Friday, January 28, 2011

Practics of Regular Weekly Fasting

Fasted Lifestyle Lesson #4

(I am not a doctor nor do I claim to have a medical education. This post is based on personal experience only.)

After trying lots of fasts over the years I have learned a few things about my body and how to fast. As I mentioned in my previous post on The Discipline of Fasting there are many types of fasts. I need to cover two things in this post... first and briefly, since we are coming off of a 21 day fast lets look at...

Going on and off of longer fasts...
When I am going to be fasting three days or more, I begin days or a week or more ahead cutting our complex, hard-to-digest foods. For me, I cut out sweets, meats, breads, pasta, and processed foods. Next I cut out dairy (except the Activia I eat daily), and then I will start a fast with Fruits, Veges, and grains (oats, nuts, and rice). I usually can go straight to Juice or Water from there. I will do the same thing coming off a fast. I will add back in grains, then bread, then dairy, etc.
*tip* Avacadoes are VERY good for coming off a water fast. This fat is good for the digestive system to work on and get oiled up again.

Grace...Whenever you fast you must stay in tune with the Spirit. If there is not grace, don't go harder on your fast. Use wisdom. Sometimes I have much grace and sometimes I dont. Look for ways to be radical that don't hurt your body. With that said, lets talk about the importance of...

Regular Weekly Fasting...
I started regular weekly fasting three or so years ago. Before that, I fasted often one to three days a month but not consistently. Here's what happens when you commit yourself to consistent fasting. For example, if you are going for a water only fast one day a week, remember what I stated above about preparing your body, you will need to watch what you are eating the day before and the day after. This very well could effect your entire diet. I am not going to state the personal choices I have made in permanent diet changes, because it is still in process of becoming better and better, but that is all in effort to give my body to the Lord.
Some may not want to hear this, but eating unto the Lord is as important as fasting unto the Lord. I will say this, I have made a decision to moderate what I eat as a life-fast to the Lord, lest food become my God. Just like you do 21 day fasts or 40 day fasts on occasion, this is how I have chosen to eat things I consider "indulgences".

Lets also look at fasting other things than food...

I will confess I have had seasons of being addicted to watching television shows, mostly when I am sick in bed I. What happens for me is I slowly lose my spiritual appetite and become dull. Now, maybe you are a great person of discipline and you have supernatural encounters and balance a media life, I'll speak to everyone else... If you are going to fast regularly, you need to keep your heart alive. This is the opposite of "dull". This means you would need to make some life choices regarding TV and internet usage.
We went for a season without internet in our home. We figured, if we needed to go online, the inconvenience of having to do it while we are at the church would help us to only be online doing what is truly necessary. Maybe that would be helpful for some of you as well.

One Last Thought...
Recently we were given some Little House on the Prairie DVDs. I never watched that show as a kids, so it was all brand new to me. I have really been getting rocked by the simplicity of life they led in those days. In one episode, Pa, Michael Landon, was sitting up at night after the kids all went to bed in his chair, and the only book in their house was the Bible. He picked it up and started reading it, and then set it down and turned in.
I was really impressed by that. No television, no radio, his entertainment was family, the Bible, and his fiddle. Many people need this picture in mind to truly understand what this term, "fasted lifestyle" really means. Regular weekly fasting will truly help you to change your 24/7 life, I guarantee it.

Here's a Good Resource for Breaking A Fast

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Discipline of Fasting

Fasted Lifestyle Lesson #3

Oh how I love to fast! I remember the first time I did a water only fast.
I had just gotten saved, radically. Actually, I had been going to church, prayed the "sinner's" prayer, done all the right things, but I was still really struggling with sin.

It was at age 19, I was helping our youth group and we were having a youth band worship practice. Before practice we gathered in a circle to pray, and we were visited by Holy Spirit in a way I had never experienced. I think there was about eight or ten of us. Two hours or so later, we were still on the floor. There was singing in tongues, praying in tongues, crying, weeping, groaning, snot covered faces, the whole nine yards. It was the most significant prayer meeting of my life thus far.

That night I met God. I will forever be changed. I was not the same girl that walked into that room when I left that night. I found out that there was more of God than I knew the day before and I wanted more- in fact I wanted ALL I could possibly get, but what was available to me?

When I heard about fasting, I jumped on board! I thought, "Wooooo Hooooo! I'm gonna get more of God, its gonna be supernatural!!!" I had no idea fasting meant "weak" and not "powerful". This was a big shock!

I took lots of time to read every book I could on fasting. I even watched "VHS's" on Fasting- remember those? I began to develop a method for fasting to sustain me so I could be successful at gaining closeness to God.

There are many reasons to fast, and many types of fasts. I want to briefly talk about the regular weekly fasting for the purpose of drawing near to God.

I have a personal conviction over fasting food regularly for the purpose of groaning for my Jesus. In my weak state I can truly come to grips with the truth that I am not all that. That apart from Him I can do nothing. The truth is I am a pretty good person on the outside and can do a lot in my flesh that pleases both God and Man, but it the inner man that needs to look a little better... (1 Samuel 16:7)

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter two, when questioned about the disciples fasting, Jesus responded:

“How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast." Mark 2:19-20

Jesus basically was saying that while He was with them as a physical presence they should be enjoying Him, His presence, feasting. Because a time was coming when His presence would be removed and they would be groaning and missing Him. That would be the time to fast, to weep, and to mourn. It's not mourning a death as if He will never be back, but it is mourning a longing for the day He returns.

When you are fasting and you are weak, physically, it reminds you of your need for Him to sustain you, and your longing for His presence to be greater. Oh, I love this- right about the end of my third day of fasting on an extended fast I feel this high in my weakness, I can't describe it, but its the "good kind of hurt".

When I do a one-two day weekly fast I really look forward to my fasting days, in fact it causes me to posture my heart and my physical lifestyle differently to accommodate the sacredness of this time. But more on that in Practics of Keeping a Weekly Fast...

*Great Video Resource- Teaching By Wes Martin- click on "The Great Exchange"

Monday, January 17, 2011

What Do I Do in the Prayer Room for 8 Hours?

This is a Resource I created to help give a platform for those trying to structure their time in large chunks in the Prayer Room. If you are an Intercessory Missionary especially, it is important to have direction for your Sacred Trust time.

Different Types of Prayer Focus:

I. Adoration - proclaiming who God is and the attributes of His character

II. Confession - personal cleansing, repentance, putting on of Christ’s nature

III. Thanksgiving - praise offering, remembering the works of the Lord, meditation

IV. Communion – fellowship with God, talking about what’s on Your heart, thought cleansing

V. Supplication - asking, intercession, and petitioning according to His will

VI. Meditation – disciplined time meditating on small portions of scripture, writing and drawing revelation from the passage (read, write, say, sing, pray)

VI. Bible Study – studying and cross referencing passages and Biblical themes of personal interest or teaching preparation

It is important time is spend in the proper order, for example, adoring God first, exalts Him and who He is in your mind, thus naturally leading to seeing ourselves and less than God and in need of confessing our weak areas and need for Him. This then naturally leads us to thank Him and so on. Meditation and Bible Study usually soar once we have cleansed our heart and minds and fellowshipped with the Spirit.

Adoration: (can start at 15min. and expand to 60) Choose a passage of scripture (or a few) and begin to recite the Words and tell God who He is as He is revealed in that passage. [ADORATION Prayer Book by Bob Hartley is a great resource tool.]

