Welcome back to Week 4 of the Making Your Home a Haven Series! This is our final week! And this week is not an easy one. While fasting is sweet to the soul, it does have unpleasant side effects. It requires discipline but I can guarantee you the blessings –far surpass the temporary pain.
This week’s Spiritual Focus is Fasting and Solitude.
Last November my heart was heavy going into the holiday season and so I chose a passage of scripture from Psalms and I began meditating on it every morning. Alongside my meditation, I decided to also fast my morning breakfast every day in the month of November and instead of eating, I prayed all morning long. Thankfully, a friend of mine joined me for the last half of November or I don’t think I would have made it to November 30th. Her accountability helped. I was surprised how hungry I was everyday by 11:59am!
So it’s November once again and last week most of us enjoyed a great feast of food for Thanksgiving Day.
So this week, let’s feast our soul on God through fasting and prayer.
You can choose to do a 24 hour fast or fast one meal a day for 7 days in a row or fast from something like social media, screen time, shopping or whatever you choose.
What is fasting?
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that feeds our soul while we starve our body.
Every time our mind signals “I want food” it’s a signal to pray.
Giving up food from sun down to sun down is not easy but for me, my coffee and Diet Coke are the hardest things to deny myself for 24 hours!
But how hungry for God are we?
John Piper writes in A Hunger For God:
“When midmorning comes and you want food so badly that the thought of lunch becomes as sweet as summer vacation, then suddenly you realize, “Oh, I forgot, I made a commitment. I can’t have that pleasure. I’m fasting for lunch too.”
Then what are you going to do with all the unhappiness inside?
Formerly, you blocked it out with the hope of a tasty lunch. The hope of food gave you the good feelings to balance out the bad feelings. But now the balance is off. You must find another way to deal with it.”(pg.20)
Fasting is a servant.
In its quiet moments, it brings out our soul’s struggles. The hope of a bag of chips or a gallon of ice cream to drown our sorrows out is stripped away and we find ourselves raw before God’s throne.
On days of fasting for me, I do not watch any television and have minimal computer time or texting. Sometimes I do it with a friend, so we will text and email each other encouragement. But otherwise, it’s a quiet day. There is nothing and no one to conceal my dark feelings and it is there, before God’s throne, that I find time and time again, indeed God is enough.
In the Bible, we see many great men and women of God participating in fasting and prayer. There’s David, all the Jews with Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Anna, Paul, Barnabas and of course Jesus, our ultimate example, in the wilderness for 40 days (Matt. 4:2).
Have you ever gone on a fast?
Here’s a few of my tips for a 24 Hour Fast
1. Look at your calendar and pick a day where you are home most of the day.
2. I like to go from sundown to sundown, which means an early supper in the winter time on day 1 but the next evening it is such a joy to break the fast with family!
3. Fasting is not to impress God or others. Fasting was created by God as a tool to bring us into a closer relationship with him.
4. Without prayer, fasting is simply a diet. Be sure to commit to praying and meditating.
5. If you are a mom of little ones, have the kids join in some of your prayer times. Also try to line up quiet activities for them to do so you can break away for pockets of prayer times. I will admit, lunch time and afternoon snack time can be a beast but you can do it!
Are you hungry for God?
“Sometimes you are so hungry, the only way to be fed is to fast.”
~Susan Gregory, The Daniel Fast
Week 4 – Challenge
Seek out a place of solitude to care for your soul. Get alone with God out on your porch, on a walk in your neighborhood or take a bubble bath. Sit still and be alone with God.
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
So let’s get started!
If you are not able to fast from food because you are pregnant or have a medical condition, fast from something else like social media, music, your computer or television. Instead, use the extra quietness to pray. ????
**Share with us – Have you fasted before? Are you fasting this week? What type of fast are you doing?
Enjoy your week with the Lord!!
***If you are looking for the next Bible Study announcement – check back mid-December. 😉
For daily encouragement during this challenge
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