How many times have I started something with such great enthusiasm only to sputter out in the end? Let me count the ways! You know what I am talking about. You started this year with a number of goals that you want to accomplish before 2011 is over. The only problem is, you did the same thing last year and the year before that. I have always said, most of us are great sprinters–we are not great distance runners. Starting the new year off with fasting and prayer has the same effect. I remember three years ago how excited people were to be participants in the 21 days of fasting and prayer. Now, three years later, the excitement is there for some but not for others. Well, I know how we humans are; we like ideas, just not implementation of ideas. We love to suggest, just don’t ask the one suggesting to carry it out. It is my hope and prayer that each person who takes time to read this blog will be encouraged to carry on.
Today, I want to share some tips on making this 21 days of fasting and prayer successful. It does not take long to see that there are a number of scriptures concerning fasting. For example, Matthew 6:16-18 states, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
The question is raised, “Why do we fast?” It is important that we understand why we called this fast. Just as the men of Issachar, we understand the times and the seasons we are in, and we are wanting to know what to do about it. The reasons for fasting are many. For JWC let me list a few for you to think about.
1. We are fasting because we want to humble ourselves in the sight of God, knowing that He alone will lift us up
2. We desire to draw closer to God. He said, draw near to me and I will draw near to you…
3. We need to have a better understanding of the Word of God for our lives.
4. To become unified as a body to fulfill the purpose God has for us as a congregation. To understand the Will of God and direction. The leadership of our congregation needs to know the leading of the Holy Spirit.
5. We are fasting for the healing of those around us and for ourselves. Healing, physically, emotionally, Spiritually.
6. We are fasting and interceding for the needs of others. Our family and friends future depends on our willingness to stand in the gap for them.
The point I wish to make here is simple; when you join the fast, remember it is a distance run not a sprint. Waiting on God to do what He promised can seem like a marathon. Stay with it and allow the Holy Spirit to direct you. Perhaps you have a list of reason’s why you are fasting. This blog is a great place to share them. I hope you will and remember, the fast God has chosen for you.