Sunday we mentioned several tools to help you REALIGN with God.
2. Reading Plan
3. Thru The Bible Network
4. Fasting Challenge
HOW TO BEGIN
Set your objective. Start with a clear goal. Be specific. Why are you fasting? Do you need spiritual renewal, guidance, physical healing, the restoration of a marriage or your family, grace to handle a difficult situation, a financial breakthrough? Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. This will enable you to pray specifically and strategically.
Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the Holy Spirit will stir our souls, awaken our church and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14-15. Make this a priority in your fasting.
It is also important for you to prepare your body for the upcoming fast. Eat smaller amounts of food before starting your fast. Avoid high fat and “sugary” foods. You may want to eat raw fruits and vegetables two days before starting your fast.
The foundation of prayer and fasting is repentance. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
Confess every sin the Holy Spirit brings to your mind. Accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Ask forgiveness from everyone you have hurt or offended. Forgive all of those who have hurt or offended you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3-4).
Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Surrender your life fully to the purpose and plan of God (Romans 12:1-2).
Believe that God “rewards those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan will usually intensify his efforts when you devote yourself to prayer and fasting (Luke 4).
Develop an accountability partner who will encourage you in your fast.
Keep a journal during your fast. Write down specific insights God gives you from His Word, promises that you have claimed and answers to prayer that you receive.
Make Your Commitment
The type of fast you go on is between you and God. Jesus implied that all believers should fast (Matthew 6:16-18; 9:14-15). For Him it was a matter of when believers should fast, not if they should fast.
Decide the following up front:
1. How long you will fast – one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days (beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts)
2. The type of fast God wants you to undertake (such as water only, water and juices, Daniel fast) and/or refraining from Starbucks, eating out, or cutting out all sweets and soda.
3. What physical or social activities you will restrict
4. How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God’s word
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.
Here are some options:
A Normal (Full) Fast – Abstain from food, drink only liquids (water and / or specific juices).
Should you choose to drink juices during your fast, the best juices are from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery or leafy green vegetables. Avoid any liquids containing caffeine, as they will stimulate your appetite and make fasting more difficult.
The Daniel Fast – Abstain from meats and sweets, drink only water. (Unseasoned vegetables and most natural fruits are acceptable.)
Combination Fast – Begin the first three days with a full or normal fast. Observing the remaining days of the fast with the Daniel Fast.
Note: If you are on medication or have a medical condition, you may want to consult your doctor before beginning your fast. Also, anyone engaging in a prolonged full fast should consult with their doctor.
Deciding on what kind of fast you will observe ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon your fast.
DANIEL FAST RECOMMENDED FOODS
WHOLE GRAINS: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley
LEGUMES: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas
FRUITS: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon, etc
VEGETABLES: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Ginger Root, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini
Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts
LIQUIDS: Water (as much as possible), Unsweetened Soy Milk, Herbal (caffeine free) Tea, Natural Fruit Juices (no sugar added)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (small quantities), honey
WHAT TO EXPECT
When you fast your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability as your body withdraws from caffeine and sugars. Naturally, you will experience hunger pains. Most individuals also experience bad breath. Avoid chewing gum or breath mints, as they will stimulate your appetite.
Limit your physical activity. Exercise moderately. Take time to rest.
Fasting can position you to experience miraculous results. You are following the example of Jesus when you fast.
IMPORTANT: For maximum spiritual benefit, it is important that the time normally devoted to eating be given to prayer, Bible study and being alone with God. Pray often throughout the day. Spend time in Bible Study. Make personal praise and worship a priority. Spend time in solitude and get away from every distraction possible (television, radio, cell phones, computers, etc.) The more time you spend with alone God, the more effective and meaningful your fast will be.
While You Fast
Your time of fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from certain foods and have begun to seek the Lord. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider;
1. Exercise moderately. Take walks us this time in prayer
2. Rest as your schedule will permit, remember your not eating the way your body is use to so you may be fatigued in the beginning.
3. Prepare yourself for some temporary mental discomfort, such as impatience, crankiness.
4. Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the “blahs”. Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness.
The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast, you will likely experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger pains, increase your liquid intake.
Get on a schedule for Personal Growth:
For maximum spiritual benefit set aside ample time to be with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him the more meaningful your fast will be. Below is an example of a routine that if followed throughout our 40 days will become a lifestyle for you.
Morning (spend at least 15 minutes)
Begin your day in praise and worship.
Read and meditate on God’s word preferably on your knees.
Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.
Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your church, your community, your country and beyond.
Noon (spend at least 15 minutes)
Return to prayer and God’s word
Take a short prayer walk
Spend time intercessory prayer for your community’s and nation’s leaders, for the world’s unreached millions, for your family or special needs.
Evening (spend at least 20 minutes)
Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.”
Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.
For Corporate prayer growth:
If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer. This could be your family, small group, your church.
When possible, begin and end each day on your knees for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God. If you are married take this time together.
Breaking Your Fast
When your designated time for fasting is finished in this case 40 days spend time in praise and worship, you will begin to eat again. How you break your fast is extremely important for your physical and spiritual well being.
How to end you fast
When you begin eating, begin eating gradually. Do not overeat. Suddenly reintroducing solid foods to your digestive system will probably produce negative results. Introduce solid foods gradually. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day if you end your fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.