Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered,”It is written:’Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
This week marks the final week of Twenty-One Days of Prayer and Fasting that Church of the Highlands practices at the beginning of each year. We also have a Twenty-One Days of Prayer that doesn’t include fasting which takes place during the month of August.
I began participating in this process in January of 2005 and have been actively involved with the intercessory prayer team since I got a taste of this remarkable addition to my prayer journey. Each time I have experienced incredible times of close intimacy with the Lord, and I have been able to grow in areas that have added confidence in my walk with Him.
The Twenty-One Days of Prayer includes a daily gathering for corporate prayer from 6 am to 7 am Monday through Friday and 9 am to 10 am on Saturdays at Church of the Highlands. If you cannot make it to one of our locations for corporate prayer, you can go online and check it out each morning during this time. www.churchofthehighlands.com
Each Sunday at Highlands, guests and members are encouraged to fill out connection cards that provide an area for personal prayer needs. As a member of the prayer team, I know that all of the cards are prayed over (Saturday prayer at 9 am takes place every week of the year, not just during the Twenty-One Days). During this period of Twenty-One Days, the prayer cards are prayed over multiple times. It’s so exciting to know that we can all band together and come into agreement to pray over various needs of the people in the community.
Interceding over the needs listed on these cards has been a very moving experience for me each week. It is especially powerful each day during this prayer and fasting season, because more people are apt to write their petitions at the beginning of the year.
Another significant focus of this Twenty-One Day process includes FASTING. In the past, I have been successful in fasting one or two things….like maybe chocolate or bread. However, this time, the Lord challenged me to take the leap of faith and embrace fasting at a higher level..to the point where I would just eat for sustenance…not for satisfaction or pleasure.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that Jesus demonstrated. There are also many biblical examples of godly people who cut out certain desires of the flesh in order to draw close to God.
According to Charles Stanley:
“Fasting doesn’t serve to change God’s mind, speed up His answer, or manipulate His will. Instead, it prepares us to hear from Him by temporarily laying aside something that vies for our attention or devotion.”
“Denying ourselves in this way makes us better able to focus on Christ and hear Him clearly….He sanctifies our thoughts so He can use this precious time to intensify our desire for Him, reveal His Will, and grant understanding and peace. In essence, fasting binds us to Him in such oneness that we won’t ever be the same again.”
I recognize that when we are obedient to sacrifice fully what He leads us to do, the more powerful the connection He allows. I encourage you to check out the following link written by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ regarding FASTING:
I hope and pray that you will take the steps necessary to grow in a deeper walk with the Lord that applies to prayer and fasting. God will give you a specific plan He has designed especially for you. Your responsibility is to seek Him, listen to His voice, and be obedient to follow His direction.
DON’T FREAK OUT ABOUT FASTING…
FEED ON HIS SPIRIT!
DON’T FORGET TO SEEK HIM IN PRAYER…
HE’S ALWAYS LISTENING–NOW IT’S TIME TO HEAR HIS VOICE!
PRAYING HANDS UNFOLD GOD’S PLANS!