Monday, September 30, 2013

Day One: Fast and Pray

Day One: Fast and Pray
I’m a Christian and I like to begin all adventures with fasting and praying. You may have just rolled your eyes, but before you pretend gag yourself and think I’m going to go all religious and weird on you, let me explain what fasting is, why I do it, and what fasting most definitely is not. Then I would ask you all to join me in a time of fasting and prayer.
1.                What is fasting?

Abstaining from food and drink for a period of time.

2.                Why fast?

To draw closer to God,
To ask for direction,
To ask God to meet a specific need.

Please note, this is not a command to fast, but a hope that you would link hearts with me before we embark. Here is a short list of people in the Bible who have inspired me to fast in times of need: Jesus, the Disciples, Esther, King Jehoshaphat.

3.                HOW AND WHY do I fast?

When I fast, I can typically fast and pray for a whole day. Honestly, I find it very difficult to set aside more than an entire day to fast and pray without getting super grouchy and losing the whole point for fasting in the first place. I only drink water when I fast—no food, no smoothies, and no sugar free food. I also try not to do any strenuous activity when I fast because then my blood sugar drops dramatically and then I turn into a big ol’ mess.

I have fasted for a variety of reasons. I have fasted for help with finances, career decisions, and battles with emotions, etc. I fast as a way to take some time to stop, quiet everything going on in my head, and to symbolically tell God that He is all I need to sustain me. It is my way of telling him that I believe that He will provide all of my needs, both spiritual and physical. I don’t think of fasting as a magic potion or super salve for all of my problems, but it does give me a timeout to look at my problems from a new perspective. It often gives me direction on how to face them. It does give me a hope that God hears me and will send me help to get through!

4.   Biblical Reasons for Fasting

STOP AND STAND STILL SO YOU CAN see and hear from god
II Chronicles 20 
King Jehoshaphat got some seriously bad news and called a community fast. The bad news: A foreign invasion army was headed his way. He had some choices: Panic, Terror, Fear, Running Away, Offering a Surrender in exchange for mercy… the list goes on. Instead he chose to call a community fast. The kingdom assembled with their wives, children, and families. (v.13) This is a little bit of what they’re prayer sounded like, “O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” (v.12, NLT) Encouragement came very quickly. A man standing in the crowd, Jahaziel, had the honor of speaking the word of encouragement. He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (v.15 NLT). He then proceeded to tell the assembly what to do next. “But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!” (v.17) 

Even though many of you are probably not facing an invading army, your everyday problems may feel like an invading army. So before we tackle dreams, goals, and planning them out, we are going to stop as a group and assemble for a big dose of encouragement and direction from God. In asking for encouragement and direction, that doesn’t necessarily mean the problem goes away, but it does give us a glimpse into God’s heart. “Stand still and watch the Lord’s Victory.” Part of fasting is allowing yourself a moment to stand still and watch for the Lord. When you’ve stopped and are standing still you are in a better position to hear God and to actually see what He is doing and will do.

You may be fresh out of ideas as to how you are going to fix this or you’ve already tried to overcome your problems on your own. This time you don’t have to. We are going to start with a community fast/prayer fest and rely on God before we undertake any new adventure.

1.               Do not fast out of false piety. 
2.             Do not fast to beat yourself up for past sins. 
3.            Do not walk around miserable and disheveled (Matt 6: 16, NLT) 
4.             Do not fast as a way to lose weight. 
5.            Do not fast as a sort of magic potion to get God to give you what you want.

Do wash your face and comb your hair. Do keep praying all day. Do what you can do. If you cannot fast because of health reasons, then set aside the day for prayer.
The goal is to stop and be still before taking another step forward.

So my dear readers please take a moment to bow your head with me and pray:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for this opportunity to link hearts and pray. I pray that those who do not have a personal relationship with you, that they would come to know you. I lift up every person who is reading this to you. I ask you to speak into their life, to deal with the issues of their heart, and to honor this time of fasting and prayer. I pray that you would direct and guide us over these next 31 days and into the future. I pray that we would not allow fear, discouragement, and anxiety to take hold, but instead that we would take a moment to stop, stand still, let go of our own resources, and rely on you. Help us as we prepare to DREAM, PLAN, AND DO. In your name we pray.
(or as my friend says, Yay Jesus!)

To Read 31 Days of Dream. Plan. Do. from the beginning click here.

31 Days of Dream. Plan. Do.

Welcome to 31 Days of Dream. Plan. Do.
  1. Day One: Fast and Pray 
  2. Day Two: Freedom to Dream 
  3. Day Three: Organizing and Categorizing
  4. Day Four: Motivational Music Mix 
  5. Day Five: Prioritizing 
  6. Day Six: Stop and Take a Big Deep Breath
  7. Day Seven: Realistic Timelines 
  8. Day Eight: Bite-Sized Manageable Pieces 
  9. Day Nine: Defining Success and Achievement 
  10. Day Ten: Doing the Hard Tasks First 
  11. Day Eleven: God Bless My Egg Timer
  12. Day Twelve: Talking Too Much 
  13. Day Thirteen: Over-thinking Paralysis 
  14. Day Fourteen: Motivation Check No. 1 Guilt
  15. Day Fifteen: Motivation Check No. 2: Fear 
  16. Day Sixteen: Motivation Check No. 3 Revenge 
  17. Day Seventeen: Motivation Check No. 4 Self-Deprecation
  18. Day Eighteen: Motivation Check No. 5 Selfishness 
  19. Day 19, 20 and 21: Starting Fresh Again and Again and Again
  20. Day 22: Accountability Buddy
  21. Day Twenty Three: If You Don't Know How...