A Call to Fast

25 02 2011

 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and break every yoke? . . .
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say:
Here I am.”
-Isaiah 58:6, 8-9

Last April, the ladies book club I am a part of with my home church group read Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes.  It’s a fascinating true story of the author and his adventures running ultramarathons and other crazy races that test the limits of human endurance.  Always looking for a spiritual application, I came away with this thought.

Most people I know are ready and willing to push their physical bodies to the limit with diet and/or exercise.  We train through pain for months to run marathons.  We diet with determination to drop those last few pregnancy pounds.  We put ourselves through Master Cleanses to rid our bodies of the toxins we digest.

Most people I know (myself included), however, do not work at our spiritual disciplines with the same fervor we do our physical disciplines.  What would that even look like?  Praying to the extreme?  Giving to the extreme?  Fasting to the extreme?

Fasting?

In the 15 years since I became a follower of Christ, I cannot recall a single sermon or Bible study lesson on fasting.  Yet, Jesus claims this act as one of the main spiritual disciplines, right up there with giving and praying (see Matthew 6:1-18).

I just finished a book titled Fasting by Jentezen Franklin.  My husband read this in early January and got fired up to fast.  I’ve always been intrigued by fasting, but I have never attempted to make it a regular part of my life.  Since reading this book, God has greatly convicted me that fasting needs to become a priority in my walk with Christ.

I asked God on Sunday to give me a clear purpose for my fasting.  Knowing my weaknesses and how easily I can turn any righteous act into a legalistic one, if I don’t have an intentional reason to fast, it would quickly become one more item to check off my do-gooder list.

Over the next 24 hours, God answered that prayer twofold. 

First, I will pray for the children in our home church group.  We have a couple of teens who are fighting against some fierce strongholds.  We have several elementary school aged kids, my oldest son is included in that group.  Our home church team has had several discussions this year about how the time of major influence over our kids is slipping away quicker than we want it to.  If we don’t build a firm foundation NOW, they will struggle mightily in the years to come when they no longer live in our homes, share our food, and sleep under our roofs.  We also have a huge and ever-growing population of toddlers and babies.

My prayers for these precious young ones will be that they:

  • Mature in their relationships with Christ:  “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” -2 Peter 3:18
  • Grow in wisdom and discernment to make wise choices when temptation knocks on their doors:  “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” -1 Corinthians 10:13
  • Grow into men and women of integrity who “never tire of doing what is right.”  -2 Thessalonians 3:13 
  • Honor their and their future spouses’ sexual purity until they are married:  “Flee from sexual immorality.  All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore, honor God with your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:18-20
  • Trust their parents as we do our best to “train them in the way they should grow so that when they are old, they will not turn from it.” –Proverbs 22:6

Secondly, I will pray for my marriage.  My husband and I will be married 13 years this June.  We have had many ups and downs over the years and are currently climbing out of another valley.  We overcome one obstacle, and other takes its place.

My prayers will be focused on breakthrough.  There is a wall between us, built mostly by my actions and words to him over the past few years.  There have been other walls in the past we have successfully razed:  in-laws, children, others.  This one, I believe, is called pride.  I want to break it down.  I want to completely demolish it, turn the stones to dust, and cast them to the wind.

I am really excited about what God is going to do through my fasting.  I am confident God will do mighty things.  He will:

  • Reveal hidden sin in my life.
  • Break down barriers in my relationships.
  • Heal old wounds.
  • Help me to be a better wife, parent, and friend.

 I will:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is
 and walk in it,
 and (I) will find rest for (my) soul.”
-Jeremiah 6:16

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25 02 2011
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A Call To Fast…

[…]Recent Posts. A Cal to Fast ? Giving to God (first, last, or not at al?) Budgeting for Beginers[…]…

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