40 Days of Fastings and Prayers

A Muse
A couple of weeks ago my pondering begin with the many responses I heard in regards to this time of year… 
“I am no longer this (particular religion) so I don’t practice this.”
“Make sure you indulge in Mardi Gras before you began.”
“We did it in the past but it is not required anymore.”
The time of year I am referring to is Lent on the Christian calendar.
Latin for the number forty, this 2015 year, Lent began on February 17 on Ash Wednesday
and leads up to Resurrection Sunday on April 5.  This is counted by the six days of the week.  Sundays themselves are not counted as part of these forty days because they are generally set aside as days of renewal and celebration similar to "mini-Resurrection of Sundays" of sorts.
As I pondered the variety of responses from people including those in any form of media
I noticed that not one person I heard was quoting or referring to the One in whom we are to pray. And not one person I heard was referencing the instructions and direction from the One in whom we are too fast.
The Bible on Fasting
Jesus expects us to fast as a spiritual discipline. In the pages of the Bible, Jesus clearly speaks of His expectation of fasting He tells us in the gospel of Matthew chapter six  
and He first begins with what NOT to do.
Moreover, whenever you are fasting, stop being like the actors on the stage of life, of a sad and gloomy countenance, for they mask their faces in order that they may appear to men as those who are fasting. Assuredly, I am saying to you, they have their reward and the receipt for the same in full. But as for you, when fasting, massage your head with olive oil and wash your face, in order that you may not appear to men to be fasting but to your Father who observes in the sphere of the secret, and your Father who observes in the sphere of the secret will reward you.”
Jesus clearly explains
1.  How not to fast: Openly to be seen by and lifted up by people
2.  How to fast: Taking care of yourself physically so no one knows that you are fasting
3.  This is a spiritual discipline that is done between each individual and God
4.  When we obey the proper way of fasting, God will reward up openly
In addition, God clearly explains through His prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament of scripture the perfect outline of fasting in chapter 58.  He starts out with a sharp reality of where they are in regards to fasting then continues  Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.”
1. Biblical Outline for Fasting
a.      False fasting  (versus 2-5)
b.      Sincere fasting=True worship (versus 6-7)
c.      Blessings that will come (verses 8-10)
d.      Healing that will come (verses 11-12)
e.      Continually promises (versus 13-14)
The Bible is very clear, the spiritual staples of followers of Jesus include prayer and fasting
This example is shown over and over again in the New Testament and Old Testament
of the Bible.
Why Fast and Pray?:
This is a season of clinging to Christ and drawing deeper in Him through increased times of worship, confession, repentance, fasting, contemplation and prayer.  Seeking and devoting ourselves to the matters of the heart and soul while stripping and unraveling the entangled habits of the flesh.  This time focuses our eyes on the intense significance of Christ and His crucifixion – increasing our longing and delight for Resurrection Sunday.
Your Personal Plan of Action
1.  If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to:
See Jesus the Lamb of God
Come and see where He is staying
Remain with Him
Follow Him
(John 1:36-39)
2. I invite you to ask the Lord to guide you and show you how you need to implement fasting as part of your spiritual disciples as a follow of Christ.
1. Read the date of today of the Proverbs and/or Psalms 
2. Read each of the four Gospels from the Garden of Gethsemane to the end of each book.  Write down details you have never noticed before.  Write down comparisons as well as similarities.
3.  Listen to The Shadow of Your Wings by Fernando Ortega - http://fernandoortega.com
1. Journey to the Cross - Gospel Coalition
2.  Lenten Lights: Eight Biblical Devotions to Prepare for Easter
1.  Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough:  A Guide to Nine Biblical Fasts
                  by Elmer L Towns.  Foreword by Bill Bright
2. Celebration of Discipline:  The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster
3.  Love To The Uttermost: Devotional Readings For Holy Week
                        by John Piper             
4.  Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter by Orbis Books
5.  Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin Jr. 
6.  God Is on the Cross: Reflections on Lent and Easter by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s
7.  Christian Fasting: A Theological Approach by Kent D. Berghuis
Bible Study:  Acts of the Apostles starting Tuesday March 3, 2015-Come anytime
Check website for more info.  www.churchonrandallplace.org
Audio teachings and various speaking: http://deeprootsinchrist.sermon.net
About the author:
Simone Lake is a Christ follower, bride of Pastor Dr. John Lake, Bible teacher and a passionate pray-er. Visit her: www.deeprootsinchrist.com, www.simonelake.com, FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn