We don’t do a lot of talking on “spiritual disciplines.” And one spiritual discipline that doesn’t get much attention is fasting. The purpose of a dedicated period of prayer and fasting is to humble ourselves before God, seek His will, and ask Him to empower us to do His will. Jesus expected his disciples to fast. In Matthew 6:16 Jesus said, “when you fast” indicating an expectation that his followers would fast. So, as requested by a reader, here are a few of my thought on fasting. BIBLICAL REASONS FOR FASTING
To bring the body under control (1 Corinthians 9:27).
To receive understanding and insight (Daniel 9; 10:2-3; Luke 2:37).
To sorrow over sin. (Daniel 9; Acts 9:9; 1 Samuel 7:6).
To begin a new work for God (Matthew 4:2ff; Exodus 34:27-28; Acts 12:2-3).
To empower us (Esther 4:15-16; Matthew 9:15-17).
To seek the will of God (Acts 13:2).
To humble ourselves before God (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).
To be heard by God (Esra 8:53; Jonah 3).
To change God’s mind (Jonah 3:5,10; 1 Kings 21:27-29).
HOW TO FAST (Warnings: Do not fast if you are….)
Taking certain medications with food.
Receiving treatment for an eating disorder.
Fasting for the praise of men (Matthew 6:16-18).
EXAMPLES OF HOW LONG TO FAST
One day (Leviticus23:27, 1 Samuel 14:24; Nehemiah 9:1).
Three days (1 Samuel 30:12, Acts 9:9).
Seven days (1 Samuel 31:11-13).
Fourteen days (Daniel 10:2-3).
Three weeks (Daniel 10:2-3).
Forty days (Exodus 34:28; Matthew 4:1-2).
Fast from television or other entertainment (Daniel 6:18).
Fast from certain food groups, including bread, sweets, fast foods, cokes or meat (Daniel 1).
Abstain from sex with your spouse, by agreement only (1 Corinthians 7).
PRACTICAL FASTING TIPS
Usual meal time should be replaced by Bible study and prayer.
If you have never fasted before, begin with a short fast.
Fasts longer than one day should include water and/or unsweetened fruit juices.
Avoid vigorous exercise during your fast.
Longer fasts are best accomplished with an accountability partner.
Expects some light-headedness, bad breath, and irritability, particularly with longer fasts.
When fasting longer than three days, seek medical advice.
Today, July 4th, my friend Sargent Jon James fights for my freedom in Iraq. Today is also Jon’s birthday.
Jon, my prayer is that you are able to get online today. Because I want you to know that although you’re a long way from home, today I think of you and today I thank you. Thanks for being my friend and thanks for being my hero. Today, as always, I pray God will keep you safe. Happy 4th of July and Happy Birthday, Jon.
A long time ago someone handed me an index card that said “Don’t just pray, pray dangerously.” I’ve always been curious about how to pray dangerously, because so many of my prayers are “me” centered. I sometimes present my prayers to God like they are a Christmas list, “Lord, here are the things I want.”
Let me challenge you to pray some dangerous prayers this week. Ask God for some things that will spice up your spiritual life. Pray any of these 5 dangerous prayers and see what happens.
SEARCH ME(Psalm 139:1, 23) – How many times do we look at others sins, others problems and other screw ups and not see our own. David asks God to search him and show him any thing that’s offensive in his life. And the more I learn about myself the more I realize there are so many areas of my life still not fully surrendered to God. Ask God to “search you” this week.
BREAK ME(Psalm 139:24) – “Lord, if you find any offensive way in me … break me.” One of the ways we grow spiritually is through our brokenness. My life is full of worldly things that I have allowed to become “acceptable” because others do it, but God sees as sin. Break me in these areas, Lord.
STRETCH ME (or Test Me) (Psalm 139:23) – The strongest Christians I know are those that have been stretched and tested. Just like companies test there products to see their weaknesses, so also our testing can do the same. In the book of Acts we find the apostles and the church being stretched and tested, it made them stronger. Show us our weaknesses Lord, so we can become stronger in them.
LEAD ME (Psalms 139:24) – Asking God to take your life and lead you is a HUGE risk. Because His plans for us may be different (and better) than our own plans for us. Just ask Abraham what it means to have God lead you (Genesis 12). God told Abraham He wanted him to move, and when Abraham asked, “where,” God said, “You pack and let me lead you and I’ll let you know when we get there.” Wow, risky, but what an amazing adventure.
USE ME – It’s exciting to make yourself available to God so that He can touch someone else through you. “Use me” is a dangerous prayer that creates adventure. Oh, how I want to be used by God, but to be used, I wonder if I first must allow Him to search me, break me, test me, stretch me, and lead me.
Want to spice up your spiritual life? Pray a dangerous prayer this week.
What an amazing day. The day started off with worship to God and ended with serving others. Our WATS (We Are The Sermon) day went great. About 100 came and worked for 3 plus hours cleaning, cutting, mowing, raking, hoeing and serving the community. I was amazed that there were around ten trailers full of junk hauled off in such a short amount of time.
I’m proud of my Childress family. I’m proud of how hard they work to show others who they are and who God is (John 13:34-35). Thank you Childress church for the sweat, effort and labor you gave tonight. And, we give God all the glory.
We’re doing a WATS (We Are The Sermon) service this Sunday. Instead of having a Sunday evening service and sermon we’re going to take the sermon to the community. We’ll be going out Sunday afternoon working in the community and showing the sermon to others. I think it’s going to be awesome watching the church […]
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Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.
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