How Then Shall I Fast
“We at Desert Stream Ministries are positioning ourselves before Christ Crucified for 40-days of prayer, from October 15th to November 23rd. Our purpose is to welcome Him afresh into our depths, that we might more nearly grasp His heart for the one He loves most, the Church, His bride. For each of the 40-days, the Desert Stream staff will pray at 3pm CST for specific themes and needs. Will you prayerfully consider joining us? ” Andrew Comiskey
“First, let fasting be done unto the Lord with our eye singly fixed on Him. Let our intention herein be this and this alone, to glorify our Father which is in heaven.” John Wesley
As Wesley beautifully states, fasting is about the Lord: to glorify Him and join with Him in prayer on behalf of His purposes. Whatever sacrifice we make is unto more time to be in His presence and pray. This sounds wonderfully easy. Yet following these clear and simple guidelines requires forethought, grace and discipline!
Now is a good time to begin to pray and consider what type of fast the Lord is asking of you.
What might you give up in order to give God room to make your heart more like His? He may be inviting and challenging you to sacrifice beyond what you feel able. This might involve you fasting on water and a minimal amount of food.
A water fast requires major adjustments in one’s schedule, allowing adequate time to rest and planning to do less physically and socially.
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook lists some of the things fasting includes:
*abstaining from food, drink, desserts, chocolate, to intentionally be with God.
*abstaining from media: TV, movies, radio, music, email, [Facebook, Twitter], cell phones and computer games to allow space for listening to the voice of Jesus.
*abstaining from habits or comforts: elevators, reading, shopping and sports in order to give undivided attention to God.
I have also heard pastors call their congregants to fast criticism, judgment and cynicism; a fast we could all benefit from, especially if we turn instead to Scripture and prayer.
The encouraging and challenging truth is that we all can fast in some way. We each have something we can abstain from for forty days in order to pray and spend more time with God. Remember, our self-denial is “in order to intentionally attend to God in prayer.” Calhoun, p 218
Fasting clears us out and opens us up to intentionally seeking God’s will and grace in a way that goes beyond normal habits of worship and prayer. While fasting we are one on one with God, offering him the time and attentiveness we might otherwise be giving to eating, shopping or watching television.
Fasting reminds us that we care about “soul” things. We care about the church. We care about the world. We care about doing God’s will. Thus we willingly set aside a little comfort so we can listen and attend to the voice and nourishment of God alone. For God can give us grace and comfort and nurture we cannot get on our own .” Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and be thankful. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ” Col. 3:15, 17