Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pray fast. Fast. Pray

Thinking back on my childhood experiences, I have very vivid memories of saying my grace before meals. You know..."God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food." And saying my prayers before bed. "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." Most, if not all of us, were taught these "rhymes" when we were just toddlers. Yes, I said rhymes. Why? Because this is a far cry from the model prayer that Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. As Christians, we should mature beyond this kind of "fast praying" and become accustomed to fasting and praying.

From my experience, the most popular time for fasting is during the Lenten season. Everybody wants to "give something up for Lent." This is not fasting. This is simply dieting, which can be very healthy, and may even be necessary for a number of us, but there will be no spiritual gain.

If you truly desire to subdue your flesh & be sensitive to the Holy Spirit (thus receiving God's direction), try fasting. If you desire to loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens,let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke, try fasting. Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily; and your righteousness shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your reward. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer. You shall cry, and He will say, Here I am ((Isaiah 58:6-9). It is at this point where we draw closer to God and to seek His righteousness and His will in our lives.

Here's what I've learned about fasting:
DON'T fast to receive God's blessing.
DO fast to receive God's direction.

DON'T fast as a substitute to obedience.
DO fast out of obedience (Matthew 6:16 says WHEN you fast...not IF you fast...)

DON'T fast to impress others.
DO fast so that God notices (Matthew 6:16-18)

DON'T be discouraged if you stray from your fast.
DO brush yourself off and get back on track.

DON'T fast from something that's easy (if you know you don't like chit'lins, don't fast from chit'lins)
Do fast from something that will be a challenge.

DON'T pray fast.
DO fast AND pray.