Fasting means many things to many people. For some it could be a set time of no food/bland food. For others it could just be a nice time to start dieting…thinking “ehhh, I could afford to lose a few pounds”. But for me, fasting means something so much more than eating different foods or hitting my goal weight.
It wasn’t until last year when I decided to fully commit to fasting. I had a long list of prayer requests and, quite frankly, I almost doubted that denying my body of what it wanted and praying about it could really change so many things in my life. To my surprise, one week in, God had already begun to answer prayers left and right. Prayers for my family and their prosperity. Prayers for my school transfer. Prayers for my future. The weirdest, and most miraculous thing is that He has not stopped answering those prayers from LAST YEAR.
Fasting to me isn’t only about God being faithful in His promises to hear us when we call on His name but it is about focusing in on our relationship and showing Him just how much He means to me. He sacrificed so much for me and even though there is no comparison to that, it’s nice to say I will deny my flesh for Him.
Written by: Katie Lattimore, Worship Ministry Intern
To many people, fasting sounds extreme and old school. I personally LOVE food and thank God every day for a fast metabolism so I never have to diet or deny myself of a sweet or fried food. So fasting to me even sounded like torture.
I fasted for the first time in the spring of 2011. I was an actor in the Easter production and was excited to pray for 21 days through the Daniel Fast for the production to make a huge impact in the lives of thousands. In my personal life, I was also knocking down heaven’s door for spiritual, emotional and physical healing for my deep wounds from sexual abuse and sins in my past. I’m not going to lie, taking away all my favorite foods and having to deny my flesh every day was painful and eating organic was not cheap!
I still shudder at the thought of eating a plate of beans and rice, but God did not ignore my sacrifice and constant prayers. Not only did we hear about countless numbers of salvations and life change from the production, but the day the fast ended I was healed! Since that fast I have been free of a stronghold that held on to me since I was 14 and my marriage has never been better. I’ve been able to forgive people from my past and to forgive myself. The physical issues I faced that not a single doctor could fix were healed in an instant without any medical reason.
Now I’m not promising if you fast, God is going to be like a genie and answer your every wish. But I will promise you that if you fast, you will undeniably feel God’s presence and nothing is sweeter than that. Listening to God’s voice is a heck of a lot easier when you tell your stomach to shut up! If you don’t have a specific prayer need right now, lucky you! You can still fast and knock on heaven’s door for other things, like getting to know God better or for revival to break out at church this Easter. Pray for the lost to come pouring in the doors and be changed forever. Pray for the tech, actors, singers, dancers, etc that will be preparing for the weeks to come. I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do in this 40 days of prayer and fasting in your life and in our church. Nothing awesome happens in the comfort zone, so step out and try a fast!
I submit to you that basically Acts 4 is an account of A PRAYING CHURCH. In Verses 23-31, Luke records the epitaph of A CHURCH AT PRAYER. The pattern that we find in the early church is that they prayed and prayed often! I believe with all my heart it is time for us to enter into the Spirit of Corporate Prayer, to rediscover the power of prayer. Just as individuals are to pray, we are to pray as a church body.
Some wonderful things happened when this church prayed. Some marvelous and great things occurred when all of the members of this church got on one accord and prayed. I am led of the Lord to believe that God’s power is released in and through a praying church. All throughout scripture we see clearly that the power of God operates through a praying church. Signs and wonders, salvation and healing, praise and adoration, all take place within the context of a praying church. We can either pray, believe and receive or we can pray, doubt and do without! But God’s power operates in and through a praying church.
Let’s come together as a church for a night of corporate prayer:
PELLISSIPPI & UT
Friday March 22nd 6-10pm in Satellite
For childcare: RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday March 22nd 7-10pm at Blount Campus
Legendary film sound designer Ben Burtt, who has worked on five decades of films ranging from the Indiana Jones series to WALL-E, has talked about his philosophy of the “audio black hole.”
When doing sound effects work for a film, if possible, he inserts a brief moment of silence immediately before a particularly loud or emphatic moment. This, he says, is his idea of the audio black hole – it allows your ears to attune to silence briefly so that the following moment is even more powerful. In the climactic scene of Star Wars Episode IV, just before the explosion of the Death Star, there is an oh-so-short moment of silence that catches the listener by surprise.
Fasting is like that. It’s time to pause and re-attune ourselves to God’s voice. So much conspires to distract us from what God is saying… Music. Television. Facebook. Twitter. Friends. Work. And oftentimes, food. Fasting helps us learn to listen outside of our appetites. Taking the time to stop, pause, tell ourselves and our distractions “no.” We can get reattuned to the “still, small voice” that Elijah heard on the mountaintop. We shut it all out and wait.
God speaks, and we hear him more clearly than ever.
40 days is a long time! That was my first thought… As we began talking about 40 days of prayer & fasting and I began spending some time thinking about what that looks like, what does that mean, what am I to focus on for that long??? God began to reveal things in my life and even dump new “opportunities” in my lap that definitely need prayer and fasting coverage. So as we begin these focused days, I encourage you to Stop and Listen. For many of us, we never slow down long enough to hear God and what He is saying to us or even asking of us. I speak from experience; God will get our attention one way or another. My encouragement to all of us is to not compromise listening and waiting on God for the sake of getting the next thing accomplished.
My prayer is that over the next 40 days we will all spend some time in Solitude. Solitude rescues us from striving both intellectually and spiritually. Solitude…long enough…safe enough with ourselves and God to say, “Yes, this is who I am. I surrender it! Whatever it is that most needs to be done in my life, You God, will have to do it.” I pray we will be Silent. Silence allows us to give up control and for God to be God in our life rather than a thought in our head. As we stop and listen and allow God to transform us we will begin to realize that our transformation is never for ourselves alone. It is always for the sake of others. Then we can be effective as we seek God on behalf of His kingdom, His church-Faith Promise, our families and our teammates in the Worship Ministry. Can we even fathom what God has in store for us as His children? I know I can’t but I am willing. I am willing and ready to be blown away! Are you ready?
(written by John Adams, Blount Campus Worship Leader) I have a very adventurous spirit. I love trying new things and having new experiences. This works perfectly in the relationship I have with my wife because she loves capturing memories through photography and scrapbooking. Food is something I especially love trying new things with. New restaurants, new recipes… I remember the first time a friend took me to a Jamaican restaurant, Wow!!!
What’s cool is that I have realized that my adventurous spirit applies to my relationship with God as well. I was raised in a very traditional Baptist home, and adventure was far from the focus when discussing Christianity. In fact, my understanding of religion seemed to condemn the new and adventurous aspects of life.
As I’ve grown spiritually, God has shown me an incredible path of seeking after Him in ways I never have before. In fact, this is where I have found I honor Him the most. Hebrews 11:6 says that “…without faith it is impossible to please God…” and James 2:14 says “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
There is a lot to say about fasting: its origin, purpose, requirements etc. Some can be agreed on by most people, other will be debated forever. One thing is certain: God tells us to fast, and His Word tells us that great things can be accomplished through fasting, some only by fasting. If anyone has a thirst to know God more, be used by Him in greater ways, and seek after Him with a boldness that will lead to great adventure in His Kingdom’s purpose, then Just Do It! Put action to your faith and please God. The rewards are amazing!