# 4 . PREPARE YOURSELF

SPIRITUAL    BREATHING

A  great way to prepare for your fast is to practice  “Spiritual Breathing.”
The concept is simple, but it has changed my own life and that of millions of others.
In the beginning of your prayers, confess not only obvious sins, but less obvious ones as well.
The sins of omission as well as the sins of commission experiences.
These may be experiences of neglecting our first love for our Lord:
worldly-mindedness,
self-centeredness,
spiritual indifference,
an unwillingness to mature your faith in Christ through not spending sufficient time in God’s Word and in prayer,
a poor relationship with your spouse,
your children,
your pastor,
or  members of your church or community.

Spiritual Breathing like physical breathing,
is a process of exhaling the impure and inhaling the pure.
If you knowingly sin, breathe spiritually to restore the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit in your life.
You exhale by confessing your sins immediately when you become aware of them,
and you inhale by inviting the Holy Spirit to re-take control of your life.
As an act of faith, trust Him to empower you.
During the fast …
spiritual breathing … with constant reliance on the Holy Spirit
will enable you to resist temptation,
not only to sin but to abandon your fast.

Physical Preparation

Although fasting is primarily a spiritual discipline, it begins in the physical realm.
You should not fast without specific physical preparation.

If you plan on fasting for several days,
you will find it helpful to begin by eating smaller meals before you abstain altogether.
Resist the urge to have that “last big feast” before the fast.
Cutting down on your meals a few days before you begin the fast
will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable.

Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast.
I also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products
to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast.

Manage Your Schedule While Fasting

For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord.
Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him,
the more meaningful your fast will be.

Morning

  • Begin your day in praise and worship.
  • Read and meditate on God’s Word, preferably on your knees.
  • Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will
    and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.
  • Invite God to use you.
    Ask Him to show you how to influence
    your home,
    your family, y
    our church,
    your community,
    your country, and beyond.
  • Pray for His vision for your life
    and empowerment to fulfill His will.

Noon

  • Return to prayer and God’s Word.
  • Take a short prayer walk.
  • Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community’s and nation’s leaders,
    for the world’s unreached millions,
    for your family
    and for special needs.

Evening

  • Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.”
  • If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.
  • Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.

When possible, begin and end each day on your knees
for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Longer periods of time with our Lord in prayer
and study of His Word are often better spent alone.

A dietary routine is vital as well. Dr. Julio C. Ruibal –
a nutritionist, pastor, and specialist in fasting and prayer –
suggests a daily schedule and list of juices you may find useful and satisfying.
Modify this schedule and the drinks you take to suit your circumstances and tastes.

5 a.m. – 8 a.m.

  • Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended
    and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid.
    Apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, or other fruit juices are generally preferred.
    If you cannot do your own juicing, buy juices without sugar or additives.

10:30 a.m. – noon

  • Fresh vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

  • Herb tea with a drop of honey. Avoid black tea or any tea with caffeine.

6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

  • Broth made from boiling potatoes, celery, and carrots with no salt.
    After boiling about half an hour, pour the water into a container and drink it.

Tips on Juice Fasting

  • Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains
    and give you some natural sugar energy.
    The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
  • The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth.
  • Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach’s sake.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks.
    And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your breath is bad.
    They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.

How long you fast,
the kind of fast you undertake,
and how you adjust your work schedule
depends mostly on your occupation.

Persons with office jobs, pastors, or homemakers
may find it easier to continue their duties
and fast for longer periods of time.

Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labor
and have enjoyed their extended fast,
you may wish to fast only one or more days of the week,
limiting yourselves to partial fasting ,  if you are so engaged.

Or you may look to weekends as the prime time to abstain from food.
Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea.
Families may be inconvenienced,
and temptations to eat can be overwhelming.

Reasons for schedule adjustments,
especially during an extended fast,
are two-fold…

The first is physical.
Throughout your fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal.
During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable.
Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise
would be a very good idea to maintain your health
and your morale.

The second reason is spiritual.
Fasting is not just denying yourself food.
It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual.
Long times of prayer and reading God’s Word will be VERY ESSENTIAL
if you are to enter into a more intimate communion with God
to maintain your fast to its completion.
While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands
or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God,
you will starve both physically and spiritually.
You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast
instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed.
I don’t want that to happen to you.

The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him,
and the more you read and meditate upon His Word,
the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer
and the more meaningful your fast will be.
So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly!

