Today I want to share on the importance of prayer and fasting. I know some immediately may think, "oh no, here we go again...." or "just another thing I can't seem to get..." "blah, blah. blah, BLAH!" But, you may not have heard about praying and fasting in the context that I am about to share.
It's interesting to me that some of the self-control we can exhibit to enhance our well-being and health can be experienced in some of the most basic and foundational spiritual disciplines laid out in the Word of God. Here in this blog I want to focus more on the aspect of fasting, BUT my warning in doing that is that you would not forget the aspect of prayer. Communion with God is the very thing that makes fasting fruitful and take a long-term affect on who we are as a person. Without them working together, fasting will be no more than a religious, dead sacrifice of starving yourself. Your motivation to fast should never be to lose weight, but to engage at greater levels with the Lord. With that said, I believe fasting can be a great way of empowerment through addictions and bringing about breakthrough in anything we desire. What better way to break the addiction to food than to fast from it?
I am convinced, with all the detox diets out there, that a fast of pure liquids is probably got to be the best. It's the best antioxidant, blood-thinning, colon-cleansing, energizing, body cleansing detox diet I have tried....and the best part about it.....it heightens my awareness of God at the same time. There is reason God asked us to fast AND pray together. It would be good for us, not only spiritually, but physically. Long life awaits in exercising a lifestyle of prayer and fasting.
There are many stories and verses in the Bible about prayer and fasting, but the one I want to look at together is in Matthew 6:16-24 NKJ
"16Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Fasting from food gives us opportunity to find where are treasure really is. A lot of us have no idea when we eat out of boredom or out of stress. It's when we fast that, rather than turn to food for comfort, we can turn to prayer. Food is not our master, so its time that we master our temptations. You can not start to learn how to live and eat healthy if our temptations for junk food aren't mastered.
The reason I wanted to talk about prayer and fasting before I get into the specifics on enhancing a healthy lifestyle is because its where God had me begin in my personal journey. I was only a couple months into eating healthy (this was in 2005) when I felt like the Lord prompted me into a fast from all solids for 30 days. Along with two other friends who joined me (in which I highly recommend if you ever feel God calling you to a long fast), we began to use our meal times to pray with one another and for each other. I had NO IDEA what this fast would call of me....and it was extremely difficult, but God showed up all the way through it. I had never thought for a moment I would make it, but with the grace of God....all three of us did and it was an experience we will never forget. What I didn't realize until the end of the fast was that God used it to jump-start my desire for health even far beyond what I desired before the fast. I had absolutely no desire to eat junk after the fast and I certainly couldn't stomach it. God had literally answered my prayers for change when He called me to fast for those 30 days.
Now, I am not saying at all that you need to fast for 30 days, but I use that example to inspire you to begin to fast and pray. Whether its from one meal or just for one day. Romans 12 talks about presenting your bodies to the Lord as a living and holy sacrifice, which is a spiritual service of worship! The rest of the world may not understand your choices for food from here on out, but thats ok because God asked us to not be conformed to the world. Even in what we eat and what we choose to put into our bodies can be worship to God. Allow you and the Lord to walk together in this spiritual journey to good health and long life! The body is the Lord's! (1 Cor. 6:12-20)
A video from my church on fasting: elimgospel.org