Confession: (15 - 30 minutes) this may be shorter or longer, this is something you need to press through even when you don’t feel it, when lacking what to ‘confess’. Confession is never about putting yourself down and receiving condemnation. It is always about facing the true convictions of the Holy Spirit and seeing God for who He is in His rightful place of authority in your life. When you don’t know what to confess, try these:

· Your need for Jesus
· Your need for wisdom
· Your lack of understanding and knowledge of God
· Your human weakness

Thanksgiving: (5-15 minutes) Thank Jesus for the attributes spoken of during the adoration time and confession time, count your blessings, see the riches God has bestowed on you in the physical, emotional, and spiritual. [I personally have a daily list I go over reminding myself of all God has done for me, it begins with my salvation.]

Communion: (30 – 60 minutes) Cleanse your thought life of all the things that have been rolling in your head, talk to the Lord about what is bothering you, heavy on Your heart, not asking for anything, just engaging in a conversation rather than ‘venting’ to a friend. Take time to sit still and listen in your heart to His response. Journal any responses you hear from the Lord.

Supplication: (60 -90 minutes) This will be very different for each individual. It’s important to know that you may not cover everything everyday, but if you have a list to work down it helps get you into the place of prayer. If you feel an increase of the presence of the Lord as you are praying for one area, stop there and spend more time on it. Here is my Supplication (Asking/Intercession) list:
  1. Pray for Myself, Strengthening in my inner man. (Mike Bickle has a great resource Booklet, “Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man”
  2. Intercede over my husband and family
  3. Intercede over individuals on my heart from a list in my journal, including a list of people I am contending for their healing .
  4. Pray and ask God for financial favor over individuals who sow/have sown into me personally, my family, and my ministries
  5. Intercede over the pastors and leaders in my life and my church
  6. Intercede over area of Justice, social and political movements, California, Etc.
Meditation: (30-60 minutes) Choose a scripture passage (one verse) and read it over several times. Write it in your journal several times, walk and say it over and over. Begin to isolate words highlighting small portions at a time. In the room, sing bits of the verse at a time to the melody of the music on the set going in the room. Begin to pray the verse, applying it to your life and declaring it over your life and sphere. [refer to my article on Meditating on the Word for more tools and resources]

Bible Study: (60-120 minutes) Have a bible study action plan, books of the bible you are going after in deeper contexts hermeneutically. For example, I break my plan down quarterly and monthly, so if I am studying the Bridal Paradigm, that is the quarter study, each month I may focus on one chapter at a time of the Song of Solomon and going through every cross reference. Study slow. Take time to chew, journal, meditate, pray the verses, ask God for understanding, etc. Don’t just quickly move through commentaries.

I hope this encourages you and I believe it will give you direction in the area of developing a deeper prayer life!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Camaraderie Creed

Fasted Lifestyle Lesson #2

When coming into the House of Prayer community about four years ago, I quickly noticed a "different" family community atmosphere I had never experienced before.

Let me first explain the difference between a "House of Prayer" community verses a "Local Church" community. A Local Church is comprised mostly of people who gather together on Sundays for a Worship Celebration Service and hopefully, do ministry and fellowship together. This was our background and we were use to spending time together with people we "went to church with". In many ways, a local church community is very healthy in that families are building relationships with other families that they worship with on Sundays.

Now a House of Prayer community was a little different...

In the House of Prayer I was with others:
  1. In the Prayer Room
  2. On a worship Team
  3. On a prayer team
  4. At an Encounter God Service
  5. In the House of Prayer Office
I was no longer building relationships around fellowshipping and what I call Second Commandment Ministries together (i.e. Feeding the poor, Evangelism, Etc.), but I was building relationships with people I was #1. Praying With and #2 Worshipping With.

Fellowshipping and doing ministry together is VERY important, this we all know and agree, but I am emphasizing something else for the purpose you'll see in a second- hang on...

Something was different about getting to know people in the posture of prayer. For the first time I had people coming up to me repenting of their attitude, or little remark, of course which I never noticed... but God noticed. See, when you are sitting in a room looking at God ten, fifteen, twenty, or forty hours a week, you are very aware of the condition of your heart. My relationships with the people in the prayer room quickly became very real and transparent, unlike the relationships built on the "Hello's" and "how are you's?" that take place on Sunday mornings. They go deep, fast.

