A Few Thoughts on Fasting

Plate

 

On the last Sunday of 2013, I shared a message on one of the most powerful tools of the Christ-follower: Fasting. I feel God leading me to kick off 2014 with a 21-day fast – something that some others in our congregation have felt led to do as well, and something a number of other local churches in Central Texas are also doing.

You can click here to watch the message when you have a few minutes. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite resources online:

My Very Favorite: Bill Bright’s Guide to Fasting and Prayer. The late founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now “Cru”) put together the most comprehensive, easy-to-use guide I’ve ever seen – and it is absolutely free to anyone online. Check it out by clicking here. 

One of the best books of all time on fasting, in my opinion, is Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough, by Dr. Elmer Towns. You can purchase it online, but the study guide is available free – and you can get a sense of the principles he shares. Click here to access the study guide.

I mentioned two interesting recent articles about fasting in secular media that you might want to check out as well: one from Scientific American, and another in the Chicago Tribune

Finally, let me share a few brief pointers for anyone ready to try an extended full fast (liquids only) that I’ve learned in my own experience:

– Day 2 is the hardest. That may be different for different people, but by the evening of day 2, I have a headache and I’m starting to get HUNGRY. By day 3, the headaches linger, but they start to dissipate. 

– By day 4, I’m not starving. That sounds counterintuitive, but if you hang on, you’ll find that you’ll experience an amazing freedom from your appetite that is powerful.

– I’ve had several people warn me through the years to avoid caffein of any amount during your exended fast. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve heard enough warnings to know that it could be really bad for you. Beyond that, you’re not going to need it with your heightened mental acuity by the fourth day. I am wide awake when I’m awake, and I sleep wonderfully when I rest. 

– Finally, I really encourage you to keep a writing pad and pen nearby throughout your fast. I’ve received some of the best ideas and insights of my life during times of fasting. I’ve written entire sermons and songs during times of prayer, retreat, and sometimes just moments throughout my day. 

Get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget. And let me know how it goes!

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The spiritual barriers people face are countless, but they can be categorized into Eight Primary Walls. These walls correlate with the 8 primary breakthroughs that everyone needs.
1 of 48
I am so busy that I find myself ignoring the most important things in my life.
2 of 48
I believe truth is the same for everyone.
3 of 48
I believe God loves me in spite of who I am.
4 of 48
I am willing to serve others for nothing in return.
5 of 48
I try to avoid temptations that would bring me harm.
6 of 48
When I am facing a difficult situation, I feel like I can solve problems on my own.
7 of 48
I feel there is a disconnect between who I really am and how I act in front of other people.
8 of 48
I am amazed at God's power.
9 of 48
I am grateful for the things I have been given.
10 of 48
It humbles me to think I can know God.
11 of 48
I worry that God is angry with me.
12 of 48
I have too many of my own problems to deal with the problems of others.
13 of 48
I observe things that make me wonder if I should believe the Bible.
14 of 48
I believe God wants what is best for me.
15 of 48
When looking back on my life, I tend to focus on all of the things I did wrong.
16 of 48
I think God cares about the details of my life.
17 of 48
I find myself more focused on the things I don't have but wish I did.
18 of 48
I have witnessed things that make me wonder if God is in control.
19 of 48
I feel I can turn to God for direction.
20 of 48
The possibility of gaining a good friend is worth the risk.
21 of 48
When bad things happen, I wonder if God can make things better.
22 of 48
I don't believe anyone can ever know what is absolutely true.
23 of 48
I tend to expect the worst to happen.
24 of 48
I spend too much of my energy pursuing material things.
25 of 48
I know a lot of people, but don't feel very close to many people.
26 of 48
My faith practices are more about routine than relationship.
27 of 48
I feel strong relationships are hard, but worth it.
28 of 48
I feel compelled to make the world around me better.
29 of 48
I believe God is loving and kind.
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I am intentionally seeking to grow in my relationships with others.
31 of 48
I believe the Bible has answers for today's circumstances.
32 of 48
I am willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for something better down the road.
33 of 48
I believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
34 of 48
I worry about the problems that the future holds.
35 of 48
People who have hurt me in the past cause me to avoid some relationships today.
36 of 48
I am confident God has forgiven me for my past.
37 of 48
I believe God is willing and able to answer my prayers.
38 of 48
I think that God will meet all my needs.
39 of 48
I have a hard time trusting people.
40 of 48
I look forward to good things in my future.
41 of 48
I question why God allowed certain things to happen in my life.
42 of 48
I feel with God's help, I can face any situation.
43 of 48
When bad things happen, I feel like I am getting what I deserve.
44 of 48
I find myself drawn to things I know are bad for me.
45 of 48
It troubles me that God has not answered my prayers.
46 of 48
People would describe me as a giving person.
47 of 48
I have been wronged in the past in a way I cannot get over.
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I have to guard against judging people when I learn they are dealing with tough circumstances.
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