prayer & fasting

To assist you in preparing, please refer to this website: http://www.cru.org/training-and-growth/devotional-life/personal-guide-to-fasting/index.htm


WHY ARE YOU FASTING?


PREPARING SPIRITUALLY

Confess your sins to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of weakness. Forgive all who have offended you and ask forgiveness from those you may have offended (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; Luke 17:3-4). Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ and reject the worldly desires that try to hinder you (Romans 12:1-2).

You are following Jesus’ example when you fast. Spend time listening to praise and worship music. Refrain from listening to secular music. Pray as often as you can throughout the day. Get away from the normal distractions as much as possible and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God’s face.


PREPARING PHYSICALLY

If you have health concerns, consult your doctor prior to beginning a fast and explain what you plan to do. This is especially important if you take prescription medications or have a chronic ailment. Some people should never fast without professional supervision.


HOW TO BEGIN

Start with a clear goal. Whether you are beginning a private fast, or fasting corporately, you should know why you are fasting. 


WHAT TO EXPECT

When you fast, your body detoxifies, eliminating toxins from your system. This can cause mild discomfort such as headaches and irritability during withdrawal from caffeine and sugars. And naturally, you will have hunger pangs. Limit your activity as much as possible, and exercise moderately. Take time to rest. Fasting brings about miraculous results.


DECIDING WHAT TO FAST

What you fast is up to you. It may be a full fast in which you only drink liquids, or you may desire to fast like Daniel, who only abstained from breads and meats, and drank only water. There is no power in the foods eaten or not eaten. The power is in consecrating our body, soul and spirit unto the Lord for a focused time of prayer and fasting. There are a few other things to focus on during this time that will help you maintain a "clean vessel." For example, you should refrain from critical speaking, spreading negative words about or to anyone else. Also, consider limiting how much you watch TV, and how much time you spend on things that are distracting. Remember to replace that time with prayer and Bible study. That time with Jesus will produce dramatic change in your life.


HOW TO END

Don't overeat when the time comes to end your fast. Begin eating solid foods gradually and eat smaller portions or snacks.

[1] Information taken from Jentezen Franklin’s Magazine Article “Fasting Quick Tips” and www.fcc-phx.com.


BENEFITS OF FASTING

We know that Fasting has spiritual benefits, but what about physical benefits? Solomon said, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun" (Eccl 1:9 NKJV).  Though men and women of God have fasted since ancient times, today we have many new books on the shelves touting the healthy physical benefits of the practice. Even the Greek physician Hippocrates (approximately 460-377 BC). known as the “father of modern medicine," and whose concepts have influenced the development of medical practices for centuries, believed fasting was very healthy for the body.

Fasting slows your aging process. Moses fasted often, including two forty-day fasts, and the Bible said in Deuteronomy 34:7, “Moses was 120 years old when he died and his eyes were not dim, nor his natural vigor abated.”


In his book, 101 Reasons to Fast, Pastor Bob Rodgers sites many statements from Hippocrates and others who discovered the many medical benefits fasting can have on the body. Fasting cleans your body. As you begin a fast. you will notice a sort of coating on your tongue for a few days.

It is a sign the fast is helping your body eliminate toxins. Tests have proven the average American consumes and assimilates 4 lbs. of chemical preservatives, coloring, stabilizers. flavorings and other additives each year. These build up in our bodies and cause illness and disease. Periodic fasts are necessary to flush out the poisons. Fasting gives your body time to heal itself. It relieves nervousness and tension and gives your digestive system rest. Fasting lowers your blood pressure and can lower your cholesterol. [[Bob Rodgers, 101 Reasons to Fast, (Louisville, KY, 1995).]]


Don Colbert M.D., is a medical doctor who has researched and studied the body's need to rid itself of toxins which cause illness, disease, fatigue and many other ailments. While I do not attempt to cover every medical aspect and benefit of fasting in this book, I would recommend his bock, Toxic Relief, for specific medical guidelines for fasting. His chapter, "Finding Healing Through Fasting," is an excellent source of information and cautions. He says, "Fasting not only prevents sickness, if done correctly, fasting holds amazing healing benefits to those of us who suffer illness and disease. From colds and flu to heart disease, fasting is a mighty key to healing the body." [[Don Colbert, MD (Lake Mary, FL: Siloam Press, 2003) 155.]]


Dr. Oda H. F. Birchinger, who supervised more than 70,000 fasts, stated, "Fasting is a royal road to healing, for anyone who agrees to take it, for recovery and regeneration of the body, mind, and spirit." He went on to say, "Fasting can heal and help rheumatism in the joints and muscles. diseases of the heart, circulation, blood vessels, stress-related exhaustion, skin diseases-including pimples and complexion problems, irregular menstrual cycles and hot flashes, diseases of respiratory organs, allergies such as hay fever and other eye diseases." [[Bob Rodgers, 101 Reasons to Fast, (Louisville, KY, 1995).]]


To test the results of fasting on the human body, Dr. Tanner, another medical doctor, decided at the age of 50, to fast 43 days without food. He did so under strict medical supervision. At the conclusion of the fast, he was much healthier. At age 60 he fasted 50 days. In the middle of his fast he said he saw the unspeakable glories of God. At age 77, Dr. Tanner fasted 53 days and among other things, his once thin, gray hair was replaced by new black hair! It was the same color that it was when he was a young man. What's more, Dr. Tanner lived to be 93 years old. [[Bob Rodgers, 101 Reasons to Fast, (Louisville, KY, 1995).]]


Fasting slows your aging process. Moses fasted often, including two forty-day fasts, and the Bible said in Deuteronomy 34:7, "Moses was 120 years old when he died and his eyes were not dim, nor his natural vigor abated." Doctor Tanner passed on some advice from his own experiences, stating, "When you fast, drink plenty of water.” Water is the great flushing agent in fasting. One of the signs these toxins and poisons are being eliminated can be seen by the concentration of toxins in our urine. These toxins may be ten times higher than normal when you're fasting. The urine turns darker because the poisons, the toxins that are locked into your body that cause all of the diseases that plague us as Americans because of our terrible diet, begin to be washed out. [[Bob Rodgers, 101 Reasons to Fast, (Louisville, KY, 1995).]]


It is also proven that fasting sharpens your mental processes, aides and improves your sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell and all sense faculties. Fasting breaks the addiction to junk food. Fasting can break the power of an uncontrollable appetite. Some are bound by nicotine, alcohol and drugs, but fasting can help break those addictions. [[Bob Rodgers, 101 Reasons to Fast, (Louisville, KY, 1995).]] Clearly, fasting has benefits not only for your spirit, but for your body as well!


What Does the Bible say about Fasting? 

2 Chronicles 20:1-25; Nehemiah 1:1-14; Isaiah 58:1-12 AMP; Joel 2:15-16; Jonah 3:1-10; Matthew 6:16-18; Matthew 9:14-15; Acts 10:1-48; Acts 13:1-4.

Portions excerpted from Fasting: A Private Discipline that Brings Public Reward, Jentezen Franklin and Connection Magazine Article “Good for the Body”

Resource from Faith Christian Center of Phoenix, Arizona