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Making it through a fast

Those of you who started fasting with us on Sunday (see comments here) are at the midpoint if you’re fasting for a week. It can feel miserable if you’re hearing your stomach more than you hear God, or it can be tremendously gratifying if God is speaking to you. Either way, we can encourage one an…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Those of you who started fasting with us on Sunday (see comments here) are at the midpoint if you’re fasting for a week. It can feel miserable if you’re hearing your stomach more than you hear God, or it can be tremendously gratifying if God is speaking to you. Either way, we can encourage one another by sharing the results of the fast so far.
 
For many people, the third day of a fast is the most difficult. You find yourself not only battling hunger pangs, but fighting to summon the will power to continue. Tomorrow the hunger you feel should abate some. So, if you’ve made it this far, my counsel is, keep going! The best is yet to come. You can build a kind of spiritual momentum as you go further in a fast.
 
One of my friends wrote this morning: “Having a day of brokenness today.  Can’t stop weeping over stuff.”
I found that helpful to my own faith. In contrast to him, I had a busy travel day – car to bus to plane to car, all the while on my phone or laptop. I didn’t feel much of anything all day – I needed to hear what my friend has been experiencing.
 
Bill Bright used to report that he felt his prayers had double their normal power when he was fasting. He experienced such a spiritual turbocharging through his fasts that he made it a regular feature in his calendar.
 
I was with some Eastern Orthodox believers today and they reported the way their church incorporates regular fasts into the calendar. Many modern believers no longer practice this important spiritual discipline. Why? Well, maybe because discipline hurts – it involves a delaying of pleasure for a longer term gain.
 
But the Bible says that discipline is a good thing, that it’s profitable.* We need it – fasting is worth it.
 
So, what have you been experiencing this week in your fast?
 
*Prov. 12:1, Heb. 12:11

Comments (18)

  • I have been babysitting to make some money and spending my days running around after kids. I am super tired at night and have not had much energy to do much. However, I know God is pulling out more from deep inside. I am resting and waiting for Him and I know He will be faithful, as He always is. I am pressing in more through prayer and seeking God’s prayers. Can’t wait to hear everyone else’s…..keep it up everyone!!!

  • Fasting! That’s exactly the answer I’ve needed! We were presented with some unexpected, huge decisions mid-December so I’ve overlapped holiday eating with stress eating. We’re trying to hear God’s voice in the chaos. While fully trusting that His voice is there in the midst, we can’t hear it. Fasting is a great idea. Thanks!

    God frequently speaks through your blogs and here He is again! Awesome. Yet another reason to keep up with reading. 🙂

  • It has been amazing so far. After a sermon last month I decided to fast for 5 days this week – and was encourage by your mail this sunday. I’ve never been good at fasting and even 24 hours seems long enough. this time however I know the Lord is carrying me through and it has been the best days of my life. Leaving food, wine and TV and cut dramaticcally short on internet and emails. It’s like going back to the basics, spending time in the Word, feeding on the Word and getting the right perspective again. When all is gone and nothing left but God, you know you have enough!

    The advent of the internet, coupled with the old standard, television, has made wasting time an art form.

    I read, ‘Leaders will work while others waste time, study while others snooze, pray while others daydream.’

    It’s good to get the right direction and perspective and clear insights and know once again that He has put our feet on the rock!

    thanks Set for the encouragement. May you and all the others stay blessed and keep running the good race.

  • Rice and God are awesome!!!!! The power of God and prayer are amazing….4th watch is back, driven by the power of His word…blessings to each and know that when we are taken out side of comfort zone……….miracles happen…

    Prayers for the B4A team, the silent and the core as we press in with God’s love and direction, not the our own voices!!!!

    Thank you Dad and Seth and may His Wind always be at our back in His time and His way!

  • This is my first time to fast, and I appreciate your encouragement, because so far all I hear is my stomach! It has though, reminded me consistently during the business of the day to turn my ears and heart toward the Lord and wait on Him. Please pray for me! I’ve never understood why people fast, and really want to incorporate this into my walk with Him.

  • Kathy,

    I’m praying that the Lord speaks to you. You may want to journal along the way. Ask the Lord questions and write down what you perceive him to be saying.

    Patti – so you get to eat rice in your fast? I’m doing juices.

