I learned the power of fasting years ago. It was during the start of my own inner healing journey. I was scheduled for prayer ministry every second week and I made a commitment to myself to fast for the twenty-four hours leading up to and through my appointments.
I never really could pinpoint the power of that fasting at the time but I did know the power of those prayer sessions, they changed my life. A few years later a friend was experiencing her own set of prayer ministry yet she confided to me that she wasn’t getting much out of them, that God still seemed distant and her heart was not touched.
I suggested that she fast the twenty-four hours leading up to and through her sessions and the next week she reported a profound new depth in her experience of prayer and of healing before the Lord; it was a night and day difference to what had been before.
There is something about fasting that removes our coping mechanisms, our veneers, our defences. When we give up food for a time we are brought low in need and the ultimate sort of preoccupation with self. And in that reminder of our hunger we turn to God with a heart serious on receiving His help; we can’t do this on our own.
As the years progressed and I began ministering in prayer myself there were many a time when I would awake in a morning and was not really hungry and so I would eat very little. Later in the day I would come to find that so-and-so needs an emergency prayer session and then I would know, “Oh that is why I ate so little today.” Many times the Lord orchestrated my fasting without my prior knowledge.
Not only is fasting for ourselves but fasting enters us into spiritual work alongside the Lord Jesus Christ; our understanding is heightened and our perceptions are clearer.
In more recent years my fasting has taken on various modes. I rarely fast food any more and I’ve learned not to fast unless the Holy Spirit explicitly directs me. For fasting must never be used as a manipulative tool to get what we want. It is never a good idea to take what worked here and try to make it work there.
Our walks with the Lord must never become business, never a product that we transfer from here to there thinking that it worked so well there, why not here? Relationship with God is not something to be taken lightly and so we do not move according to our own best wisdom or ideas and this includes fasting.
In recent years as I’ve travelled and ministered overseas each trip is preceded by some sort of fasting. God woos me and invites me to join him and his work, entering into the holy of holies. My first trip was preceded by six weeks of no makeup; no easy feat at the time. Since then I’ve fasted jewelry and tea amongst other things; not easy either if you know me.
I find fasting closely linked to a nesting type experience where all of who I am is entered into silence and heart preparation for a spiritual work to come. Because we at CCI move at the explicit direction of the Holy Spirit and not before, this fasting and nesting is in fact one of the first things to alert me to a trip and to ministry to come. I’ve learned to watch for it and pay attention to it; when my spirit hunkers down there is the Lord’s work for me around the corner.
Fasting is no longer for myself per se, it’s not by my volition but rather it’s an act of preparation and coming alongside the Lord with a tangible and physical sign and commitment that I agree with what is to come and his use of me; I am glad to be alongside God in this way. He directs it and enables it, enables me.
My first trip in 2014 is back to Uganda. We’ve not yet settled on the exact month but I can feel it coming. Thoughts have moved from my mind to my heart and are now settling in my spirit and I’m entering into the nesting and the birthing that precedes a work of the Lord.
This bearing of a work is hard work. The heart of God presses down on me and I become his bearer in a way, birthing him.