Our spiritual discipline for January, as we seek Jesus anew, is repenting and fasting. Our congregation will begin the new year by learning about fasting and its place in our Christian walk, and by experiencing fasting as a community.
Dallas Willard says that fasting “teaches us a lot about ourselves very quickly” (p. 166, The Spirit of the Disciplines). Richard Foster echoes that: “More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us” (Celebration of Discipline, p. 55). Fasting can be a very effective way to remind us that we need to find out ultimate security and resources in God.
On three Tuesdays of January, we invite the congregation to join in an intentional fast. The main goal is for us to be in the unity of the Spirit, seeking Jesus, spending time in the Word, and in prayer for our Church and for other specific purposes listed below.
Pray and ask God what would be most useful for you to fast from.
- Media: TV, internet, newspapers, magazines, social media, cell/smart phones, non-critical e-mails, etc.
- Activities: Listening to radio/music, gossip, negative words, speaking at all, social engagements, workouts, shopping, socializing at work, etc.
- Food: Sweets, red meat, all meat, everything except very simple foods (like nuts, fruits and vegetables) or everything except juice and/or water.
Be intentional about how you will spend extra time with God. Can you get up a little earlier? Perhaps you can find a quiet place to take a lunch break where you work. Maybe you can be deliberate about meditating during your commute. Leave more margins in your day so you can focus and listen to God without the usual hurry.
Fasting is a discipline that is learned and must be practiced. Be patient and know there is no condemnation. If you are fasting from food and feel the need to eat something, eat a small portion of fruits or vegetables or crackers. Then continue on with your fast. Don’t allow the Enemy to discourage you!
Here are helpful ways to prepare for your fast:
- Make sure your heart is right
- Choose the type of fast
- Be expectant
- Prepare for a one-day fast the day before and end the day after by eating smaller portions and lighter foods
- If you eat, prepare your meals before your fast day
- Be ready for any struggle with the Enemy
- May experience: body-eliminating toxins (bad breath, white film on tongue), hunger pains, headaches, irritability or emotional outbursts
- Consult your doctor before fasting if you have health issues
- Never fast if you had/have issues with eating disorders, or if you are pregnant or nursing
We want to keep these special purposes in mind as we fast and pray:
- January 14 – Renewal of our dependence on God
- January 21 – Racial reconciliation
- January 28 – Support of single parents’ ministry
Join us on this adventure as we fast and pray to begin 2014, seeking Jesus anew.
Judie Ritchie, Associate Pastor