After yesterday’s sermon, I realized that fasting is somewhat foreign to many of our people. Someone approached me after the sermon and said they had never heard a sermon on fasting in the 23 years they’ve been a Christian. Wow! If something like that is true for you, don’t despair, you are not alone. For whatever reason, I was exposed to fasting early in my Christian life through the writings of Dallas Willard and Richard Foster. Being a little more familiar with it, I think I assumed too much in my sermon Sunday. I realized I may have failed to explain exactly what you are to be doing when you are actually fasting. What takes the place of food?
As I said in the sermon, fasting is feasting on God alone. He becomes our food in fasting. However, there are some practical things you can do when the hunger pangs hit, or when the lunch break starts. What we mainly should be attempting to do is meditate and pray. Here are some ways you may want to do that throughout the day and when you have some down time:
Attempt to read 2-4 chapters in a small amount of time. Don’t skim and don’t rush. But set a good pace, think through each sentence, and absorb several chapters within 10-15 minutes. I would suggest Romans 5-8, Psalm 1-10, entire letters of Philippians, Colossians, or 1Peter, Isaiah 53-55, Ruth, or Revelation 2-3. Once you have read, write down few things that stuck out to you, and turn them into prayers of worship, praise, confession, or thanksgiving. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- What does this text tell me about God that I can praise Him for?
- What does this text tell me about myself that I can confess?
- How does Jesus ultimately fulfill this text and answer this sin?
- What does God want me to ask of Him based on this text?
Thank Him that you are saved through the grace of Christ, not through your performance, therefore you can believe/obey/embrace the truth of this text.
Take one small passage like Psalm 23:1, Romans 8:1, Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 3:1-4, John 6:27, or some other passage that you’ve come across lately in your reading, and pore over the passage. Read it several times; to yourself and aloud. Read slowly, pausing over each word, thinking deeply about it. As you read, emphasize a different word each time through. Ask why that word was used rather than another. Think how the text would be different if a certain word were left out. Then answer these questions about the text:
- What is the basic truth of this text?
- What can I adore God for this?
- What sins occur when I forget the truth of this text? What do I hope in/rely on/trust more than Jesus that causes this sin?
- How is Jesus the ultimate fulfiller of this text or answer to this sin?
- What do I need from God to realize this truth in my life?
- Why is God showing me this truth today?
- What would my life look like if this truth became explosively true in my inner being?
Thank Him that you are saved through the grace of Christ, not your performance, therefore you can believe/obey/embrace the truth of this text.
During times when you would normally be eating, use the time to “scope in” some specific prayers. Make a list of a few prayers you want to see God visibly answer over the next few days, weeks, or months.
Chew On One Verse or Truth
Another option is to take one verse or one attribute of God, and chew on it all day. As many times as you can, think through it, pray through it, ponder it, say it to yourself, and let it become alive to you.
These are just some suggestions, you may want to use some of your own methods. The point is simply for us to commune with God and allow Him to be our food. I hope you will try this as well as be present for our 627 Prayer Service.
Praying and Fasting,