“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12
In Mark 9 we read of an incident when Jesus found the disciples unable to cast a demon out of a possessed child. Jesus then shows them the power of perfect faith in an Almighty God and heals the child. The disciples come to Jesus after everything settles down and asks, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting” Mark 9:29.
In the month of February, we are calling the church to fast and pray. We are strongly encouraging the whole church to humble themselves in the sight of God and believe that He wants to do a mighty work beyond our comprehension. We are going to pray for miracles, healing, salvation for lost friends, issues that have troubled our spirits and burdens too heavy to bear. Some of the obstacles in people’s live are still there because they have not taken the time to fast and pray. Could it be that our church could see some strongholds disappear when we all agree and fast together during this time? I believe it can happen.
I want to encourage you to pick up a brochure on fasting placed in the bulletin this Sunday. If you would like one this week, contact our church office and they will send one to you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our nation, our church, our families, and our individual lives need to humble ourselves and desperately call upon the Lord. Fasting is one way to show God how desperate you are for His presence in your life. It is a biblical way of showing God the how you want His will to be done. It also enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you.
Begin now to pray how the Lord wants you to approach this fast in February. Here are some options of different kinds of fasts:
The normal fast is going without food for a definite period during which you ingest only liquids (water and / or juice). The duration can be 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, or all 28 days of February. Extreme care would be taken with longer fasts, which should only be attempted after medical advice from your physician.
The absolute fast allows no food or water at all, and should be short. Moses fasted for 40 days; but this would kill anyone without supernatural intervention, and should never be attempted without medical supervision. Be sure to test the spirit that tries to talk you into a 40-day fast, even if it includes liquids.
The partial fast is one that omits certain foods or is on a schedule that includes limited eating. It may consist of omitting one meal a day. Eating only fresh vegetables for several days is also a good partial fast. People who have hypoglycemia or other diseases might consider this kind of fast.
A rotational fast consists of eating or omitting certain families of foods for designated periods. For example, grains may be eaten only every fourth day. The various food families are rotated so that some food is available each day.
The key in picking your fast is to follow through on what you have decided in your heart. Write it down and pray that you will fulfill your commitment. You may even want to lead your family through Scripture around the dinner table or before bedtime. Again, ask the Lord to show you what to do as you give Him full access to every chamber of your life and discard anything that causes your love for Him to grow cold.
May God bless you today as we anticipate our service together on Sunday. We will continue our series, “OnPoint: Living in Missional Rhythm” and celebrate baptism with several people.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene