Hi Friends, is it too late to say “Happy New Year!”
Welcome to your BEST year yet! 🎉
I truly believe this is going to be a significant year for you, let’s be expectant together – Amen!
Okay, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to share something as personal as this topic but once I prayed about it, I realized I needed to! And I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I’m sharing with you today, so feel free to leave me a comment below.
Let me start with this; at the beginning of each year, since becoming a Christian in 2014, I’ve practiced the discipline of fasting and prayer. I started with a couple days a week, then worked my way to seven days, then ten days and so on. I’ve tried many different types of fasts: Daniel fast, partial fast (6am – 6pm), water only fast, 72 hr-no food/no water fast, and extended fasts (7+ days).
For me, fasting is like a muscle. It became “easier” and more enjoyable as I grew in the understanding of fasting as a biblical principle, and the more I engaged myself in its practice. And let me tell you, no matter what type of fast I was led to do – God met me where I was! They’ve been some of the greatest days of my life, each and every time!
Since David and I got married, we’ve agreed in prayer + fasting together, and we’ve continued to grow closer to one another! This year was no exception.
For us, fasting is not a religious duty but a beautiful opportunity to passionately seek the Lord. Jeremiah 29:13 AMP says:
Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
That was the posture of our heart – we wanted to find Him.
We always begin a fast with expectant hearts, believing we will encounter His presence and the depths of who God is. Fasting, coupled with prayer, is powerful! It’s become an intentional way of disconnecting from the world and connecting deeply to the one who created it all. It’s honestly something we look forward to throughout the year – pushing away the plate (our food) to focus and grow intimately, closer to God.
“…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” – Matthew 4:4b NKJV
A beautiful example that I think about, when dedicating time like this, is when Jesus would “go up into the mountains by himself and pray” (Matthew 14:23). He would feed 5,000 people, heal numbers of broken and hurting forgotten ones, preach incredible sermons and live completely poured out; yet He would still intentionally step away to be with the Father. Even Jesus longed to be alone with God. And I can cry just thinking about it!
So, with that in mind, I started my 21 days with a brand new approach in the way I was to focus my time with Him. For the first time, I was going to follow a 21 day bible reading plan. I had never done anything quite like this before and I was excited for the challenge and the growth I was going to experience from waiting on God, through His Word!
This 21 day bible reading plan led me through the entire New Testament, minus the book of Revelation, in 21 days! 🤯 Can anyone say, “m i n d b l o w n!”
Each day, I could read anywhere from eleven chapters to sixteen chapters – so edifying! It may sound like a lot (or maybe it doesn’t because reading is like breathing for you haha) but it was so worth it.
Before I started this bible plan + prayer & fasting, I knew I needed to do things differently than I’ve done in the past. And I knew I needed to separate myself from distractions. I wanted to be focused on one thing, Jesus 💕. I made sure I was able to wholeheartedly study God’s Word and intentionally be in His presence.
Move your heart closer and closer to God, and he will come even closer to you… – James 4:8 TPT
To give some background, when David and I go into a time of fasting we like to create a number of prayer points. At the beginning of the 21 days we established 30 prayer points. We weren’t shooting for 30 but that’s what we came to. We realized that praying 30 points a day would be hard to do efficiently, so we divided them into three weeks – ten prayer points each week.
We then categorized those points into “subsections” (personal, external, body of Christ, etc.). It makes our prayer time together so incredibly, fruitful! It has always kept us focused and spiritually on a mission – I love it! It also helps us organize our prayer time so we aren’t thinking of things to pray for at the time of prayer; we already know because we created a list. And we always desire for the Spirit of God to lead us in the direction of our prayers but the prayer points help us stay focused and “complete the mission.”
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. - Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
The best advice I’ve received to help me have an effective prayer time, is to always have scripture to support my prayers (at least two to three Bible verses per prayer point). Praying from the heart is beautiful and necessary, but when you couple that with the unfailing Word of God, you know you are praying God’s perfect will because His will is His Word. And God’s Word in your mouth is just as powerful as if it were coming from anyone else. “God is no respecter of persons“(Acts 10:34) but He always honours His Word.
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11 ESV
So, in doing that, I decided to stay off all my social media accounts and I chose to limit my availability for most things outside of my home, minus church of course. Again, this was my own decision to put up these boundaries but it was intentional because I was desiring to experience some serious fruit from my 21 days.
I have to give a shout out to one of my favourite ministers, Evangelist Teddy Shuttlesworth; I’ve learned so much from His ministry and style of Biblical teaching. It was his bible reading plan that I was following for the duration of this fast. His latest book, “The 21 day fast field guide”, is a complete daily devotional that will motivate you as it correlates with the chapters of the plan each day. It also provides simple and effective prayer points to jump start your prayer engine. It was a great way for me to start my mornings before I began reading through the chapters of the day.
You’re probably wondering, “how did you read eleven chapters a day though”? It wasn’t without planning that’s for sure. It honestly took me anywhere from four to eight hours to complete my reading because of all the notes and research I was doing throughout my study time – God’s Word is so rich guys, it simply made me go deeper! I could have read a verse one million times prior, but this time it was different; God was presenting me with new revelations, new insights into His majesty – into His truths.
I began my days with reading the devotional, which led me into prayer and worship, which led me to the reading of the chapters – just like that. I would start my work day and every chance I got, any break I got – I would read a chapter or I would fill in those moments with prayer. The times I would mindlessly scroll on my phone, became the perfect opportunities for me to renew my mind in His Word.
