21-Day Fast 2018: Will You Join Us?

Jen CudmorePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

In January of this year, we challenged the women of Alaska to join together in a coorporate fast to seek the Lord on behalf of their family struggles, their difficult circumstances, and the state of Alaska. And now, we want to issue another invitation! I mentioned to the original team of ladies that we would consider gathering again next year. I left the Facebook group open in anticipation, and I’m excited to announce that we’re going to seek the Lord again for another 21 days. I was humbled by all the stories of how God moved in each woman’s life. We came together, many of us strangers, yet united in our goal and encouraging each other not to give up. He answered in amazing ways! Who is ready to see God do even more?!?!? While asking the Lord for direction in initiating a group fast in 2018, I came across this quote in my study time, and it broke my heart. “The modern church is poorer and weaker for neglecting the practice of fasting. So many believers suffer from spiritual anemia, or loss of strength and stamina, because they have never learned to fast, and so many of their prayers … Read More

Where Are The Houses Of Prayer?

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

They stood in a circle, about 40 of them, in the center of the parking lot. United, hands clasped with their neighbor and heads bowed, they prayed. No fear. No shame. No wavering. As I drove by, tears stung the back of my eyes. Emotions assailed me. I was thrilled to witness such an incredible sight, so many people openly gathering before the throne of the Most High God! And yet I felt sad that such a sight is so rare. I could not recall the last time I had been involved in a prayer circle like that! And I wondered if God’s reaction was a little like mine. I thought back to a question that’s been heavy on my heart for several months: Why don’t more churches gather for prayer and fasting? When I was young, every once in a while our little church met just to pray. As I grew older, I noticed that some churches had regular prayer meetings, and some didn’t. I never thought much about it until I came across this scripture: “And as [Jesus] taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” … Read More

Stand Firm: Pray Without Ceasing

Jen CudmoreFaith, Prayer & Fasting1 Comment

“Christ actually meant prayer to be the great power by which His church should do its work…” Andrew Murray We’ve begun a series on How to Stand Firm. First, we discussed briefly why we can’t allow ourselves to be moved when the enemy attacks. Last week we reviewed the armor of God and why that is so significant in our lives. Today, we’ll discuss a tool that is seriously (and sadly) under-utilized in our world today: prayer. Previously I shared 4 ways to resist the enemy based on the scripture from James 4:7 stating if we resist, he will flee. Another way to resist is to never stop praying (1 Thes 5:16). Satan hates when believers pray. He knows that when we humble ourselves before God, the Holy Spirit and God’s glory are released on earth. The Bible tells us to ask and it will be given to us (Matthew 7), that if we remain in Him then whatever we wish will be done (John 15:7). Prayer is essential if we want to see God move. Simply put, talking with God changes things. The early church in Acts grew immensely because of the believers’ devotion to prayer. Major revivals throughout … Read More

God-Sized Dreams

Carol DunfeeFaith, Prayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Like many Proverbs, I never understood this one. What could the plans of my heart have to do with my answers belonging to God? It was like a riddle that eluded my grasp. The New Living Translation states it like this: “We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.” Two years ago, the founder of Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry and I were in a planning meeting together. She suddenly announced that she needed more bloggers to write for ACWM’s new website. She asked if any of us liked to write. Without a hesitation, my mouth opened and said, “Yes!” Then my brain kicked in: “Wait! I don’t write for people. I used to journal, but no one ever read an of it. And that was years ago! What did you just say, Carol?? I honestly believe God opened my mouth before my rational mind could object. Writing for ACWM has been a blessing both unexpected and profound. Blogging helped heal my heart from our family’s bout with a brain tumor. It has redeemed the pain and agony of that year, while revealing God to me in ways I never expected. Could this be an application … Read More

