21 Day Spiritual Journey - Week 1
Updated: May 3
WEEK 1 FASTING
Reasons to Fast:
Scripture tells us that fasting will help us grow a more intimate relationship with Christ and will open our eyes to what He wants to teach us. Much of what you will learn is how to discipline your thoughts regarding eating, actions towards others and the words that come from your mouth.
Your spiritual journey is not a sprint, but a marathon. In order to land in the right spots, fasting is something God prepared to assist in your journey. Matthew 6:16 says, “When you fast….” This lets you know that God expects to be a part of your spiritual relationship with him.
Fasting is not difficult when it is done for the right reasons and gets easier as your mature in God. Hopefully the scriptures added here will aid you in keeping or adding this act to what you do as unto the Lord.
WEEK 1 DAY 1
Matthew 17:21 (KJV) “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: Most of the time in scripture you must read surrounding verses so that you do not get the wrong or partial message of what is being said. In this particular passage it is good to start reading at the 14th verse.
A man stepped out of a crowd and begged Jesus to heal his son. He told Jesus that the disciples were unsuccessful performing this task. After the Jesus healed the son the disciples wanted to know why they could not do it. Jesus told them that it was because of their unbelief (verse 20). You would not know this if you only read verse 21.
In verse 20 Jesus tells his disciples that nothing is impossible to them that believe. So where does verse 21 come from? You probably know already. In those times when you are pleading with God for something and nothing seems to happen, it feels like your prayers are hitting the ceiling. This is a blockage in your faith. This is the time to fast and pray to strengthen your faith. It is not the fasting that gets an answer from God, but your strengthened faith that reestablishes your total trust in God who knows best.
WEEK 1 DAY 2
Isaiah 58:3 (NIV). “Why have we fasted,’ they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”
Anthony Murray Commentary: Most believers who have been in a relationship with God for any length of time have practiced some form of fasting. It may have been abstinence from food, some vice or too much time on social media. Unfortunately, too many have not seen the powerful rewards of fasting because they have only taken a break from certain things, but neglected to apply the other principles that must accompany fasting. Operating in real ministry towards the less fortunate and listening for clear direction from God is what God wants from you while fasting. The rewards come later as found in the verses following verse 3.
Never get frustrated when you know that you are following principles that you have been taught or read about them yourselves. As you mature in God you will learn the slight innuendos that make all the difference to what you are doing, Fasting is not just about abstaining, but about doing what you have been led to do in ministry. Verses 6-8 direct you to what happens after you set aside a fast unto the Lord. Fast first and then pray. Fasting is good, but doing it the right way is even better.
WEEK 1 DAY 3
I Corinthians 7:5 (KJV) “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Anthony Murray Commentary: As a married person you cannot deprive your spouse of intimacy and use the excuse that you are praying and fasting. It is alright to take a break from loving to pray and fast, but the two of you must agree and it should not last too long. You will be tempted by the enemy to cheat if one spouse makes an independent decision to fast and pray past the time one spouse desires intimacy. Sexual starvation will lead to sin.
As a single person you can fast and pray whenever you are led, but God is not going to lead you as a married person to fast and pray outside of consent. Fasting and praying is time spent with God to build on that personal relationship. You cannot neglect your physical relationship with your spouse without agreeing to take a break for fasting and praying. The temptation that takes place is not a threat, but a warning of what will happen if you are not consistent in your intimacy with your spouse.
WEEK 1 DAY 4
2 Samuel 1:12 (NIV), “They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul; and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: Saul was the king of Israel and his son was Jonathan. Although Saul’s reign was very tumultuous, he was the leader before King David. When Saul, his son and the army were killed in battle the nation fasted. Fasting may at times accompany mourning because the pain can be that bad.
Never be afraid of fasting in times of despair. It will not kill you. The fasting may be a comfort. When you decide to fast for any reason, you may find that it is the hardest thing that you ever decide to do. When your appetite is suppressed because of sickness or grief, fasting may come as a force on its own. This is different than a choice, but will still yield rewards to the believer when accompanied by acknowledgement of God’s presence in it. Accept the urge, stay prayerful and trust God through the process. Your despair will be accompanied by a presence that surpasses human understanding. It will strengthen you.
WEEK 1 DAY 5
Acts 13:2 (NIV), “While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work which I have called them.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: The early church spent much time fasting because the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was new. The knowledge of tapping into this power was a weapon that needed practice. Fasting lessens the infiltration of the flesh’s desire to rule. Your natural body and your spiritual body are constantly at odds with one another. The carnal or natural body will never submit to God, your spirit empowered by the Holy Spirit must discipline your natural body.
The early church leaders did not take for granted the appointment of leaders. This trend should not be forsaken. Leaders are an important part of ministry and everyone is not spiritually mature enough for the job. The fasting here was followed by a direct assignment from God to appoint two new leaders for ministry.
WEEK 1 DAY 6
Luke 4:2-4 (ASV) “where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of then he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”
Anthony Murray Commentary: Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast and pray before he set out to do ministry. After fasting for forty days the devil came to tempt him. What you must realize here is that the body and brain need food and water to function. When you neglect to feed the body food or hydrate it with water it lessens its defenses against outside forces. Even fasting for preparation to do ministry will invite the devil to tempt the weakened flesh. This is the reason to fast, to show the flesh that God is in control.
In this passage Jesus is being tempted after fasting. He was all man and all spirit at the same time. You are all human and have a spiritual part inside. If you do not keep this in mind, you will constantly lose the battle of temptation. Temptation is always trying to get believers to go against God’s will for their lives. It is that much worst after fasting. Your guard is down, the flesh is weak. It is especially important when building your spiritual part to be aware that the devil is waiting to devour whatever it is that you believe has been made stronger through prayer and fasting.
I do not recommend independent fasting to new believers without getting advice from long time believers or wise church leaders.