  • **mArC** The Schifano Tribe

    Swaziland. My son. Intimacy. Crying. Emotional. Joyous. Majesty. Tribe. My resources are unlimited. I The Lord, have your back. Marc, wait till you see what I do through you and your family. Wait till you see your sons and what I will do through them. Watch and see your wife flourish. I’m a wreck emotionally. Like a ping pong ball. I love it. Break me Father, transplant more of my heart with yours. Love you Seth. My thoughts and God’s so far today, intertwined. Peace.

  • This is my first fast too. Last night I opened the Bible and it was about Peter denying Christ. I then read some “Experiencing God” and it also talked about Peter denying Christ–SAME scripture. Of course I prayed and it caused me to dwell on this issue. So today, my friend sends me a coffee drink recipe with Dulce de Leche, chocolate, cream and Kahlua (sound good??!!!!) Honestly, I totally would have had one (I was only going to do three days and this is my last) but God gave me that scripture last night, b/c He knows my heart and man, I am totally tempted, but God will help me persevere. Just thought this was wild! I also wanted to say that I felt called to a fast 2 times the day before and then I checked your blog and KNEW this was what God was calling me to do. It is HARD, but so valuable. Thanks Seth!

  • Ha- Julie .. I had the same experience about knowing God wanted me to fast but I couldn’t figure out how long and was just distracted … i ate very lightly and so it was a great precursor to a full fast by the time Seth’s blog came and of course verified what the Lord was saying. I’m in for a longer haul than a week (first time doing that for me) as I need and want His direction over so very much this year… should be interesting combining it with our healing/training at RTF.

    This is also the year to incorporate fasting into my regular calendar. Several fitful starts with it in the past few years and plenty of things that have distracted me from my first goal of being more intimate w/Jesus. I have had tremendous peace ever since starting though … a sense of watchful anticipation that God is going to bring some wonderful things to pass this year.

    Only keep our eyes on Him… (and away from the chocolate, cream and kahlua for the time being 🙂 Blessings & thanks for the encouragement in the disciplines, Seth…

  • I knew I needed to start the year with time and space with the Lord. it was pretty clear from the getgo that I needed to fast from email/facebook/the like.

    and … it’s been TOUGH! in my head, it seems a lot harder for some reason. Fasting from food plus the added element of prayer pushes you forward. Yes, I’ve got the added prayer/space in my week, but I also feel like all i’m doing is getting “further behind.” Ah! Have you ever done a technology fast? If so – any words of wisdom?

    interesting though that i came back to the blog to find encouragement mid-week. thanks for the words and may we each grab hold of more of Him this year! blessings!

  • Seth,

    Dr.s orders, can’t have fruit juice for the time being so it is water and 1 bowl of a rice per day….

    Great visions last night about not turning away those in need. It is up to God to put folks in our paths and for us to encourage them closer to him in what ever way we can.

    Thank you for the encouragement, enlightenment, and pray for the team as we head to RTF training. And yes, there will be a technology fast for 2 weeks…Blessings to you for bringing us outside of boxes and comfort zones!!!!

  • As I sat thinking and praying last night God hit me with rest and perseverance. I thought, what could those two do with one another. Well, I am in a season of rest and waiting, but God is still calling me to persevere through it and hold on. He woke me up this morning with phil. 1:6…He will finish the good work He has started. Amen

  • When that guy cut me off in traffic today and I didn’t have the strength to get back at him or when give him “that look” when I moved ahead, I knew this fast was beginning to bear good fruit. God’s been hammering me on HUMILITY!!

  • Thanks Seth.

    The great thing about fasting is that it can be a short season where entrenched sin is broken. I have gotten to a place where what a person “says” matters so little. The coded messages of an “Ichabod Kingdom” make many Christians believe they are walking in the footsteps of Jesus when in fact it is just a large park of pious platitudes. This fast has had as a primary benefit the letting go of a number of people and old relationships which were akin to the torture of the Romans when they strapped a dead body on the persecuted and watched them die from the outside in. Fasting has helped me know which people fall into that category.

    Appreciate you.

  • Day three was definitely the toughest. I’m learning this week how to be still and know He is God. That even when I don’t necessarily hear Him, I can rest in Him and find His peace when I continue to press in.

  • This is a little late (ha) but Seth have you read ‘Celebration of Discipline’ by Richard Foster? A friend gave me a copy as a gift and I finally opened it up day 2 of the fast. It was VERY HELPFUL for those who have never fasted and need direction with fasting, prayer and meditation!!! I haven’t finished the book but I’d recommend the first 4 chapters to anyone trying these things for the first time (or wanting to be better at them).

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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