Updated: May 16, 2020
Twenty-one days of prayer and fasting have come and gone, and for most of us it seems like a distant memory. But I'm actually glad that this message is coming to us more than a week after the fast, because it gives us a chance to look at our lives post-fast and see what fruit we have begun to bear; or to see how long it took before we began to revert back to our pre-fast ways. To be honest, this message isn't about preaching to you all and it isn't coming from an "I'm holier than you" point of view, because I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT! It's coming from a place of personal experience and an "I'm right there with you" point of view. It's a call to action. I know how it feels to suddenly be able to eat meat again after a fast and not only instantly forget how great fruit and veggies are for me, but also forgetting that I learned some life-altering things from God during my fast.
If you are like me, and it has finally dawned on you that you should be getting serious about your fasting, then you make a lot of preparations beforehand. You get the food ready. You plan your devotions and daily time with God. You make sure you can make it to church for prayer and you have specific prayers to lift up to God during that time. We do all of this to make sure we do it right and get all that we can possibly get during this intentional time with God. But if you are still like me (up until recently anyway) then you also forget to make preparations for after the fast! Now, all I can think about is why I have never thought about this before!
This year I decided NO MORE! I decided that I don't want to be like the ever so forgetful Israelites with constant amnesia of God's greatness. I wanted to remember and apply all of what God placed in me during my time solely focused on Him. I wanted to set into motion the plans and visions that God revealed to me. I wanted to hang on to that peace that only comes from spending time in God's presence. I wanted to BE, and STAY connected to God on day 22 and long after it!
This year I started my fast just like any other year, but by the 2nd week I began to ask myself and God "What's next?" "What happens on day 22?" "How will I make day 22 count as much as days 1-21 do?" I know that day 22 has already passed for us, BUT WHO CARES!? Let's make today, tomorrow and every day our day 22 and make it matter! Show God that you can serve Him wholeheartedly outside the parameters of a fast. Show Him that you can hunger for His presence even while eating meat. Show Him that you love Him and want to get to know Him better simply because you want to. It's a FACT that fasting is necessary for our relationship with God to grow, mature and bear fruit; but I don’t think it's the only time we can show God that we are devoted to Him.
This year, for the first time, I found myself getting anxious as day 22 approached and it was because I was afraid. I was afraid of losing the peace and closeness that I was living in during my 21 days. The more mature I become in my walk with Christ, the more I appreciate and yearn for it! I struggled with the anxiety with having the confidence, clarity, direction, safety and support that surrounds me during the fast gradually slip away like it sometimes does, but instead of sitting in this lie that the enemy was using to distract me, I listened to the truth instead! Matthew 5:6 says, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they WILL BE filled." Whether you are fasting or not, if you have a heart for Him and hunger for Him, YOU WILL BE FILLED BY HIM! It's a beautiful promise, one that gives so much hope. Before and during a fast, we consecrate ourselves, connect with God on a deeper level, and truly clear a path directly to the feet of Christ… but guess what? We can do the same after a fast --- beginning with day 22.