Saturday, January 9, 2010

To Fast or Not to Fast?

Filipinos loves to eat! Some even live to eat rather than eat to live... To fast means to run away from our passions(like eating) and run towards God expecting Him to strengthen us. Its like saying "Lord I gave up food, but fill me with Your presence."

We fast from food to feast with God.

Here are some guidelines:

1. WHY SHOULD WE FAST?
* Fasting exposes our heart
* Fasting expresses our hunger for God
* We fast for guidance/direction
Lord stop confirming what I like, instead show me what You want in my life. (tough prayer huh!)
* We fast for healing
Our ball game is to PRAY! It's God's call to answer or not. Let's do our part!
* We fast to intercede for the nation
* We fast for help to break sin bondages
Isaiah 58:6 (New International Version)
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?"

Principle: True fasting turns our attention off ourselves and unto God.

2. WHY SHOULD WE NOT FAST?
* Fasting is not to provoke God to love us more
* Fasting is not a "get-rich scheme" to holiness
* Fasting is not a substitute for obedience
1 Samuel 15:22 (New International Version)
"But Samuel replied: Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."
* Fasting is not a means to loose weight

Principle: Fasting is not meant to change God! It is meant to change us!

3. DANGERS OF FASTING
* Legalism and Spiritual Pride
Matthew 6:16 (New International Version)
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full."

4. PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF FASTING
* How long will you commit to fast?
* What type of fast will you take? (water, liquid, one meal a day or even things that's taking our time for God like internet, activities, games etc.
* How much time will you spend in prayer?

5. REWARDS OF FASTING
A deeper intimacy in our relationship with God.
Matthew 6:17-18 (New International Version)
"But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

Principle: Simply becoming more intimate with God as we fast is the precious and priceless reward.
-- A message from Pastor Jess in preparation for the coming prayer and fasting week.

Honestly I've never taught of fasting that way... I came with an anxious heart but went home with an excited spirit and a heart full of joy, expecting God to do great things as I consecrate myself to Him.

Lastly here's a must read article about preparation for a prayer and fasting.

No comments: