September 19 marks 8 years of ministry for Awaken Church, and there’s no stronger way to close one year and open the next than through prayer!
We will be praying daily throughout September and fasting each Friday of September. There’s a list at the bottom of specific things to pray for during this month, but first, here are some thought about fasting…
Jesus doesn’t give us much instruction when it comes to fasting. In Matthew 6, He mentions, “When you fast…,” and later, in Mark 9, Jesus casts out a demon from a boy, and the disciples ask why they had been unable to get the demon out. Jesus replies, “These can only come by prayer and fasting.”
It seems that Jesus assumes we will fast because there are certain victories that can only be won through extra time dedicated to prayer and fasting.
We wage war on the spiritual realm through prayer.
Fasting is a tool that God has given us to sharpen and deepen the power of prayer.
Prayer doesn’t always have to be accompanied by fasting, but fasting should always be accompanied by prayer. Fasting without praying is called “starving,” and Jesus wasn’t laying out a hyper-spiritual dieting plan. Instead, fasting is replacing something good (food) with something better (prayer & worship). Fasting disconnects us with earthly things and connects us with the things of God. Instead of feasting on a meal, you have extra time to feast on God’s faithfulness (Psalm 37:3).
Let’s get real practical with fasting…
What if I can’t skip meals?
Fasting in Scripture is almost always from food, but there are lots of ways to fast, especially for those who medically can’t skip meals. You can substitute time that you would normally spend watching TV, sleeping, on social media, or just 1 meal instead of all 3. The goal is not punishing yourself – it’s clearing your schedule to devote more time to prayer.
But let’s be honest… Most of us can fast, it’s just uncomfortable and inconvenient. That’s the point!
Wean yourself off of food.
Don’t shove an entire tub of ice cream down your throat at 11:57 as your “last meal before the fast.” That will set you up to fail.
When I’m fasting, I drink way more water than typical. Since your body isn’t taking in nutrients through food, make sure you stay extra-hydrated.
Watch out for coffee.
I’m a big coffee drinker, except for when I’m fasting. I’ve found (for me) that coffee on an empty stomach is a bad combo, so I lay off (or cut back) for the day.
Work out spiritually, not physically.
Doing lots of hard labor while not eating can be dangerous, so be careful. I go to the gym often, but not typically when I’m fasting. And if I do, I’ll eat a small meal afterwards, just to replace what I just burned.
Ease back in.
Don’t slam 7 bowls of cereal the next morning after a fast. Ease your body back into a normal routine of eating by eating fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water.
Don’t flaunt it.
Jesus says that if you use fasting (or prayer) to be seen by men instead of heard by God, you’d better listen up for everyone’s applause…because that’s all the reward you get. Instead, take good care of yourself and smile! The joy of the Lord is your strength.
That’s the whole point of fasting. During the time when you would have normally been preparing a meal, eating, or doing whatever activity you’re giving up, spend that time in prayer.
Fasting is a great tool that’s highly underused. Let’s bring it back. And remember: God is big. Pray like it!
Here’s what we’re praying for this month:
Awaken Pastors, Wives, and Families
Awaken Staff, Ministry Leaders, and Teams
Financial Provision and Generosity
More Team Members Serving
God’s Direction for the Future of Awaken
Awaken Military Members and Families
Singles, Marriages, and Families
K E V I N • M I L L E R
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