We are gearing up for a “24/7 week of prayer & fasting here at Every Nation London, starting on Sunday afternoon from after our West Congregation “Vision Focus 2008” service. Basically we cover every hour of the week with someone specific signed up to pray, and we encourage people to fast for at least one of the days. So together we’re praying and fasting 24/7, and we end off with an awesome all together “Praise & Prayer Encounter” on Sat 2nd.
We never make a big deal to challenge anyone to fast from food for the whole week; only if they really feel personally led to. One reason is that most people have full-time jobs, and I am just not convinced that extended fasting (more than say 3 days) was really intended to be done in a busy environment which doesn’t make room for contemplation, reading, prayer, and meditation. Jesus seemed to try to get away from people when He fasted. As well as clearing our plates, isn’t clearing our diaries just as important for a “true fast” today? My diary for next week looks like any other week, except for a few one hour 24/7 prayer slots I have committed to. To be honest, my flesh actually likes being busy while I’m fasting because the business is a distraction to the fact that I AM HUNGRY. I think we need to consider going further. Maybe a fast from TV for a week would be more effective for some, allowing some quite contemplation and prayer during the evenings. Maybe fasting from lunch for a week, giving that daily hour to prayer every day, would be more of a “true fast.” Remember, fasting without prayer/connecting with God is simply starvation, or at best an unhealthy way to diet.
Make no mistake, fasting has been a great blessing to me, and my life was radically impacted during a 10 day fast last year leading up to the Global Day of Prayer, even though I didn’t change my diary much then either. But I still feel that there’s more to it. Maybe clearing my diary may be a truer fast that clearing my plate. Maybe entertainment is at least an equal craving to eating for us today. How did they spend their evenings back in Jesus times? I found that for me the key to fasting is DESIRE. Since my fast I have woken up most mornings with this hunger in my spirit: I desire to meet with You Lord. Its got me out of bed. It helps me restrain myself from all sorts of sinful thoughts and actions. DESIRE drives me to figure out the true fast, and the true fast fulfills my desire. What can I possibly clear off my diary… or is this just my attemt to get out of clearing my plate? What do you think?