"Jumper Cables" - 2013/01/22 - KL pending
I don't pray enough. I don't know an honest Christian that doesn't admit this struggle. Prayer is undeniably THE fundamental spiritual discipline, even above Bible reading. Yet, like you, I don't pray enough. I would also agree, that as a member of both a local church body and the global Church body, we don't pray enough. So, how do we change this? In a word, fasting. I know what you are thinking, fasting sounds worse than praying. It's like trying to convince a child to eat her vegetables by offering more vegetables! It just doesn't sound appealing.
Here's what I've learned in my life through fasting. I was reminded of these things as I have been reflecting on the 21-days of Fasting and Prayer we just completed at Highpoint Church.
Fasting is like putting jumper cables on your prayer life.
I believe our personal prayer life lives in the cross hairs of Satan's attack in our lives. You better believe that he hates it when you pray. He loves to see that discipline slip into the inconsistent mode we so often experience. He wants to shut it down. He loves to see you get so busy that prayer gets edged out. He loves to distract your praying with anything and everything from your to-do list to mindless praying that feels pointless.
However, there is something you can do. Fast. Fasting is when you deny yourself of something, usually food, in order to get in touch with your hunger. Whatever you fast from, whether it be food
altogether, only certain foods or drinks, a meal a day or certain
activities, you begin to feel the hunger for that something. It is that
hunger that gives you the opportunity to return to God and seek Him to
be the One you depend on. It is an aggressive way to demote what we
naturally depend on and promote a dependence on God. This is why I
relate fasting to jumper cables. If your prayer life is like a dead
battery in a car, fasting is like jumper cables, bringing a fresh dose
of energy and power to get it running again.
If you have not ever fasted, I encourage you to give it a try. Here are a few simple guideline to help you design and implement a fast.
1. Create legitimate hunger. Not everyone is able to fast from food altogether. However, we all have appetites for things that we can reduce or eliminate for a season to experience a "hunger" that reminds us of how much we need God.
2. Pray. Fasting
for fasting's sake is relatively worthless. The whole point is to turn
our attention to God, to speak to Him, to verbalize our dependence on
Him. You need to carve out the time and ideally the place for prayer.
Make it doable and consistent. Consider making a list of a few key items
to pray about. Often, it is the great needs of our lives that lead to a
fast, our desperate need is matched with the practice of fasting.
Give it time. You want to fast long enough to create a new or renewed
pattern or habit of depending on God. Obviously, we feel the hunger of
certain things faster than others. If you fast from all foods, you will
feel the hunger in one day, if you fast from TV for instance, you may
need a month or two to really bring you to a place of leaning on God.
Enlist a partner. Virtually all disciplines are more effective when you
have a friend join you or support you. Let a trusted friend know and be
encouraged by their support.
Be discreet. Jesus warned that fasting is a private discipline. We
don't announce our piety lest we bring pride into the mix and spoon the
fast. Keep your fasting discreet and allow God to speak to you and draw
near to you as you draw near to Him. Enjoy the private communion with
your Heavenly Father.
hope this inspires you to attempt a fast this year. For those who
joined us at Highpoint Church for 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer, thank
you! You encouraged and inspired me. I can't wait to see what God does
through our prayers!
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