Day 47: “The Fasting Experience,” 

Part 1

Center Down

Our breath prayer: As you inhale, whisper, “Your face, O Lord…  As you exhale whisper, “…do we seek.”

Slowly read aloud the following Scripture

Rescue me, God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I have sunk in the slime of the deep, and there is no place to stand. I have entered the watery depths, and the current has swept me away.  I am exhausted from my calling out.  My throat is hoarse.  My eyes fail from hoping for my God.

Master, O Lord of armies let those who seek You be not disgraced through me, God of Israel.  Because for You I have borne reproach [disdain], disgrace has covered my face.  Estranged I have been from my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s sons. For the zeal of Your house has consumed me, the reproach of Your reproachers has fallen on me.  And in fasting I wept from [afflicting] my being [nephesh]–[my affliction] became a reproach for me.  I made sackcloth my garment and became for them a byword [an example to be mocked].

God, as befits Y our great kindness, answer me with Y our steadfast rescue.  Save me from the mire, that I not drown.  Let me be saved from my foes and from the watery depths.  Let the waters’ current not sweep me away and let not the deep swallow me, and let the Pit not close its mouth on me.  Answer me, LORD, for Your kindness is good, in Your great compassion turn to me.  And hide not Your face from Your servant, for I am in [dire] straits. Hurry, answer me.  (Psalm 69:1-4; 7-12; 14b-18, Alter)

For further exploration:

Videos:  http://study.watch/NefeshBibleProject  http://b.link/JoelGreenNefesh (scholarly, 8min)

Article: http://b.link/SBLaffliction

Kingdom Prayer

Our Father, we thank You for demonstrating Your loving-kindness and tender mercies towards us. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from the power of the evil one.  Thank You for calling us to fast.  We are thankful for Your presence in our lives. Lord, there is none like You.  You are great and Your Name is full of power.  Who would not fear You, O King of the nations?  That title belongs to You alone.  Among all the wise people of the earth and in all the kingdoms of the world, there is no one like You.

Omniscient Father, we know that there is a season for everything.  There is a time for every purpose under heaven. As the Body of Christ, we make our declaration to set aside time to fast and spend time with You.  By faith, we expect to experience Your love, power, and presence as we afflict ou r souls with prayer and fasting.  We will re-evaluate our lives, repent for our sins, and draw closer to You.

Holy Spirit, help us to reflect, repent, reconcile, remember, and rejoice.  Cause the mind of Christ to be in us.  Please help us to slow down and spend quality time with You.  Reveal to us what needs to be changed or improved in our lives.  Help us to mend broken relationships.  Continue to touch our hearts about the Father’s will for our lives.  Cause Your peace to settle into our hearts.

Compassionate Father, forgive us for all acts of sinfulness including:  idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, sexual immorality, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, and revelries.  Forgive us for not always obeying Your Word and spending enough time with You.   Forgive those who do not choose to fast this week.  Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).

Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive.  As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive.  (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive.  As He reveals them say,

“I forgive name of person(s).”  Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)

Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

Lord, You are the only true God.  You are the living God and the everlasting King!  The whole earth trembles at Your anger and the nations cannot stand up to Your wrath.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Concepts to Consider

“So it begins, the great battle of our time.”  (Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings.)  At some level, fasting is indeed a battle.  Empowered by the partnering grace of the Holy Spirit we do battle with ourselves, aka our “nephesh” (“ne-FESH” ֶנֶ פשׁ “throat/being-ness/ animal appetites”)  in order to bring all that we are into Godly alignment. In fasting we push back against the “desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes and the pride of possession” (1 John 2:16). 

“Afflicting” (“a-NAHָעָָנָה ) our nephesh generally means to “submit” or “bow down” our whole being.  Since the folly of our First Parents in the garden of Eden, our nephesh has tended to embrace its more animalistic temperament. You see, both humans and animals are nephesh but only humans, by the grace of God,  have been given a “neshamah” (“neh-SHA-mah,” נשמה “the breath of God”) as a Divinely-endowed awareness of our Creator, and faculty for reasoning that (theoretically) prevents us from acting more like animals than human beings created in God’s image.

So as you begin your fasting experience today, be of good courage! Instead of “pushing through,” consider “leaning into” the discomfort.  Work with the pain rather than resist it. This principle is true for birthing mothers, people on a healing journey, and fasting “nephesh tamers.”

“If you sit down to dine with a ruler, you better have a good idea who is sitting in front of you (whether he is stingy or generous), and you should put a knife into your jaw rather than embarrass yourself with gluttonous behavior. Be the master of your nephesh (throat/being/animal appetite).”  (Proverbs 29:1-2, PKO paraphrase)

Today as you fast consider filling the time you would have spent eating with Scriptural prayers.  Feast on the Word. Have a sit-dow “Soul Feast” with your Creator and Savior who loves you.  The following websites offer organized Scriptural prayers for many times throughout the day. See: http://b.link/DivineHours or: https://universalis.com/

Also, please reflect on your experience with fasting in some tangible way (journal, blog, vlog, create, etc.)

Reflection Questions
  1. Personal Reflection: As you enter the fast today, what are your thoughts? Feelings?  With the help of the Holy Spirit, release all expectations and allow God to set the agenda for your fast.
  2. Kingdom Reflection: What world event, problem, or issue has God placed on your heart to pray for as you fast?

Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:

If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7).   Turn off or put down all distractions.  Close your eyes.  Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word,  phrase,  or image from the Scripture you read today.  Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord.   If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Biblical word, phrase, or image.  You may want to set a timer.

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