Friday, November 8, 2013

Understanding Fasting and Prayer

We are about to enter into a time of 21 days of prayer and fasting.  I have been reading on Facebook that some of you have never fasted before, so I wanted to take a moment and try and explain the simplicity of fasting and why a person would do such a thing.  I think it is most important that you understand why a person would fast and then understand how you fast.  

Fasting is all about humbling your soul before The Lord.  Prayer in itself is an act of humility as we read 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land."  God is looking for those that humble and he answers the prayer of the humble.  Let me give you an example.  When I got up this morning my dog was ready to go outside. So we did.  As I was making coffee and watching the news and doing what I do, Zach (my dog) was freaking out because I had not fed him yet.  He didn't care about me or what I needed to do he was just concerned with filling his stomach.  This is the way we are with God sometimes.  We get so self-consumed with our own needs that we forget there are more important things going on around us.  When a person fasts he or she is humbled by caring more about the topic of the fast than filling his or her own belly.  Notice the humility in this Psalm of David, "But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting..." (Psalm 35:13).  

Fasting in the scripture is always about one thing: food.  I hear today of people fasting from all kinds of things (social media, chocolate, gaming, etc.), but the most effective fast is to remove a basic need of life which is food.  There is no set time for the fast.  People fast every night as they sleep which is the reason we "BREAK-FAST" in the morning.  People fast for one day, three day, seven day, or two week fasts.  There are some references of forty day fasts in the bible but this is not common practice.  

Jesus warned about fasting for the wrong reasons in Mathew 6:1-18.  The Pharisees were fasting in front of others to show how "spiritual" they were which is very arrogant and the complete opposite of humble.  Remember, the goal of fasting is humility before The Lord.  We are commanded not be be like the Pharisees.  

When we call for 21 days of Fasting and Prayer, we are not expecting anyone to fast for the entire 21 days but that you pick some days throughout the time frame in which you are fasting.  We want someone fasting the entire time before The Lord.  May God grant you the requests that you seek as you humble yourself before The Lord through the fast.