Fasting Guide: Kfirst Annual 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting

CRASH Week 1 Title Slide

Tomorrow night, we are launching into our annual time of prayer and fasting at Kfirst.  The series we’re going in is called “Crash.”  Let me explain: A rhinoceros; characterized by it’s tough skin, physical design, and pure power.  A large group or herd of rhinoceros is also known as a “Crash.”  A crash is especially dangerous because of the high amount of force and speed that is combined from the individuals coming together.

What if the “Crash” mindset was applied to the prayer life of a church? While the prayer of an individual, according to James 5:16, “has great power and produces wonderful results.” A group, or a Crash, of those same individuals coming together to pray can have catastrophic results to the kingdom of darkness.  When people are “of one mind,” the prayer capacity of that unanimity can bring about unbelievable outcomes.

Today, I wanted repost my blog from last year to help give some direction to preparing for your fasting as well as some basic instruction on fasting itself.

Fasting requires reasonable precautions. If you have any health concerns, please consult your physician, or other health provider, prior to beginning your fast, especially if you are taking any medication, have a chronic condition, or are pregnant or nursing a baby.

As you prepare to fast:

  • Choose a fasting plan that works for you. It’s very important to mention that there is nothing more inherently spiritual about one type of fast as opposed to another. These are simply guidelines and suggestions on different things you can do.
  • Do not let what you eat or do not eat become the focus of your fast. Keep the main thing the main thing, which is drawing closer to God.
  • Remember, this is a time to disconnect from your regular patterns and habits in order to connect more closely to God.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind before getting started.

1. START WHERE YOU ARE. We are all at different places in our walk with God. Whether you’ve fasted before or this is your first time, start where you are. Your personal fast should present a level of challenge to it, but it’s very important to know your own body, know your options and, most importantly, seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. Remember, the goal of fasting is not just to do without food. The goal is to draw nearer to God.

2. GET INTO THE ZONE. While any true fast does involve abstinence from food or at least certain types of food, typically, different fasting combinations work better for different people. The goal to having a successful fast is all about finding what we like to call your Fast Zone, and that is different for everybody.

The best way to describe your Fast Zone is that it’s the place where you feel light and spiritually in tune. Your mind is easily focused on God and spiritual things. You have an increased spiritual energy – you can feel the fast working. Just like runners know what their target heart rate is to see the benefits of their physical training, the Fast Zone is similar in a spiritual sense.

Finding your Fast Zone helps you choose both the type and length of fast. Let’s say you choose to go on a Daniel fast (only fruits and vegetables). Should you eat beans? If you can eat beans and stay in your Fast Zone, go ahead. But for some people eating beans takes them out of the zone. Should you eat peanut butter? Probably not. Peanut butter is more of an indulgence, and not many people can stay in a Fast Zone while enjoying indulgences. Should you completely cut out caffeine? It depends. The great thing is, when you fast, your body automatically craves less caffeine. If you can stay in your Fast Zone with a little caffeine, great. If you are going on a longer fast and want to cut it out of your diet completely, that’s great too. But ease yourself off and make it your goal to be completely caffeine free about two-thirds of the way into your fast.

If you drink coffee regularly, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to fast for one to three days and cut caffeine out abruptly and completely. Please don’t do that or you will spend this time grumpy and in withdrawal instead of enjoying God’s presence.

Mixing things up a bit during a 40-day fast is what typically works best for people. For example, do a fruits and vegetables fast for a week. Then do all liquids for a while. Maybe even mix in a few days of only water if you think you are ready for that. Then go back to fruits and vegetables for a few days.

There isn’t one approach that works the same for everyone. Follow the Holy Spirit, mix it up, find what works for you, and stay in your Fast Zone!

3. CHOOSE YOUR TYPE OF FAST. While preparing, it is important to choose ahead of time what type of fast, or what combination, you will pursue. Not only will this help with making the necessary preparations, but as you commit and know how you’re going to do it, you will position yourself to finish strong.

