So this is NOT the 19th post on this – don’t go hunting for the others! And this is NOT a 40 day fast. God hasn’t called me to that yet. Or if he has, my flesh is resisting too much.
I have learnt something about fasting during this time, however. My last post – Preamble – 40 Days
I laid out what I thought I would be doing with regards to fasting. But since then I listened to Roger Price’s talk on fasting, and God showed me that while the marathon I completed last year was very helpful for my personal discipline, the same rules don’t apply to fasting. It’s not about how long you fast for. It’s about your heart. That’s rather different for running. At some points, analogies between running, and our walk with Jesus break down! My wife keeps telling me this….
So I’ve managed two fasts over three days, slightly different variation each time. I’d noticed the caffeine headache problem, and come off caffeine quite a lot, which has been really good. I’ve also realised that I generally snack and eat far too much, and too much of my ‘thought-time’ is preoccupied with anticipating or planning what I’m going to eat. Sometimes life does literally seem to be moving from one gastronomic pleasure to the next – I hope that I’m not alone in this. Of course, in some countries and for some people that simply isn’t possible. How ridiculously blessed but also WRONGLY oriented we are in the West.
Also, I didn’t necessarily (due to time with family, cooking for them etc.) create more time for prayer. BUT since I’ve done those periods of fasting my prayer life has been quickened a little – I want it quickened more.
The other problem had been the running – as I’m trying to keep in trim for a half-marathon on 9th Feb. It was both that, and considerations regarding being generally competent enough at work and for the family – driving etc. So I’ve decided that once the half-marathon is out of the way, I shall do some further periods of longer fasting, but wisely each time. I will either aim for a 5 day or 7 day fast. But it’s not about the length. What I’ve noticed is that once you’re a few days into a fast, the gain is quite substantial in terms of intimacy with God, and power in prayer. Why JUST get to that point, say three days in, and then break your fast?
What excites me about this personally, is that it’s a new place for me. I know that fasting is connected with spiritual power. But spiritual power on the outside looks different on the inside. On the inside, it’s more brokenness and more yieldedness to God’s will. But on the outside it reaps more impact in the Kingdom.
As a church, we are having a good time meeting together. It’s a sacrifice. But it will become increasingly precious. We are meeting on Wednesday evenings, and sharing thoughts regarding the verse/s we get each day on our whatsapp group. I believe that something long-term, some shift in our perspective, in our relationships together, and in our family lives, is going to come from this time. But we need to keep digging in. We are JUST on the halfway point really. I’m looking forward to our Open Meeting on Sunday where we will share communion and come together. Increasingly, I’m seeing an impact on our Sunday gatherings as we start to become personally renewed.
I would encourage anyone in our church who is reading this, and who perhaps hasn’t been carving out new habits of time with Jesus, that it’s not too late. Get that green booklet out, get on the whatsapp – perhaps arrange to meet with a friend for an extra time of prayer. Every day we are called to build with silver and gold in His kingdom.
One thing I always notice about fasting is that urgent, critical prayer requests come my way. It’s not that they don’t the rest of the time. It’s that I FEEL the need to pray in my spirit, and find myself connecting with God a lot more often to bring needs before Him. The other thing I notice is how much more I fall in love with Jesus. It’s a good place to be, and I’m so glad we committed ourselves as a church to this season of prayer!