Welcome to Day 22 of our 40-day countdown to Easter 2019? How to Last Through the Fast? As many of you know, we are not just praying during these 40 days to Easter, we are also fasting. Yesterday marked phase three of our intermittent fasting periods. For the next 10 days, we are now fasting from 7 p.m. to 3 pm.
Here are 7 things you should remember during the fast.
1. Stay spiritual minded. As fasting periods become longer you must remember the goal is spiritual growth. Extended times of fasting without spiritual engagement is more starving your body than it is growing your spirit.
2. Drink water. It is very important to remain hydrated during this season of withdrawing from food. Develop a habit of drinking water throughout the day. The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Yes, that is a lot for someone who isn't accustomed to drinking that much water. But it will purge and purify your body. It will also help your body adjust its "hunger instinct" so that you will last through the fast.
3. Meditate on the Word of God. Reading your Bible for spiritual guidance and inspiration renews the mind. Romans 12:1-2 teaches us how important it is to renew our thinking. Reading and studying the Bible has transformative power to not only renew the soul, but to impact the body and the spirit.
4. Get some rest. As you go deeper in the things of God and make demands on your body to comply, you will need rest. A refreshed heart and mind are derivatives of a fresh biological condition. Psalm 127:2 teaches us that it is empty and unproductive to sit up late, get up early, work hard all day and not get enough sleep. The gift of sleep is from the Lord. Apply it and you will last through the fast.
5. Practice worshiping the Lord. If you want to last through the fast, develop a home-habit, a work-habit and a quiet-time habit of worshiping the Lord. Singing songs that honor God and quiet time thinking about His will for your life will absolutely strengthen you and give you the motivation you need to complete the fasting journey.
6. Drink a protein shake and have a cup of coffee. Shakes that are high in protein assists the body with the transition to less food and the caffeine from coffee will often help with headaches and the feeling of hunger. This also means that you should not "binge eat" during non-fasting periods. This program of gradually increasing the fasting periods is a process of adjusting your body's ability to go longer without food. Our goal is to last through the 40 day fast, but if you binge eat during your non-fasting periods, it will set you back because you'll become distracted from spiritual growth as your body demands more food to satisfy hunger. As a reminder, stop and pray when you feel hungry, read your bible or call a friend for encouragement, which brings us to the last suggestion.
7. Fellowship with other believers. There is an old saying, "association brings on assimilation". It is important for you to be in the company of other people who are striving for the same or similar goals. In this case, growing spiritually and becoming stronger in our faith through fasting and prayer. Being in the company of others who will encourage you to last through the fast is a good thing! Go to church, make plans to have lunch or dinner together, communicate with other believers by email, text, telephone, social media and any other means available. Sticking close to a community of like-minded believers provides a powerful support system that you need. It will help you stay strong and reach your goal.
These are just a few suggestions to help you last through the fast. A word of caution, if you have a health condition that requires a specific regimen of food intake, you must seek the advice of your physician before fasting. That is particularly important as we go to longer periods of fasting. Too, if at any point you find yourself becoming ill or weak, don't hesitate to get something light to eat or seek medical attention. We don't want anyone to get sick in the name of spiritual growth. That is not the will of God. 2 Corinthians 3:6 reminds us that God has "made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." Therefore, if you need to eat, eat something light to refresh your body and expand your capacity.
Our current fasting schedule of 7pm to 3pm will continue through April 9th. Then beginning April 10th, we will transition to the final phase of fasting from 7pm to 6pm. Finally, beginning the week of April 15th to April 19th (Good Friday), we will have Morning Glory prayer for 30 minutes, beginning each morning at 6:30am. And on the evening of Good Friday, we will meet at High Hopes Church to formally end the fast in fellowship together. If you happen to be in the area, we welcome you to join us. If you practice these things listed above, you will last through the fast.
Lord, we are so thankful for the inspiration you've given us to last through the fast. We surrender our body, soul and spirit to You. Dear Lord, give us growth and ability to fulfill Your kingdom agenda. Help us to stay spiritual minded, to mediate on Your Word, to rest well, worship and fellowship together so that we emerge on the other side rooted, grounded and steadfast in our commitment to reflect Your glory in the earth. As others watch our commitment to grow stronger in our faith, cause our witness to move them to seek You earnestly for themselves. Let them find, in Christ, the answers and freedom that is promised to all who receive you as Lord and Savior. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen!
~Inspiring hope and seasoning faith, Pastor Sean