You may choose to fast all 40 days. Or you may choose to fast several days out of the 40 days, such as three or four days a week throughout the 40-day period. Maybe you will do that and do three to seven consecutive days at the end. This is your personal decision and should be prayerfully considered as it applies to your circumstances.

Different Types of Fasts:
COMFORT FAST
In this type of fast you omit a specific item(s) from your meal plans. For example, you may choose to eliminate all red meat, processed or fast food, or sweets. Most people can incorporate this type of fast relatively easily. It can also prove to be a great solution for people with specific dietary needs or medical conditions that may cause certain limitations. While fasting typically refers to refraining from specific food items, you may also find it extremely beneficial to fast from a regular activity or habit. This might include things such as television, social media, and the like.  A media fast  is a great fast for kids.

Prayer and fasting are not just about connecting to God but also about disconnecting from the world. Try to tune out some of the regular distractions from your day as much as possible. Replace that time with things that will nourish you spiritually.

DANIEL FAST
The Daniel fast is a great model to follow and one that is extremely effective for spiritual focus, bodily discipline, and purification of the body and soul. It is probably one of the most commonly referred-to fasts; however, within the Daniel fast there is room for broad interpretation.

In the book of Daniel we find two different times where the prophet Daniel fasted. Daniel 1 states that he only ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage does not give a specific list of foods that Daniel ate, it does state that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. So based on these two verses, we can see that either of these, or combinations of the two, constitute a Daniel fast.

JUICE FAST
A juice fast is simply consuming vegetable and fruit juices and water instead of solid food. Many people include whey protein in their liquid plan as well. This is one of the most popular and effective fasts. Even if you choose not to make your entire fast liquids only, substituting one or two meals for liquids is a great alternative.

WATER FAST
A water-only fast is the normal fast referred to in the Bible. This is how Jesus and the New Testament church fasted. A water fast is just that – no eating of any food or drinking of any liquids except water.

Periodic water fasts can be very beneficial, but extreme precautions should be taken. For some people it is hard to perform effectively at their jobs and have energy for their families while drinking only water.

We recommend consulting your physician first, and water fasting only for a day or two unless you can get away or your job allows you to really disconnect so you can give your best energy to the fast. Remember, when Jesus went on His forty-day fast, He went by Himself out into the wilderness.

Having said all that, there are some people who can water fast and work, and they function fine without much fatigue and are able to work well. You are blessed if you are one of these people.

4. BEGIN AND BREAK THE FAST WELL
Depending on the type of fast you choose, it is very important to prepare your body ahead of time before beginning the fast. Take a time to transition into your fast; otherwise, you could get sick.

The same principle applies to breaking your fast. When your fast is over, add foods back in very gradually. Please don’t break your fast with a greasy cheeseburger! Because your body is so cleansed and detoxified, you will most likely get sick if you do that.

I’m excited about our start this Wednesday.  I’m looking forward to 40 days of seeing Kfirst crash this world with prayer.

#CrashOn

2 Minute Devo: “Who do you trust?” Psalm 20

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September is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Restoring Joy”.  I want to invite you to join me as we. It’s as simple as viewing  the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is Psalm 20:

Psalm 20

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!

    May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah

May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!

Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.

O Lord, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.

“Direct Deposit”

The Barringer Fam

What an amazing day at Kfirst yesterday.  Coming off a message on gratitude, I’m very thankful for an atmosphere of the Lord’s presence and a church community I get to share it with.  I’m excited to “circle” this church in gratitude daily.

One more thought about gratitude:

Do we stop being thankful because we’ve taken the Lord for granted? Do we wake up and go about our day without the thought that, well, we woke up and that’s something to be thankful for.  We get to enjoy “new mercies” every morning according to Lamentations.

