Getting Beyond the Baby Steps of Prayer Paired With Fasting
Getting Beyond the Baby Steps of Prayer Paired With Fasting – Part 1
If prayer and fasting is an exercise, and it is (in fact the definition of fasting is a discipline like exercise), fasting and praying is a spiritual discipline. As in any exercise there are different skill levels and the same is true when it comes to pairing fasting and prayer. In the previous lesson, we talked about having the appropriate form when fasting and praying. In this next set of web-posts, we want to talk to you about the different levels you may find, specifically how to get beyond the baby steps and get to more advanced stages of prayer and fasting.
In this introduction, you can get a glimpse of what is to come in the subsequent lessons.
In any exercise or workout, especially the videos that Pamela and I do, there’s a coach or a person who leads us through the workouts. The leader guides us through the specific moves of the exercises and other activities that we’ve never done before. The leader is more skilled because she or he does it more often than we do. He’s more advanced in his stages. Like with anything, we all wish to be proficient at it, but to be proficient like a leader requires getting around some people who are more skilled, who perform the exercises more often, have more techniques, and know how to get the most out of the exercise. That means, we’re constantly looking for areas in which we can grow our craft. The recipe for growth is to get around people who are better than you. If you want to remain the same, stay around the same people you’ve been hanging around.
The same is true when we’re talking about the exercise of prayer paired with fasting. For far too long, we have taken this concept and done it the same way. Time and time again, doing it the same way leads to the same minimal results.I can’t seem to put my mind around as to why everything around us continues to progress, except things in our faith-world. This is a most important activity and we can’t afford to leave it at the same level. In fact I like to say it this way. Prayer paired with fasting is a next level activity in and of itself. If this is a personal development activity we should be involved in, we need to learn how to take it to the next level.
Therefore in this next series I want to talk about it from three particular angles. Let me summarize them for you.
- Take advantage of the discipline of pairing prayer with fasting.
Most of us do not take advantage of this most important, most result producing discipline that’s readily available to us. In fact, when your church declares a time for prayer and fasting, how many times have you seen where the majority of the people never participate? Now why is that the case? What if they don’t understand the value that can be found in pairing prayer with fasting? I’m not going to go into all the details now, but we’re going to spend time understanding the reasons why we should take advantage of every “prayer paired with fasting” opportunity. Lastly we will look into some of the reasons why we don’t, but why we should.
- The Progressions of Fasting
I’ve come up with a concept to help people understand what it means to pair fasting and prayer. Using the example of a caterpillar, fasting is no different than a person taking on the characteristics or the nature of a caterpillar. Stage 1, a caterpillar forms its cocoon. The forming cocoon stage is likened to a person preparing oneself for the exercise of fasting. Stage 2, the caterpillar isolates herself in a space that’s tight and minimalistic. This cocoon stage is similar to how a person participates in the exercise of fasting. Like the caterpillar, we enter one way, but will exit totally transformed. Stage 3, something miraculous happens when the caterpillar emerges from its cocoon. It becomes something totally different, a new creation. That’s the goal and purpose of pairing fasting with prayer. We desire to emerge transformed. You’re going in one way, with the expectation that you’re coming out a new way.
The scripture says it this way: “If any man is in Christ, he or she becomes something totally new.”  That process is what we call metamorphosis; it’s a transformation. The same thing that happens to the caterpillar can happen to you, from caterpillar to butterfly.
- You fast more than you realize.
The final installment in this sequence of messages is just that. You are already fasting regularly, but don’t realize it. Yet, you don’t take advantage of it. Now I’m going to go ahead and give you the idea upfront; every day you participate in some type of fasting effort. You see, fasting is us giving up a meal or giving up something so that we can be in tune with our spiritual nature. The most apparent fasting exercise we participate in, which is a gift from God, occurs naturally every day. We call it sleep. Sleep gives us the ability to eliminate everything, all the noise, all the activities, everything and everyone around us. So that when we arise, we arise fresh and new. Caterpillar to butterfly. That is the exact concept of what fasting paired with prayer does. While you are fasting when you add prayer to it, it becomes something totally different. The point is, each day we have a built in time of fasting. The question is, are you going to add a little prayer to make that effort worthwhile?
All of this is coming up in our next series. I hope you stay with us. The goal here is how to do a basic spiritual practice that we know as fasting paired with prayer, but take it to the next level. This is next level prayer!
Question: what ideas do you have or can use to take your discipline of prayer paired with fasting to the next level?
 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT, Bible.com, accessed June 2, 2023, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/2CO.5.17.NLT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.