One day I was sitting in an empty prayer room, and the Lord deposited this creed into my heart.

The Camaraderie Creed
I don’t want to run alone.
I want to see my comrades,
I want my comrades to see me.
I want to know that I’m not alone.
I want my comrades to know that I am with them.
I want to be reminded daily of my focus,
and keep things in perspective
I want to be accountable,
and help keep my comrades accountable
I never want to forget His love is better than wine
And it is all about a wedding.

I hope this encourages you; that you are needed. Not just for what you can do and give, but needed in the place of prayer, worship, and fasting. I need to pray and worship with you! I need to see that you are running with me. We are stronger running in a pack, and we need to grow stronger in this hour. Remember, even showing up to the Prayer Room tired and weak for an hour, is still saying "YES".

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


So I have been seeing the number "333"

It was on a bus facing me at a stoplight, the bus number in lights said "333". I thought, "Hmm, I haven't had numbers stand out to me in a long time."

Then, as I'm driving I look at my odometer, which we click to zero when the fuel light comes on, and it says "33.3". Immediately I think, "Jeremiah 33:3" I should look that up when I get home.

"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know."

Other fun facts about 333 I found on the web:

Symbolism of "333"
  • Transition, Change, Travel
  • To awake (physically or spiritually)
  • In 333 BC Alexander the Great conquers Persia under Darius III in the Battle at Issus. He also conquers western Asia Minor, Phrygia, Byblos, Sidon, Syria, etc. Alexander the Great and his four successors are commonly believed to of fulfilled the prophecy in Daniel 8:5-8 as interpreted in Daniel 8:20-22. The historian Josephus even recorded that Alexander spared Jerusalem after the high priest presented the book of Daniel to him.

  • In 333 AD Flavius Julius Constans, the youngest son of Constantine I, is made Caesar at Constantinople. He later becomes co-emperor along with his brothers Constantine II and Constantius II. Constans tolerated Judaism, banned pagan sacrifices, and opposed Arianism (a belief which states that Christ, and by extension the Holy Spirit, was created and is therefore separate from, and inferior to, God the Father).

So I thought I would put this out there, anyone else seeing "333"? Thoughts?

- Gina

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Great and Terrible Day

In the last days I will pour out my Spirit…”

It begins and ends in the Book of Joel for me. It doesn’t matter what I am reading or studying, I end up back in Joel. So much of God’s character is revealed here in this marvelous book.
I use to think this book was narrowly referring to something, an event, that happened in 70 AD when Babylon took Jerusalem, but in carefully looking at the scripture, what is being spoken here could not have happened already.
“… for the Day of the Lord is coming, For it is at hand: a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.” Joel 2:1-2
Whatever the “Day of the Lord” is referring to, it is certainly not to be misunderstood as a a simple but mystical appearing of the Lord. Clearly the Lord wants the reader to understand the darkness and gloominess of that Day, or season of time, and understand this is a “One Time Event”. If it has never happened before and will never happen again, then it hasn’t happened yet.
Why focus on the darkness? I don’t think the Lord is telling us to focus on it, I think He’s put quite an effort into communicating what the end of the age will look like so that we will be focused on Him through it and not be taken off-course in the midst of it. In fact, the more I read about the Great and Terrible Day, I am convinced that the "awesome-ness" (as some translations replace for 'terrible') far surpasses the negative events as we get to partner with Him in the day of His revealing His power to the whole earth.
My greatest passion in my Christian life has been the pursuit of knowing Him and seeing the demonstration of His supernatural power. In fact, I would say I have 'spent' myself to the point of weariness in this pursuit. I am desperate to see Him, to know Him, and to be gripped by His power. The Great and Awesome Day of the Lord will be the ultimate demonstration of His power- and I really don't want to miss it !!! I pray the Lord does not tarry, but returns in my lifetime- it will be AWESOME.

- gina