Thursday, September 10, 2009

36 Hour Fast

From 8PM last night until 8AM tomorrow morning - our church is participating in a fast. We are preparing to go through the New Testament Challenge for the next 12 weeks, and this fast is a way for us to open ourselves up to receive God and let him change us from the inside out.

Our discussion last night was mainly about what a fast is by definition and how it would work. I thought I'd share the notes from last night's service with you - just for your own reference.

What is fasting? Abstaining from anything to concentrate (focus) on the scripture (Word).

What are the Biblical examples of fasting?

The Disciple Fast – Breaking free from the bonds of wickedness – Isaiah 58:6

The Ezra Fast – For “undoing heavy burdens”

The Samuel Fast – To bring about revival & free those in bondage (This is the fast that we are doing)

The Elijah Fast – To undo mental & physical anguish

The Widows Fast – To meet humanitarian needs

The Paul Fast – To seek God’s guidance in decision-making

The Daniel Fast – For improvement of health or well-being

The John the Baptist Fast – To enhance your testimony

The Esther Fast – To protect us from the Evil One

Entering Into a Samuel Fast

Step One: Join Together

Step Two: Confess Sin

Step Three: Demonstrate True Repentance

Step Four: Acknowledge the Power of the Word

Remember, we cannot by our actions force God to do anything. We simply use our time of fasting as our personal expression of our brokenness before God.

What should our fast look like? Water only unless you have a medical condition that requires you consume food to take medication or to sustain life (such as diabetes). Listen to your body and if during the 36 hour fast you feel you body needs food, do not ignore it. You will feel hungry, but if you start feeling ill, light headed or just generally bad you shouldn’t continue the fast. You may be able to use protein shakes to substitute for real food if you desire to try to continue.

What can we expect during the fast? Temptation. If you are at the office, don’t be surprised if it is someone’s birthday. If you have a “dependence” on caffeine, don’t be surprised if you are tempted by someone to consume something other than water. Satan will be tempting you because he knows as humans we are weak.

What will be the results? The obvious results will be that after the fast, your stomach will shrink. Don’t try to eat too much immediately following. You should take things slow and work your way back up to normal portion sizes. The other result should be a closeness to God.

What should we pray?

God, change me.
Expand my testimony and my influence.
Root out sin in my life and help me to abstain from it in the days following the fast.
God change my Church.
Heal sickness, heal marriages, as well as relationships.
Make our Church a Church that makes a difference.
God, affect our community through CFF.

Scripture References on Fasting

Examples:
Moses (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9, 18), David (2 Samuel 12:16), Elijah (1 Kings 19:8), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4), Esther (Esther 4:16), Daniel (Daniel 1:12), Anna (Luke 2:37), Paul (Acts 14:23), Jesus (Matthew 4:1-2)

Jesus on Fasting:
Example: Matthew 4:1-2
Teaching: Matthew 6:1-18; Matthew 9:15

Paul on Fasting:
1 Corinthians 7:5

Purposes of Fasting:
Zechariah 7:5; 1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Samuel 12:16, Acts 14:23; Acts 13:2; Daniel 1:12

So for most of our church, they are resolving to only consume water for the remainder of the fast. Since I am a diabetic, and have to take medications with food - I chose to fast from other things... I'm cutting out sweets, but my main fast is a partial media fast... I'm fasting from Facebook.

You might think that is silly, but if you have spent any time on Facebook - and have been sucked into any of those little games... you'll understand what I'm doing more. I'm taking the day and every time I would have gone to check on one of those silly games... I'll be praying instead.

I will also be focusing on work stuff, as I'm taking tomorrow off to get ready for the craft fair - and need to get some things around here squared away before leaving early today.

On a sad note, please keep my dear friend Renee in your prayers right now. She is going through something very painful and tragic - and my heart goes out to her.