Every January our whole church is asked to participate in a fasting and prayer time for usually a 21 day fast. Although, this year we have been called to do a 10 day fast now and another one in the fall. Many of us seek God’s direction for the coming year and many seek healing of an illness, and many seek salvation for loved ones, not to mention many other reasons.
The first time I participated in the 21 day fast I was a new believer and didn’t really know what to expect. I have to say I was not a happy camper because of the caffeine headache was brutal for the first few days of it but then I acclimated okay. You see the first year I did the fast I really didn’t understand the importance of the prayer aspect of the fast. I mean I prayed but not as fervently as I could have. In subsequent years, my prayer time increased with intensity and fervor bringing me much closer to Him during the fasting and prayer every January.
Fasting and prayer is not a suggestion it is a command. God’s word says when you fast not if you choose to fast. I never really knew that it was a command until after I became a believer. I don’t recall it ever being mentioned in any of the other churches I attended but that could be because I didn’t have an ear to hear at that time in my life.
Matthew 6:16-18 (NLT) says;
“16 And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people so people will admire them for their fast. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
I joined Pastor J, over at Lillie-Put in a daily devotional reading of Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline and I have gleamed some good insight from my daily readings. One of which, God has been speaking to me about fasting more frequently throughout the year. In fact, He is commanding me to fast 1-2 days a week throughout the coming year. I admit these 10 days of fasting has been quite difficult and I believe that is because God did not really call me to fast the whole 10 days. God did, however, call me to a deeper intercession of prayer with Him throughout these 10 days. That is probably why the first three days was not difficult but the rest have proved to be very difficult. So, of course, I finally said to myself, why am I fighting this? Just do what God told you to do, Deb!
SO GO AND BE OBEDIENT, DEB!
Being obedient is the most important thing I can do for my Lord and me, trying to conform to what others are called to do, isn’t always God’s plan for me.
So I ask you, what is God calling you to be obedient to this year?