Fasting is about focus. We all live busy and distracted lives. In addition to this, we all still have wandering hearts. Things in our lives rise to levels of importance beyond their true significance.
Fasting can be a divine interruption that God uses to call us back to remember, confess, rest, commit, and celebrate. Fasting is one of the ways God reaches down into our frantic lives and pulls us out to be closer to him. As we fast, we actively humble ourselves and devote energy to prayerfully seeking God’s face. By depriving ourselves of immediate gratification by responding to our appetites, we point ourselves to a greater need - a hunger and a thirst for God.
Fasting and praying acknowledge the truth of Jesus’ declaration: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Fasting puts us in touch with this reality. Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?”
Fasting is not a way to impress God or manipulate him; it is a way for us to turn from our physical appetites and recognize our greater hunger and need for God. As you refrain from eating (or some other time-consuming activity such as TV or computer time), be sure to devote that time to prayer.
So what is fasting? Fasting is giving up food (or something else) to focus on God and your walk with him (see Ps. 35:13; Ezra 8:23; Neh. 1:3–4; Matt. 4:1–11; Luke 2:37). We need to remember two crucial points.
There is no magic in Fasting. Giving up food won’t instantly make you more godly. Fasting allows you to give yourself to other spiritual disciplines that will bear good fruit in your life.
You don’t fast to gain God’s favor but to help bring your life into even greater surrender and appreciation of his favor. Fasting is spiritual warfare; it is one way that God has provided for you to fight for your own heart.
8 Tips for Fasting (from Paul Tripp)
Give yourself to prayer. One of the primary purposes of Fasting is to give yourself more fully to prayer. New prayer routines replace everyday food selection, preparation, and eating patterns, and this more focused communion with God produces some of Fasting’s best fruit.
Don’t make a show of it. Don’t announce it. Pride in Fasting robs Fasting of its spiritual benefit. Seek God; don’t seek the approval of others for seeking God in this way.
Bathe yourself in God’s word. Fasting can give you time to meditate on God’s word. Most of us spend very little time in actual Scriptural meditation in our busy lives. In Christian meditation, you fill your mind with God’s word, chewing it repeatedly until you are digesting spiritual morsels you have never digested before.
Make sure you’re ready. There are no spiritual benefits to damaging your body or putting your health at risk. Make sure you are physically, financially, and situationally prepared for whatever fast period you are about to undertake.
Be quiet before the Lord. Since Fasting is about ceasing participation in a particular thing, your fast shouldn’t be filled with activity. Fasting is a time to wait on the Lord. Waiting is not about what you get at the end of the wait but, more importantly, about what you become as you wait.
Confess what has been revealed. As you seek God in prayer, meditate on his word, and are quiet before him, the Lord will reveal your heart. Fasting is a way to fight the spiritual blindness that affects us all. So be ready to confess new areas of sin, weakness, and failure that God has revealed as you have fasted.
Make new commitments. If confession is turning from the old way, then commitment is turning your heart and life to God’s new and better way. At the end of your fast, think about where God is calling you to new commitments of faith and discipleship where you live and work every day.
Be thankful. Thank God for how Fasting indicates his welcoming, patient, perseverant love, continually drawing you into even closer, more heart-satisfying communion with him. Receive God’s welcome to fight for your heart and to learn to rest in the grace of your Savior more thoroughly and more deeply. You will be glad you did.
Union with God - Puritan Henry Scougal wrote, “Christians know by experience that true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature.”
Prayer: Jesus, show me how to cooperate with you. Unite with every part of me that is not yet united with you. Integrate my entire being into one, whole person united with you. I pray for a complete union with you throughout my being. For you alone are my salvation, and I ask you for the salvation that is truly salvation right here. I ask for your holiness here. In your name.
For deeper study - Resilient, by John Eldredge
Commitment to His mission - At the heart of the great commission is the call to make disciples - investing prolonged, real-life, day-in, day-out, intentional time with younger believers to personally grow them into maturity, as well as a model for them how to disciple others in the same way.
Father, fan into flame the global body of Christ so that its heartbeat for the Great Commission beats strongly. Transform us as we read your Word and pray for the good news of Jesus to be amplified as a song of praise in our lives. Use us in our homes, workplaces, ministries, nations, and world for the sake of loving God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and loving our neighbors with all the grace and mercy you give. Give us specific people to invest in and give us the boldness and patience to walk with them. In your name.
For deeper study - Finish the Mission, by John Piper & David Mathis
The future of Awakening Church - To God be the glory! Jesus is building His Church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. He has given us a love for Him and one another that will continue to grow and express itself throughout eternity. I believe He is going to continue to use this church to reach and disciple more people both locally and globally. What a privilege to work together to carry out the will of our Lord and Savior.
Father, I thank You for the gift of the local church! It has been the conduit of many blessings in my life. But I realize that its blessing upon me is secondary to Your design that it be a blessing to You. I pray that You would grant Your protection from the enemy over Awakening Church. By your grace, help us to guard against attacks from without and against division from within. "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen”(Ephesians 3:20-21).
For deeper study - I am a church member, by Thom Rainer