In Midland, we used to do direct deposit of all of our paychecks. It saves a trip to the bank. It saves the “hassle” of standing in line, filling out deposit slips, and waiting our turn to do business. (side note: it’s amazing what we consider a hassle in our western culture…but I’ll save that for another blog)

Here in Kalamazoo, we deposit the old-fashioned way. I walk in, check in hand, and write it all out on the slip.  I’ll admit I hassle the person at the counter when there are no blue suckers in their candy dish. It’s no big deal to me.  But it’s got me thinking…

I wonder if we lose out on something when we don’t hold the check in our hand. I wonder if we take for granted what we earn and the freedom and privilege to earn it.  Do we, as we said yesterday, have a sense of entitlement.  We approach our paychecks as “this is what I earned so I deserve it” mentality. If so, it’s no wonder why we’ve lost out on our gratitude.

We wake up and enjoy endless mercies.  We read the Word of God and get fed to capacity. We lean upon the Lord who has endless strength. Maybe we  need to ask the Lord to open our eyes to see what He has already blessed us with instead of asking for more blessings today.  We, in a sense, get the direct deposit of new mercies.  But maybe we need to recapture the wonder of what has been poured into us daily.

I’m grateful I live under the covenant of mercy and grace. One more time, I’m broken by the realization of His sacrifice for me. I’m speechless when I try to comprehend what I would be without Him.

Psalms 34 (ESV)

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

One of my favorite bands to listen to while spending some time in gratitude before the Lord.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

The lingerie of life.

Lingerie is meant for one thing: attraction…

…and the attraction it was designed for is meant to lead to intimacy.

Anne will say, it doesn’t take much to attract me to her.  It could be the “typical man” type of mindset, but I began to ask myself the other side of that: what repels me?  What turns me off? What spoils the beauty of an individual?

What I feel the Lord dropped in my heart was so simple.

Your words.

I looked at Anne this morning said, “I’ve got it.  Words are ‘the lingerie of life.'” She looked a bit confused and slightly concerned over my mental state. I went on to explain, when our words are poured out to our spouses, it can make us to most appealing, attractive individual.  It becomes a “turn on” to our spouse.  I’m not saying there’s immediate sexual desire that stirs. But there is an emotional intimacy that connects to our spouse’s heart that draws them to you.

Since the blog, “Seducing your spouse with the five senses,” I have pondered breaking each of the senses down periodically over the next year.  (I’ve also ponder writing a book with the same name.) I have been thinking about attacking the issue of our words.  While mulling this blog over, it was just a few days ago when a friend, that is passionate about marriage, sent out the tweet:

“Make love with your words outside the bedroom. That really helps during love-making in the bedroom.”

It was confirmation of what I wanted to deal with today.  We need to have marriages that will foster love and intimacy with their words. They need to see their communication (verbal and nonverbal) are more intertwined with the bedroom than they thought.

Have you ever met someone who became the most unattractive and unappealing person by their words.  I recall my single life  when I would see a young lady that, outwardly, was attractive to me only to be turned off by what came out of her mouth.   To put the shoe on the other foot, I wonder how many times I repelled a young lady away by some of the words/phrases I used.  Our words are more powerful than what we give them credit for.

It becomes a confusing state.  In our minds, the other person is  surface attractive…BUT something about their words (tones, mannerisms, phrases, character issues) is transforming them before our eyes into something that repels us away.   It is truly unfolding what the scripture says in Matthew 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Our words bring to fruition what lie beneath our surface.

I heard, years ago, that sex begins in the kitchen (actually, it’s a best-selling book). I’m not talking about locations for you and your spouse to make love.  I’m talking about how intimacy begins from the moment you wake up.  Why the kitchen? That’s where people are, on the most part, fully awake having breakfast. I’ll admit,  Anne and I don’t talk much in the morning till we are fully awake.  It’s like a scene from “The Walking Dead” where two zombies are wandering till showers and caffeine kick in.  But when we do begin to talk…that’s where our intimacy begins.   Again, couples, especially men, have to get out of their minds that intimacy is when the lights turn off and you are under the covers.

