Next week City on a Hill will enter into a time of prayer and fasting for a period of seven days. On Thursday of this week we will be issuing out a document to all of those who are a part of City on a Hill and to those who have committed to pray for us as a church letting them know some of the specifics to pray.
FIRST RESPONSES I HEAR WHEN SPEAKING OF FASTING
When announcing that we are going to be having a time of prayer there seems to be a genuine excitement in the air as we are setting up a focused time to corporately and individually seek Jesus and his guidance. When we announce that we are also having a time of fasting I have noticed a look of concern and caution in peoples eyes. Does this mean we can’t eat for a week? What does that mean? Is it like a diet where I get cheat days?
As I have talked to some individuals a little more in depth about this I have noticed that each person has admitted fasting is not a regular part of their spiritual disciplines and routine of life. I would admit the same, that though there may be a robust prayer life, the discipline of abstaining from food or other items has not been very prevalent in my life or those around me. This could be a conversation in and of itself, but I will simply leave you with a question to ponder on this note. Why is fasting approached with seemingly great caution and stress?
I WILL FAST __________ FOR THE WEEK.
There are many different types of fast that you can partake of. We will actually have a blog later this week noting some of the things that we would really encourage you to prayerfully consider fasting from.
The idea of fasting is to go completely without or significantly less of something you feel you need and instead invest that time pursuing Jesus through prayer, scripture or in relationships with other Christians. This is why many have committed to fast from social media, television, cellphones, sweets and so forth. Oddly enough the one thing that I have not heard anyone say they were going to fast from is food.
I think the idea is very simple. I need food. If I do not have food, I will not be myself. I will be uncomfortable, irritable, possibly dysfunctional. Without food, I am in big trouble. I need food. This is true, you do need food, but there is something you need more than food, Jesus.
It might be that the reason so few of us are contemplating fasting from food is because we like the Corinthians have as our God our stomachs. “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”- Paul (Phillippians 3:19)
It is possible that for some of us our bellies have become our gods and eating has become an act of worship to satisfy out god. There is something you need more than food. There is something that satisfies you more than a good meal. There is something that sustains you more than protein. Jesus.
As we live in a culture that puts great value on food I would strongly encourage you to sacrificially fast from food for a period of time. I think this is something you should prayerfully consider as everyone is different and some have medical conditions that do not permit them to fast for long periods of time. I would encourage you to sacrifice something and fast from something that will come at a cost to you. King David said, “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my GOD burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” When you go without food you feel it. Let it serve as a reminder to you and I that we need nourishment, and before we turn to that which we think we need most (food), let us first turn and seek Jesus. Friend, he is what we need more than anything. I pray this becomes more clear in you and your families lives as you continually seek him.