And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. - Romans 12:2 AMP
My lunch time turned into a solid 30 minutes of waiting… waiting for the Holy Spirit to speak to me with my pen in my hand ready to record His direction, His instruction. You can say my bible became my notebook and my journal all in one. The place where God’s Word and the words He spoke to me from His Word, met. The Lord is always speaking, He always has something to say, and He’s always searching for someone with a listening ear; someone He can share His secrets with. I want to be that person, I want Him to share His secrets with me.
The secret [of the wise counsel] of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will let them know His covenant and reveal to them [through His word] its [deep, inner] meaning. – Psalm 25:14 AMP
It’s the mind of the Lord that I want.
I want to step out of my mind and put on His mind, His wisdom.
And throughout the 21 days I became so aware of the mind of God because I was pausing in His Word, His life giving, all knowing Word. It was beautiful how clear He would speak and how effortless it was entering into His presence while I sought Him in worship and prayer. You can liken it to turning on a faucet, and water instantly rushing through; the only way to stop that flow would be if I were to turn the faucet off. The role I play in the depth of my relationship with God is critical. God is the living water (John 4:10); He is forever moving and springing new life.
The Holy Spirit was waiting for me to slow down, put life and all its business aside and wait on Him. And that’s what I did, I waited. I waited and I sang and I prayed and I danced and I cried tears of joy and thanksgiving; I fell more and more in love with Jesus.
In my moments of pausing, listening and waiting in His presence, God’s spirit brought correction and conviction in my unkempt areas, but also affirmed and encouraged the call and purpose He has on my life.
...be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you [be sure that your behaviour reflects and confirms your relationship with God]; for by doing these things [actively developing these virtues], you will never stumble [in your spiritual growth and will live a life that leads others away from sin]; - 2 Peter 1:10 AMP
And during my 21 days, the Lord gave me clear instructions for this year. For me to really be efficient, I know I can’t slack in the areas I slacked in, in the past – stewardship! By God’s grace, I will be sufficient in: time management, organizing my day, studying His word, growing my prayer life, examining the posture of my heart, and operating in the fruit and gifts of His spirit.
My heart is full!
→ Here are a few links to the worship/praise songs I really enjoyed during my 21 days: Leeland - Wait for You, Devotion DELUXE | Influence Music & Matt Gilman, God Turn It Around - Austin Johnson | Moment, Charity Gayle - Endless Praise, Charity Gayle - Echo (In Jesus Name)
Here is the Bible Reading Plan I followed for my 21 day fast; I encourage you to give it a go! 🙂
|Day 1||Matthew 1-11||Day 12||Romans 10 – 1 Cor 4|
|Day 2||Matthew 12-22||Day 13||1 Cor 5 -15|
|Day 3||Matthew 23 – Mark 5||Day 14||1 Cor 16 – 2 Cor 10|
|Day 4||Mark 6-16||Day 15||2 Cor 11 – Ephesians 2|
|Day 5||Luke 1-11||Day 16||Ephesians 3 – Colossians 3|
|Day 6||Luke 12-22||Day 17||Colossians 4 – 1 Timothy 2|
|Day 7||Luke 23 – John 9||Day 18||1 Timothy 3 – Titus 3|
|Day 8||John 10 – Acts 4||Day 19||Philemon 1 – Hebrews 10|
|Day 9||Acts 5 – 15||Day 20||Hebrews 11 – 1 Peter 3|
|Day 10||Acts 16 – 26||Days 21||1 Peter 4 – Jude 1|
|Day 11||Acts 27 – Romans 9|
The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him… – 2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT
If you lasted this long, God BLESS you haha! I pray that something I shared, encouraged you or inspired you to draw closer to God, to peruse His presence, to establish a faucet like prayer life, and to dig deep into His word – He’s been waiting. I plan to write a follow-up post on a few things the Lord refined in me during this time with Him – I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Oh, and don’t forget to leave a comment below. What are your experiences with fasting? Would you like to start a fast but not sure how? Do you have any questions about the Bible plan I followed, fasting, or prayer? Let me know below!
Love & Blessings,
p.s. If you’d like to read about the authority we have in Christ, here is a free PDF download to The Believers Authority by Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin. You won’t regret it!
P R A Y . W I T H . M E ⤵
Maybe you’ve never read the bible or even thought about fasting but you find yourself wanting to know God – you want to know what it’s like to have a relationship with Him. Maybe you’ve never been given the opportunity to make Jesus your Lord and Savior. You can’t think of a time where you accepted Jesus into your heart and life; or maybe you’re in a place where you need to re-dedicate your life to Him – I want to give you a chance to do that today!
I need you to know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), there is nothing you have ever done that God cannot forgive! God loves you, He sees you, and He wants you to be full of the life that comes from knowing Jesus. Say this prayer with me out-loud, from your heart, no matter where you are!
“Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your son Jesus to die in my place, I admit that I’ve sinned and I repent. I believe in my heart, you raised Jesus from the dead, and I confess with my mouth, that Jesus is my Lord and my Saviour. Come into my heart Lord Jesus, take out the stony heart and put in a heart of flesh. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Right now, I receive forgiveness and by the blood of Jesus, I am saved. I am made new. I am free. I am a child of God. In Jesus name—Amen!”