When it comes to the success of a New Year’s resolution, I am convinced that fasting and prayer can be an integral part of helping give shape to fulfilling your WORD that God gives you. Fasting rids us of all distractions so that we can truly engage in focused conversation with God about your WORD, and let Him narrow your focus and help you chart a course to see your WORD fulfilled. (If you haven’t read the previous post about finding your WORD, click HERE! All the posts following will guide you through a process to help you posture yourself to be successful! Definitely, a MUST read!)
Fasting has been a widely experienced and common practice in various cultures for centuries, and yet many today find it irrelevant and unnecessary. In reality, fasting is the most comprehensive means for overall cleansing and wellness. And for me, fasting postures me with a spiritual sensitivity to hear God speak like no other discipline.
Fasting postures us with a spiritual sensitivity to hear God speak.
[note: it’s fasting and prayer; the time we free up not eating is to be time bowed down on our knees]
Fasting is best defined as a going without (usually food) for deeper, more spiritual purposes. Some believe that we are physical beings who have a spirit. Based on my study and understanding, we are spiritual beings who have a body. Since the body decays and fades away, the essence of who we are lies in what is eternal, and that is our spirit-being. And as we fast, our spiritual being is refreshed and renewed, which causes our soul and bodies to follow suit.
Here’s what I have found are the benefits of fasting:
1) God gets His rightful place. I begin my 21 days of fasting in January as I believe in the principle of giving God our firsts. Throughout Scripture we are told to give our first fruits to God in His honor. And many of us know Romans 6:33, “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added into you.” God as my Creator, who gives me my purpose, deserves first place. When I fast the first of my year to God, I am giving Him back His rightful place in my life.
2) God develops spiritual sensitivity in you. Remember my blog about the 5 Musts for Accomplishing Your Goals? (Click HERE to read) #2 was ELIMINATE anything that restricts your WORD. Fasting enables you to de-clutter your life, your heart, and your body. Most importantly, your spirit becomes uncluttered by the world and makes you more sensitive to the things of God. Because we are spiritual beings who have a body, it is our spirits that need to be uncluttered and unhindered. Often, the circumstances of life can leave us desensitized, despondent, and disinterested…sometimes downright discouraged! Fasting eliminates these hindrances, so that we are able to embrace the deeper living with Jesus that we desire.
3) God dethrones whatever dominates you. In Jentezen Franklin’s book “Fasting” (which I re-read each January….and if you want to know more about fasting, it is a great resource!) (click HERE to purchase), he refers to our stomachs as “King Stomach” and our need to dethrone it. We must overthrow our appetites that have long led us down a pathway further from God and further from accomplishing the purposes for which we were created. Since Adam and Eve, our physical desires, our hunger, has gotten us in a bunch of trouble! Since God made us with a very specific purpose and destiny in mind, He is the only One who needs to lead. After all, He’s the One who knows where we are going!!! Fasting releases our allegiance to our physical desires of instant gratification and opens the door of Lordship to be guided by God’s perfect timing.
4) God prepares your body for service. If God made you with a specific destiny in mind, you must keep your body in shape so that you are physically able to do what God asks of you. Fasting rids your body of unhealthy toxins that contaminate your body. A Daniel fast (following the diet of Daniel in the Bible) consists of water (and lots of it!) and fruits and vegetables. No dairy, no breads, and no sweets. Your digestive tract will thank you as will your skin! Many believe that fasting slows down the aging process! At 51, I like that thought! Many have concluded that fasting also lowers blood pressure and helps lower cholesterol levels! And finally, fasting can also sharpen your mental ability to focus! Fasting prepares our bodies to be healthy and ready for all that is to come in the year ahead!
5) God’s blessings, favor, and promises are realized. I oftentimes think I ought to leave this one off because it lends itself to the wrong motivation in fasting. We don’t fast to get. We fast to give more of ourselves to God. However, God does make promises in His Word as a result of our fasting. Fasting opens you up to hear God more clearly. He gives you fresh vision….your WORD…..with clear purpose! It’s what we are after in our New Year’s resolutions! Fasting prepares the pathway for our resolutions to be accompllished!
This is why I dethrone my stomach for 21 days and I encourage you to prayerfully consider doing the same! We only have this one life to live. Why not live it giving yourselves fully to God and His purposes for you? Clear out the clutter and get focused on God’s plans for you, and watch this next year be one of great prosper in a multiplicity of ways!
[my home church begins our corporate 21 Days of fasting and prayer, January 7-27; we livestream each day from 6am-7am, or you can watch it later that day after 9am; worship, the word, and then corporate prayer time; its awesome! To find out more, click HERE!]
[If you missed the post about discovering your WORD for the year, click HERE! And if you want to know the value of looking back, in order to be ready for this next year, click HERE! And if you need a study to give you some structure in your time with the Lord, go to the store HERE!]
[AND if you live in the Birmingham area, join us at one of our three locations for The Deeper Gathering, a weekly gathering of women from all walks of life, as we GROW together so we can GO together and make impact in our city! To find out more, click HERE!!!]