Saturday, January 21, 2006

On Prayer & Fasting - For Chin

Hi Chin. Sorry it took me quite a while to get back to you. I would have wanted to email you privately, but you didn't leave an address. So public it is and I hope others will be able to make use if this post as well.

Prayer and fasting doesn't have to follow a specific, standard process, although it helps to prepare for it. Physically, you have to ease your body into it. Like a few days before, start cutting down on the amount you eat. Then taper off to fruits and vegetables a couple of days before. Plan your schedule so you don't do anything taxing (and don't accept dinner dates!). Scale down your physical activities as well (though you can still exercise).

Then commit to a type of fast before you start, like if you will have a water fast (you take water only); a liquid fast (broth and fresh juices, no artificial stuff or sugar; definitely no blendered burgers and fries); or a one-meal a day only (no pigging out at buffets!). Commit also to how long you will fast. As I mentioned previously, at the start of the year, we have a 7-day fast, and throughout the year, once a month. Other people fast from other things; my pregnant friend who had to eat skipped TV the entire fasting period instead. Others give up chatting, smoking (which I believe everyone should give up anyway), reading--something that is important to them.

Preparing spiritually might be a bit harder. This is what differentiates fasting from dieting or going into martyr mode. One of the best books I've read on fasting was "The Mystery of the Empty Stomach" by Joey Bonifacio (it's available in Victory Christian Fellowship bookstores in the Fort and Galleria). Fasting is all about your relationship with God, and he (Joey) likens it to a relationship between a bride and a groom. Us girls, I think, can relate better to this than men ever can. Think of it like when you're preparing for your wedding (or to see your boyfriend), you get so caught up in the preparations, that before you realize it, a day has gone by and you haven't eaten, but you don't mind. The thrill of seeing your groom and preparing is enough to keep you going. As my brother would perhaps put it--food, shmood.

I guess the best way to prepare spiritually is to up your prayer life. After all, fasting is a way to get even closer to God, to be more sensitive to him. So even beforehand, you can get into the mood by reading the bible more, talking to him more, being more conscious of his grace. And have faith. Believe that you can get through the fast.

While you fast, really try to seek God. And when God pinpoints specific areas in your life, make a commitment to change. During the fast, for me at least, it helped that I had some prayer points and something to reflect on (let me know if you want one, I can email you a copy). It helps me keep focused and reminds me why I fast. Of course, it's also a great way to count down till the time I can eat again!
Breaking the fast is like the reverse--start with fruits and veggies again, with smaller portions, before you go back into full blown meals. Believe me, rushing into full meals will make you sick! Then after the fast, keep up the prayer life. And be expectant--believe that you will get the breakthroughs that you are praying for. It helps to write these down, so you have a record of what God has done. You'll be amazed (I still am, when I read my faith goals over the past years).
I do hope this helps you, Chin. I'll be praying for you as well. God bless you beyond your wildest imagination.


chin said...

hi rheea! it took me quite a while to come back here. thanks for sharing about the prayer fasting. i think giving up food for a while is the best type of fasting for me coz i so love food. but i hope i get up the courage - and determination! - to engage in this soon.

randee said...

excellent testimony, cuz =)

chin said...

hi! forgot to give you my email addy for the prayer points. it's thanks again! and i linked you up to my blog too...