Our Reward for Fasting

Jen CudmorePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

“… and your Father who sees… will reward you.” Matt 6:18 When fasting, we’re not supposed to seek the praise of men, as the passage in Matthew explains, nor as an attempt to earn God’s blessing. Yet when we fast with pure motives, where we focus on Him and our desperation for more of Him in our lives, that’s when God sends a blessing. In Scripture, those who fasted always saw a reward. For Daniel, it was favor and position. For Esther, it was deliverance for her people. For Jehosephat, it was protection from destruction. For Nehamiah, it was the rebuilding of his hometown. For Ezra, it was guidance and protection for his people. For Anna, it was the privilege to meet baby Jesus. For Paul, it was direction in spreading the gospel. So what blessing awaits us when we fast? God does above and beyond all that we could ever ask or imagine, and His miracles come in all shapes and sizes. But this passage in Isaiah 58 will give us an idea of what He promises to those who fast properly. God says: 6“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to … Read More

5 Tasks While You’re Fasting

Jen CudmorePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Is there something specific we must do during a fast, any action or behavior that’s required? We discussed in previous posts that fasting is more than merely abstaining from certain foods or fluids. It’s about connecting with God and proclaiming our desperation for His intervention in our lives. So how exactly do we do that? By following the example of the disciples in Acts 13: “1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers…. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” While they were worshiping – that’s when God responded. The word ‘worship’, as defined in a couple different online dictionaries, means “to show reverence and adoration; to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion“. How do we show God reverence and adoration? How do we regard Him with great respect, honor and devotion? 1) We praise Him. Not only does God deserve our gratitude for all the good He’s done in our lives, He … Read More

Fasting and the Motives of the Heart

Jen CudmorePrayer & FastingLeave a Comment

Before we start a fast, we must check our motives. There are a couple places in scripture where God is displeased with fasting, and it was all because of selfish heart motivation. Wrong Motive #1 – Desiring attention from people. This was the problem Jesus addressed when he said we should fast in secret (Matt 6:16-18). Because the Pharisees were making a public display of their spirituality, their fasting was all about getting admiration from others. It was no longer a means of connecting with God on a deeper level, but a matter of pride. They weren’t after God’s glory, they were after applause. This is why Jesus cautions us to fast in secret. While it’s important to keep our fasting private rather than putting on a show to get people to think highly of us, we don’t have to hide. Almost every fast mentioned in the Bible was a group of people getting together to seek God – no one hid what they were doing. That scripture was merely Jesus cautioning believers to be careful about their motives. As John Piper says, “Being seen fasting is not the same things as fasting to be seen.” Wrong Motive # 2 … Read More

Fasting: What’s the End Goal?

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting1 Comment

What is the purpose behind our decision to fast – what’s our ultimate goal? According to Isaiah 58, God’s intention for fasting is to loose bonds of wickedness, let the oppressed go free and break every yoke – He wants to do that for us. I think we can all agree we need more spiritual freedom in our lives, our families, our churches, and our cities! When the people in the Bible fasted, they brought specific requests before the Lord. Many of their goals may be the same for us today. Healing for a loved one – In 2 Samuel, David fasted when his child was sick, asking God to spare his life. Today, many of us battle physical conditions, and sometimes God may deliver us from these problems. And not just about ‘big’ health issues, like surgery, but pesky things we may have decided to accept for the rest of our lives. Instructions/Guidance – In Judges 20, the tribes fasted to ask God for direction on how to deal with the rebellious tribe of Benjamin. Today, everyone faces hard decisions and we need God to show us the right path. We need His help in making wise choices in … Read More

Fasting: A Few Of My Experiences

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting4 Comments

Fasting is a very personal endeavor. It’s a private matter between us and God. And yet, when He does something amazing, we have to talk about it! We’re supposed to remember and reflect on all He’s done for us (Deut 8). So today, because many people are trying to understand what fasting is all about, and because God is so awesome in how He responds, I’m going to be brave. I’ve decided to get real with you about a few of my experiences with fasting. The main point I want to convey is that every time I have fasted, I’ve developed a stronger bond with God, and He has always done something powerful in my life. Sometimes it was simply inside me, and sometimes it was in my circumstances. He didn’t always grant my request, but He was gracious to me – every time. The first time I fasted was an epic fail. I had decided to go a full day on just liquids, but I drank grape juice on an empty stomach, which had me lying on the bathroom floor for a good half hour trying not to puke. After a panicked phone call to my dad for advice, … Read More

