April 9, 2009

Reflection on a Fast

I recently completed a 30 hour fast and made notes on some of my reflections during that period. I thought I would share them today:

The first evening of the fast I had a meeting of the leadership team at my church, 121 Community Church in Grapevine; a team I recently became a member of. Initially I was concerned that the fast would start with a “business” type meeting but those fears were immediately alleviated.

Our senior pastor asked up to break up into small groups for a period of focused prayer, both for individual needs and also guidance from the Lord in matters we were discussing involving governing the affairs of the church.

In both this small group of prayer, and then the larger group of the meeting itself, it was good to be with other men who were seeking the Lord’s face that evening, who were looking to be obedient to His will in how we directed the church. I find it strengthening to my own resolve to seek His will in this period of fasting, meditation and prayers, knowing how other men I look up to for their desire to be obedient to Him are seeking Him out in prayer as well.

In the morning, after my usual prayer time and bible reading, I opened Handbook to Renewal by Kenneth Boa to a random page to study some Scripture laid out in a topical format. The section I turned to was on Faith, Trust and Dependence in the context of My Relationship to God. There were many passages from the Psalms; I focused on several passages within the Psalms for deeper meditation:

20:7 – Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

38:9 – Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You.

55:22 – Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

94:22 – But the Lord has been my stronghold, And my God the rock of my refuge.
As I study these passages, I realize I can hide nothing from Him and in my concern I reveal my own weakness not His; attacks on my faith, not assaults on His sovereignty.

As evening approached I reflected on how hard it is to wait on the Lord’s timing in my pride and impatience. When is He ready to reveal His will to me? Not until I am ready to receive, and that has a lot to do with how ready I am to be obedient to it.

During the evening I thought about the weakness of my flesh and the strength I have only in Christ, for without Him I am truly weak. I thought about who He would have me serve based on what he has given me and reflect on the following verses:

Isaiah 1:17 - Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.

Hebrews 13:2 - Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

1 Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
From reading these I know I am to use the gifts He has given not for me, but for helping others, for it is through this service that I bring glory to His name and not gain to myself.

At night I also thought about being in the world amongst non-believers but not of the world. My wife and I have felt convicted recently about the lack of interaction we have with non-believers and we both know we need to do more. I reflected on the following verses as I thought about structuring our lives to make more time available to seek out and befriend those who do not know Jesus as Savior.

Luke 10:2 - And He was saying to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.

2 Corinthians 5:11 - Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.

Ephesians 6:19 – and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.
I broke the fast the next morning after doing my morning prayers and bible reading. I also reflected on the following passage out of Oswald Chambers-My Utmost For His Highest which felt like a summary of the fast for me:

“As the disciples were commanded, you should also say nothing until the Son of Man has risen in you— until the life of the risen Christ so dominates you that you truly understand what He taught while here on earth. When you grow and develop the right condition inwardly, the words Jesus spoke become so clear that you are amazed you did not grasp them before. In fact, you were not able to understand them before because you had not yet developed the proper spiritual condition to deal with them. Our Lord doesn’t hide these things from us, but we are not prepared to receive them until we are in the right condition in our spiritual life“.