There is so much dysfunction in marriages when it comes to attraction. On one hand, you’ve got on spouse who can be turned on at a moment’s notice regardless of the day or time.  On the other hand, the other is in no mood because the “abundance of the heart” of their spouse has been on display all day and has made that him the most unappealing individual.  Once we close the door, we assume it’s time for intimacy. Most don’t realize, if that’s when you’re ready to foster intimacy, you are a number of hours too late.

I believe that you and I can foster and atmosphere of intimacy and attractiveness in our marriage by having naked conversations. Before you freak out and I now become your husband’s favorite pastor by encouraging nudity, I’ll explain what I mean. Genesis 2:25 says Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed.” There, consistently, was nothing hidden in their marriage. Everything about them was open to see. Put your defenses down and have  consistent, open, and honest communication.  By raising up conversational walls/barriers between you and your spouse, you will cover the openness/nakedness that your marriage was meant to have. I’ll give you a TRUTH: Without talking, your marriage will not survive.  The more you openly communicate, the closer you will be. Here’s some helpful tips:

1.    Timing is everything.   When you reconnect with your spouse at the end of a workday, don’t launch into your frustrating day immediately.  Intimacy is just like good comedy…it’s all about timing.  Let the moments create conversational opportunities and flow.

2. Do some spouse reconnoissance?. Reconnaissance is a mission to obtain information by visual observation or other detection methods. Find out what humor’s your spouse and look for ways to insert humor into your conversations.   What do they like to talk about?  What do they see as fun?  Don’t have your conversations be “all business” (kids, finances, mother-in-law, etc). When Anne knows there’s a significant game on tv, she’ll ask about it even though she doesn’t  care about sports. She cares because I care.  It means the world to me.

2. Provide emotional support, validation, and compliments. If you don’t feel that you spouse likes and respects you, there will not be a strong connection. You have to lift each other up and let each other know the depth of your caring.  He/she needs to know you care.  How do emotional affairs start?  When someone at home ceases to care and opens up the job to someone else to care.  Don’t be that husband/wife who does that!!!  No one will should out-compliment me when it comes to Anne.  No one should beat me as her biggest supporter.

3. Don’t be afraid to get “dirty”…but be careful. Being great roommates just won’t cut it. There has to be the desire to be together as a couple. Sensuality is a great part of a healthy marriage.  I use the word “dirty” but there’s nothing wrong/dirty about it. The desire you have for sensuality is God-given.  He designed you that way. But remember: there’s a time and place.  At the dinner table in front of the kids? Unless you want them to go into counseling…please save it for a more appropriate time.  You may think the spark has gone, but there are too many ways conversationally to rekindle it. Send messages (please be careful) to your spouse.  It’ll make them come home earlier than expected.  Make your spouse feel like the most attractive person alive.  Let him/her know you still desire them.  All you have to do is try.

4. Be humble…always. Express Compassion, repentance, acceptance, and forgiveness. Humility will show you the way through difficult seasons. Humility is sexy.  As your marriage grows, there will be losses, challenges, and some things that you just can’t fix in your own power. Dealing with the storms together is a big part of what relationships are all about. We all mess up. Learning to understand and let go of mistakes that you or your spouse make will turn your life around and foster more time for joy.

5. Pray together.  It doesn’t have to be a prayer that recaps the entire Pentateuch.  Keep it simple. Create moments when there is conversational intimacy that involves you, your spouse, and the Lord. He established the institution of marriage.  It’s only right to keep him in our conversational intimacy.   Spiritual intimacy becomes the fuel for deeper emotional and physical intimacy.  It reconnects you to the One you were designed to be in fellowship with and opens up depths to the rest of our oneness with our spouse.

Keep growing your intimacy.  Keep up the pursuit of your spouse.  Don’t forget the lingerie (referring to this article).

Thanks for letting me ramble…