of a fresh start. The catch is this: unless we change what we are currently doing, we will have the same results. We want to experience something different, spiritual breakthrough. The Scripture tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Thinking about this as a faith community, we put out a challenge to focus on Jesus at the start of 2013 through Prayer & Fasting. The challenge is to fast & pray for the first 21 days.
Last Sunday we looked at what fasting is – Fasting is primarily the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. We want to be clear- we are not talking about a diet to battle the sweets. Spiritual fasting is just that, focused spiritually. It is denying ourselves something in order to better focus on God.
We see examples of fasting & prayer throughout scripture – Moses, Esther, David, Daniel, Jesus and the Apostles – all seeking God. The reasons they fasted include:
- Direction/ Clarity
We see from their examples that fasting is a way to focus on God, spending extra time usually spent eating or doing activities in prayer.
Ok, I want to draw closer to God, but how do I fast? Plan. Consider this list:
- Establish your Focus (ex: I want to show love to others)
- What am I fasting? (Food? Specific Foods? Activities?)
- Choose the time [meal(s), day(s), length]
- Plan ahead (for children, others that are not fasting)
- Plan your scripture reading – one source: The Awakening guide
- Be accountable.
Once you have a plan in place remember to follow through with the plan with a positive attitude. Jesus reminds his disciples- Matthew 6:16-18
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
We want to experience spiritual breakthrough! Let’s start 2013 in focus on God through prayer & fasting!