Guide Living Awake: Forty Days Toward Renewal

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Kabaka Mutebi asks Ugandans to carry on the virtues of Lent Christians mark lent with call for calm, prayer for the Christians start Lent period next Wednesday. Nigeria's president urged to take medical leave. Norway billionaire reveals plan to give away his fortune Local Africa World Education.

University Guide Schools guide Supplement. Home Opinion What the Lenten season is all about. On land issue in Uganda. Gazette a day for the diaspora. Print A A A. Opinion , News Lent , Easter , February More From The Author. Kabaka Mutebi asks Ugandans to carry on the virtues of Lent. Christians mark lent with call for calm, prayer for the Nation. Poland brace for Senegal test. Salah's return looming obstacle for Russia. She is married to the Rt. George Young and they have two grown children, George and Lucy.

Currently, they all live in Pensacola, FL. He graduated from Pacific School of Religion with an M. Later he graduated from Creighton University with an M. Ted teaches on the topic of Ignatian Spirituality. He is blessed with the experience of twice praying through Ignatian Spiritual Exercises on a day silent retreat. He is currently expanding his ministry in the areas of spiritual formation through Mindfulness. Ted is married to Deb; they are the parents of two grown children, Johnathan and Elise. She holds a B. She enjoys hiking, lives in Birmingham, AL, and is the mother of four.

Ferrell is the Founder and Director of Contemplative Interbeing , which offers experiential education inspiring a shared commitment to create meaningful lives in loving presence with the whole of human civilization. He is a minister, retreat leader, spiritual director, and earned an M.

Robert retired after 20 years in the US Air Force, where he served in several positions including organizational development and leadership coach. Robert has two adult children, Zak and Gabby. He lives with his wife Vikki in Scottsboro, AL. He received an M. Malcolm lives in Birmingham, AL and is married to the Rev. They have two grown children, Brendan and Kristin Kiki. Mary Bea is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and author. Her most recent book, Living Awake: Forty Days Toward Renewal offers simple, yet meaningful, spiritual reflections and practices that guide the reader toward emotional, physical, and spiritual restoration.

Cutting down on your meals a few days before you begin the fast will signal your mind, stomach, and appetite that less food is acceptable. Some health professionals suggest eating only raw foods for two days before starting a fast. I also recommend weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar products to ease your initial hunger or discomfort at the early stages of your fast.

How long you fast, the kind of fast you undertake, and how you adjust your work schedule depends mostly on your occupation. Persons with office jobs, pastors, or homemakers may find it easier to continue their duties and fast for longer periods of time. In fact, on the basis of my personal experience, worldwide travels and the many letters, which I have received, I am confident that many, many thousands of pastors and lay men and women have already completed a day fast!

Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labor and have enjoyed their extended fast, if you are so engaged, you may wish to fast only one or more days of the week, limiting yourselves to partial fasting if you are so engaged. Or you may look to weekends as the prime time to abstain from food. Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea. Families may be inconvenienced, and temptations to eat can be overwhelming.

The first is physical. Throughout your fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale.

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The second reason is spiritual. Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual. While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both physically and spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed.

The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer and the more meaningful your fast will be. So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly! Many people are reluctant to tell others that they are fasting so they will avoid the sin of the Pharisees: By isolating ourselves from the support of other Christians, we will be more susceptible to doubts and negative influences both human and demonic.

We need the prayer shield of our Christian friends and family members to help us continue when we feel alone and when the enemy tempts us to give up Our Lord as he did Jesus Christ. Eventually, people will notice you are not eating. However, I have found that unless you see them daily, they do not consider your skipped meal much of a concern. If friends and family express concern for your health, ease their fears by telling them that you will stop fasting the moment you feel you are harming your body or if the Lord leads you to end your fast.

There is usually no reason for telling strangers or casual acquaintances that you are fasting. If you do, they may subject you to a lot of questions that you may not want to answer. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. Read His Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night.

Spiritual and integrative practices for our risen life in Christ

Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of praise and worship. As you enter this time of heightened spiritual devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations.

The enemy makes you a target because he knows that fasting is the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family or at work to stop you.

Make prayer your shield against such attacks. My major reason for fasting is for personal revival, revival for our nation, for the world and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

But praying for our own needs and interceding for others are also important reasons to fast and pray. Bring your personal needs before the Lord, intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, your pastor, your community, your nation, and the world. By your prayers of humility, as you fast, you will help the Great Commission be fulfilled. However, do not become so caught up in praying for yourself and others that you forget about simply reverencing and praising God. True spiritual fasting focuses on God. Center your total being on Him, your attitudes, your actions, your motives, desires, and words.

This can only take place if God and His Holy Spirit are at the center of our attention.

Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention and continue to focus on God and God alone so that your prayers may be powerful and effective. A renewed closeness with God and a greater sensitivity to spiritual things are usually the results of a fast. Many people who have successfully completed extended fasts tell of feeling a nearness to God that they have never before known, but others who have honestly sought His face report no particular outward results at all.

For others, their fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling, but they knew they had been called by God to fast, and they completed the fast unto Him as an act of worship; God honored that commitment. Your motive in fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience, and not to attain personal happiness. When your motives are right, God will honor your seeking heart and bless your time with Him in a very special way. I know the prospect of going without food for an extended period of time may be of concern to some. But there are ways to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs so you can remain safe and healthy during your fast.


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For an extended fast, I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices. The natural sugars in juices provide energy, and the taste and strength are motivational to continue your fast. Try to drink fresh juices, if possible. If you are beginning a juice fast, there are certain juices you may wish to avoid and certain ones that are especially beneficial. Because of their acid content, most nutritionists do not advise orange or tomato juice these are better tolerated if mixed with equal portions of water.

The best juices are fresh carrot, grape, celery, apple, cabbage, or beet. I usually dedicate a portion of my day fast to a special liquid formula, which I have found to be effective over many years. A few recipes and my comments are on this page, as well as a helpful schedule. The juice is available in frozen cans under the Welch label. Most knowledgeable nutritionists recommend:.

What the Lenten season is all about

Some nutritionists recommend warm broth, especially if you live in a colder climate. You may find their recipes helpful:. You may find the following daily schedule helpful during your fast. I recommend you print it and keep it handy throughout your fast.

I suggest that you do not drink milk because it is a pure food and therefore a violation of the fast. Any product containing protein or fat, such as milk or soy-based drinks, should be avoided. These products will restart the digestion cycle and you will again feel hunger pangs. Also, for health reasons, stay away from caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or cola. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it has a more powerful effect on your nervous system when you abstain from food.

This works both against the physical and spiritual aspects of the fast.


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Another key factor in maintaining optimum health during a fast is to limit your physical activity. Exercise only moderately, and rest as much as your schedule will permit this especially applies to extended fasts. Short naps are helpful as well. Walking a mile or two each day at a moderate pace is acceptable for a person in good health, and on a juice fast.

However, no one on a water fast should exercise without the supervision of a fasting specialist. Although fasting can be an indescribable blessing, it is not always easy for everyone. In this time of discipline, self-sacrifice and reflection, do not be surprised if you experience mental and physical discomforts. To begin, you may experience some inner conflict when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating delicious food.