Dealing with Friends and Loved Ones

Many people are reluctant to tell others that they are fasting
so they will avoid the sin of the Pharisees:
fasting just to gain recognition for themselves.
I strongly believe that THIS attitude
is a result of a wrong interpretation
of our Lord’s teaching …
Sharing with our loved ones, neighbors and friends the benefits of fasting CAN BE INSPIRING ,
and a testimony to the Lordship of Jesus …

By isolating ourselves from the support of other Christians,
we will be more susceptible to doubts and negative influences (both human and demonic).
We need the prayer shield of our Christian friends and family members ,
to help us continue when we feel alone ,
and when the enemy tempts us to give up …
Eventually, people will notice you are not eating.

However, I have found that unless we see them daily, they do not consider our skipped meal much of a concern.
If you are asked …
Nonbelievers may be satisfied by such a brief answer as,
“I have other plans for lunch today.”  or something similar
Christians should be satisfied when you answer that you are fasting today.

If friends and family express concern for your health,
ease their fears by telling them that you will stop fasting the moment you feel you are harming your body
( Which I cannot emphasize strongly enough for you to follow this advice ) …
or if the Lord leads you to end your fast.
Assure them you are fasting under your doctor’s care,
which I again strongly urge you to seek your doctor’s advice
if you have any question concerning your health.

There is usually no reason for telling strangers or casual acquaintances that you are fasting.
If you do, they may subject you to a lot of questions that you may not want to answer.
But in any case, use your best judgment and the Lord’s leading
in telling people about your fast.

Make Your Spiritual Experience the Best it Can Be

Receiving God’s best blessing from a fast requires solid commitment.
Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father.
You must devote yourself to seeking God’s face, even (and especially)
during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable.
Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes.
Meditate on Him when you awake in the night.
Sing praises to Him whenever you please.
Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship.
God will enable you to experience as you seek His presence to “pray without ceasing”

As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion,
be aware of the serpent’s voice  attempting to pull you away
from your prayer and time of intimacy with the Lord …
When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you,
immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve
in the face of difficulties and temptations.

The enemy targets you because he knows that fasting is the most powerful
of all Christian disciplines
and that God has something very special to show you
as you wait upon Him and seek His face.
Make prayer your shield against such attacks.

Major reason for fasting is for
personal revival,
revival for our nation,
for the world and for the fulfillment of God’s purpose in the earth.

Praying for our own needs and interceding for others are also VERY  important reasons to fast and pray.
Bring your personal needs before the Lord,
intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, your pastor, your community, your nation, and the world.
By your prayers of humility, as you fast, you will help the Great Commission be fulfilled.

However, do not become so caught up in praying for yourself and others
that you forget about
THE FIRST PRIORITY
of reverencing and praising God.
True spiritual fasting focuses on God.
Center your total being on Him,
your attitudes,
your actions,
your motives,
your desires,
and your words.

This can only take place if God and His Holy Spirit are at the center of our attention.

Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention
and continue to focus on God and God alone
so that your prayers may be powerful and effective.

A renewed closeness with God and a greater sensitivity to spiritual things are usually the results of a fast.
Do not be disappointed if you do not have a “mountaintop experience,” as some do.

Many people who have successfully completed extended fasts
tell of feeling a nearness to God that they have never before known,
but others who have honestly sought His face
report no particular outward results at all.
For others, their fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling,
but they knew they had been called by God to fast,
and they completed the fast unto Him as an act of worship;
God honors that commitment.

Your motive in fasting must be to glorify God,
not to have an emotional experience,
and not to attain personal happiness.
When your motives are right,
God will honor your seeking heart
and bless your time with Him
in a very special way.

EXPECT RESULTS

If you sincerely
humble yourself before the Lord,
repent,
pray,
and seek God’s face;
if you consistently meditate on His Word …

You   WILL   experience a heightened awareness of His presence (John 14:21).
The Lord   WILL   give you fresh, new spiritual insights.
Your confidence and faith in God  WILL  be strengthened.
You  WILL   feel mentally, spiritually, and physically refreshed.
You  WILL  see answers to your prayers.

A single fast, however, is not a spiritual cure-all.
Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy Spirit daily,
we also need new times of fasting before God.
A 24-hour fast each week has been greatly rewarding to many Christians.

It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles.
If you fail to make it through your first fast, do not be discouraged.
You may have tried to fast too long the first time out,
or your may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve.
As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you do succeed.
God will honor you for your faithfulness.

I encourage you to join me in fasting and prayer again and again
until we truly experience revival in our homes,
our churches,
our beloved nation,
and throughout the world.

 

 

 

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