My favorite season of the year is summer and the end of summer usually makes me sad. But one thing gets me very excited this time of year, our church’s “21 Days of Prayer & Fasting.” I know it might sound kooky to some, but this semi-annual event is my favorite and has been life-changing for me… here’s why.
- Fasting – This spiritual discipline stretches me. Not at first, though. I treated it casually… I would pick something easy to give up like bread, you know, something I try to avoid anyway. Last summer I decided to do it for real. I began reading about fasting and praying about how God would want me to approach this discipline. That is when I came across the “Daniel“ fast. I decided I would not be legalistic about it but approach this season with an open heart and with reverence and sincerity. I abstained from “rich foods” and only ate one meal per day. It was hard for the first 3 days and then I got used to it. I spent my usual meal times feasting on Bible study, prayer, meditation and worship. God honored that time by allowing me to experience the kind of mental clarity that enabled me to hear his voice in a profound way. Fasting can look like a lot of things… some people do a total food fast while others decide to give up their daily Starbucks. The important thing is the intent of your heart… to do it in a meaningful, God-honoring way.
- Mornings – The first time I participated in “21 Days”, I fasted from sleeping in! I know that sounds silly, but I am not a morning person whatsoever. I HATE the sound of an alarm and I like to ease gently into my day. During “21 Days” I am up and spending time in worship by 6:00am, ready to meet with the Lord. I can’t explain it but in the days leading up to “21 Days”, the Lord faithfully begins waking me up earlier and earlier. By the time we begin the season of corporate prayer and fasting, I have already eased into a new routine and can enter this time joyfully instead of with dread. Isn’t God good!
- Revelation – I love to journal and I spend time writing in my journal each morning all year round. For “21 Days”, though, I keep a separate journal. These seasons are so rich and full of new revelation from God that I like to document what he is saying in a different way to make it easier to reference down the road. The tender moments he speaks to my heart, the scripture verses that come alive in a new way, a worship song that touches my soul, a word spoken by a pastor or friend… all of this goes into my “21 Days” journal. It is so fun to look back and see what God did in that short period of time!
- Renewal – At the end of the three weeks, I am spiritually refreshed, renewed and energized. How I need this more than ever in 2020!! We all need refreshing right now. I know I’m not alone in saying that 2020 has been challenging on so many levels. We feel depleted in this world of chaos and uncertainty. I am desperate for this sweet time alone with Jesus right now and I can’t wait to see what he will do this time around!
Have you ever enjoyed a season of prayer and fasting? Would you like to experience God on a new level? I want to invite you to join me beginning this Sunday, August 9th. Pray and ask God what he wants from you in this season. There are no hard and fast rules. Try it for one week or go for the full 21 days. Ask God for a fresh word of revelation and spiritual renewal. He is faithful and willing to meet you where you are to take your relationship with him to the next level.
My home church, Daystar Church, has online tools available to guide us in this process on our church app (under resources), Facebook and Instagram. There will even be a Spotify playlist to kickstart your worship experience!
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18
©️Elizabeth Smith 2020