Why Fasting Still Matters

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting2 Comments

Why don’t more churches encourage the discipline of fasting? This was one of the pressing questions I asked myself when I first began studying Biblical fasting. If it’s really important, why aren’t more people talking about it, or practicing it? As I pondered the potential reasons, I reached out to some trusted Christians to get their opinion, and this is what I came up with:  Maybe it’s because Christians assume it’s old-fashioned and no longer necessary for the church today. And yet, I’ve heard stories and experienced for myself the power of God as a result of a fast. People in both the old and new testaments fasted – including Jesus and the early Church – so there is no reason for this discipline to be ignored in today’s culture. Maybe Christians believe that only leaders or super-spiritual types need to fast. Yet the scripture doesn’t teach that at all. For example, Israel’s fast during Yom Kipper, the day of Atonement. Groups of believers fasted together many times in the Bible, so it’s clearly for every ‘ordinary’ person, not just pastors and teachers. (See my previous posts on why people fasted in the Bible.) Maybe Christians consider it such a … Read More

10 Personal Benefits of a Biblical Fast

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting4 Comments

Coming off the holiday, I am reminded that feasting is a good thing! I don’t know about you, but I certainly enjoy a good Thanksgiving meal, complete with all the trimmings! It’s good to celebrate all the things we are thankful for! And it’s also good to set aside times of self-sacrifice. Last week we reviewed why the people in the Bible fasted. This week, let’s discuss the benefits of a Biblical fast: 1) Fasting has long-term health benefits for the physical body.So much good happens inside us when we go without food for a time, which is why so many people who are not of the Church are applying this discipline apart from God. Unfortunately, fasting has become a bit of a fad to those who are zealous about their health. Scientific study shows that skipping several meals in a row clears toxins from our system, rests our organs, and sharpens our senses.2) Fasting weakens the grip of the flesh.Many Christians don’t realize the power our sinful nature has over us. We can grow complacent and give in way too often to temporary pleasures. We can become desensitized to the things of God because we’re focused on ‘feeling good … Read More

7 Reasons Why People In The Bible Fasted

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting1 Comment

What was the purpose behind Biblical fasting? Was it just an old-fashioned law that people had to follow, or was there more to it than that? A few years back, I developed a curiosity about fasting, so I spent a few weeks studying what the Bible had to say. I learned there are several reasons for fasting, many of which go hand in hand.  Why people in the Bible fasted: 1) To better hear God’s voice.When they wanted an answer, they would inquire of God and seek His instruction. It was a way to help them limit distractions and focus on His voice.Scripture References: When the tribe of Benjamin sinned and rebelled, the other tribes sought God for direction on how to respond (Judges 20). Daniel fasted often to seek God’s direction, and at one point an angel came to deliver a message (Daniel 10). After Jesus died, the Disciples sought God for direction on how to spread the gospel (Acts 13). 2) To mourn and lament mistakes.When they sinned, fasting was a way to repent of habitual sin and seek the restoration of God’s favor in their lives.Scripture References: Many times in Scripture, the Israelites turned away from God. … Read More

Curious About Biblical Fasting?

Jen CudmorePrayer & Fasting4 Comments

Last week I asked what you would be willing to sacrifice because you love Jesus. All too often, we prefer to fulfill our fleshly desires more than we desire God himself. I issued a challenge to consider if there was something God might want you to give up. These behaviors could be anything from addictions (sugar, alcohol, pornography, etc.) to something as simple as habitual complaining, procrastination, or impulse shopping. Maybe it’s not even a habit. Maybe sometimes we skip a church service, let loose a cuss word or watch a provocative program on TV. We justify these momentary pleasures and tell ourselves it’s ‘not that bad’.  The problem comes when all these little things we label ‘not that bad’ add up and pull us away from our first love. God has shown me over the past few years that what feels good in the moment, such as lashing out when angry or overeating when stressed, actually hinders my future and my faith. While we will always struggle with our sinful nature, we don’t have to allow it to control us. What we stop feeding will eventually starve and die. One way to weaken the grip of our flesh is … Read More