Our 31 Days of Prayer and Fasting, also known as JUICY JULY, begins in two days! We are so glad you have decided to participate in an extended time of prayer, fasting, and personal devotion. In this blog post, we will be looking at HOW TO JUDICIOUSLY PREPARE FOR A FASTING AND PRAYER EXERCISE. I mean, how we can get the best out of Juicy July 2023? There really is no better way to reset our spiritual compass and bring about spiritual renewal in every area of our lives than through prayer and fasting. Our hope is that this time of prayer and fasting will personally refresh us, and we shall experience total freedom in all aspects of our lives, in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ.
Juicy July is intentionally designed to be flexible so that you can participate at any level. Whether you have fasted before or if this is your first time, you can start where you are and experience what God has in store for you in a powerful way. We have a daily prayer plan that contains the sermon, song lyrics, prayer points, and Bible study texts. This is what we will use each day at the time that is most convenient for us. Please commit to using them judiciously every day, as they have been specially and prayerfully put together.
As you prepare for Juicy July, think about why you are fasting. Is it for spiritual renewal, guidance, healing, the resolution of problems, special grace to handle a difficult situation or a major decision?
Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your fast and commitment to God. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically. Think about the top two, three, five, or more most pressing issues on your heart and focus on those with God. Write them down in your Juicy July notes. Oh yes, you are advised to have a note so the Lord can see that you mean business. It proves that you are planning to receive a lot from the Lord, which you are ready to pen down. Many BUDs go back to their Juicy July notes to tick as the Lord answers each of their requests. Do the same and be open to hearing what God wants to show you in those areas. (Read this wonderful testimony from last year) If you have testimonies to share, kindly type them and get them sent to any of the admins.
When praying, make your primary goal to know Jesus more and experience Him. Focus first on what’s right about Him, such as His goodness and His greatness, and see everything else through that filter. Do not let it be mainly about you and your needs, but about Him and His Will. Got that?
Now, shall we look at some points about fasting that would get your heart, spirit, soul and body set in readiness for Juicy July 2023?
What exactly is fasting?
According to Stovall Weems, ‘prayer is connecting with God; fasting is disconnecting ourselves from the world’ and that’s a great way to describe fasting. Biblical fasting is simply denying oneself something for the sake of seeking and honoring God. In addition to food, you can also fast from other things that keep you connected to the world, such as television, social media, video games, and more.
Why should you fast?
- The Lord expects you to. Moses fasted during at least two recorded 40-day periods, and Jesus fasted for 40 days, reminding His followers to fast with the words, “when you fast,” not if you fast.
- Fasting helps restore the loss of the “first love.” If you feel your love and devotion for the Lord dying out, wholehearted fasting can result in restoration and a more intimate relationship with Christ.
- It is a Biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God. King David said, “I humble myself through fasting” (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21).
- Fasting allows the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition to you. When you fast in the right way, the Lord will reveal yourself to you, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart, and His truth will become more meaningful to you.
- Your prayer life is transformed into a richer and more personal experience. Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life and make you a channel of revival to others. By the time July 31st arrives, you wouldn’t even want to stop praying. Do you believe it?
- You will find yourself humbled. You will discover more time to pray and seek God’s face. As He leads you to recognize and repent of unconfessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God.
- The power of “self” is reduced. When you choose to exercise self-control over your physical body by fasting, you are choosing to deny yourself a very physical, natural longing of your human body to turn to the Lord alone for sustaining strength. This is why it is called a “spiritual discipline.” As you fight the pull of “self,” you grow in your ability to master, rather than be mastered by, the desires of your body.
- You have a greater sensitivity to the Spirit. Fasting increases our sensitivity to the voice of the Spirit at work in our hearts. Every hunger pang gives us the opportunity to inwardly express, “I want You more than food, Lord. Make Your words more precious to me than food. Teach me to love You and trust You more. Let me hear Your voice more than I hear my own longings for food. Teach me to depend on You even more than food.”
- You have a broadened spiritual understanding and illumination. When you fast, you are more sensitive in general to things of God. Truth from Scripture stands out more clearly. You become more aware of the fragility and neediness of people around you. Patterns in Scripture jump off the page. You find that you are better able to see connections in Scripture. Fasting helps us have greater biblical clarity and insight.
- Also, because it is Juicy July! July has been well known to us at The BUD Family International as a month of perfection. A month of consecration. A month of surrender. It is our yearly Shiloh and the Lord is always readily awaiting our presence. It is a month filled with testimonies for those who wait on the Lord. So, why not?
Preparing for your fasting and prayer:
– Pray ahead of your fasting program.
In your prayers, confess not only obvious sins but also less obvious ones. Acknowledge the sins of omission (the right actions you haven’t taken) as well as the sins of commission (the wrong things you’ve done).
- What is standing in the way of your relationship with God?
- What is holding you back from living and loving like Jesus? It might be self-centeredness, spiritual indifference, an unwillingness to share your faith with others, putting time spent in prayer and study of God’s Word low on your priority list, or struggling to love your neighbors and treat them with kindness.
- Confess your shortcomings and ask God to work in your heart during this time of prayer and fasting.
– Set your motives right!
Your motive in fasting should ultimately be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience or attain personal happiness. God will honor your seeking spirit. As you spend time fasting and prayimg, God will shape your heart and draw you closer to Christ.
– Decide the following upfront:
- How long will you fast?
- What physical or social activities will you restrict?
- How much time each day will you devote to prayer and God’s Word?
- Making these commitments ahead of time will help you sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon them.
– Prepare yourself spiritually:
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
- Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins. Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit brings to your remembrance and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4).
- Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
- Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15.
- Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master. Refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).
- Meditate on the attributes of God, such as His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, and compassion (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13).
– Prepare Yourself Physically:
Do not rush into your fast. Prepare your body by eating smaller meals before starting the fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods. Consume raw fruits and vegetables for two days prior to beginning the fast. Limit your activity level and engage in moderate exercise. Rest as much as your schedule allows. Prepare yourself for temporary discomforts during the fast, such as occasional crankiness. Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day, such as fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or feeling low.
(Note that the first two or three days are typically the most challenging. As you continue to fast, you will likely experience a sense of well-being both physically and spiritually. If you feel hunger pains, drink water to help alleviate them.)
– Plan a Workable Schedule:
For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him, the more meaningful your fast will be.
- Morning – Begin your day in praise and worship, reading and meditating on God’s Word. Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to fulfill His good purposes (Philippians 2:13).
- Noon – Utilize your lunch break for prayer and studying God’s Word. You can also take a short prayer walk during this time.
- Evening – Allocate unhurried time to “seek His face.” Avoid distractions such as television or excessive socializing. When possible, start and end each day on your knees, offering brief moments of praise and thanksgiving to God. Longer periods of prayer and studying the Word are often better spent alone.
Note: If you don’t plan to pray, you are unlikely to do so. Therefore, it is crucial to plan and commit to serious prayer.
Other fasting and prayer tips:
- Ensure your fridge and kitchen are stocked with the necessary items for your fast. Being unprepared increases the likelihood of succumbing to temptation.
- Make attending the daily Bible Study at 9 pm a priority. Being in the company of fellow believers will encourage you to persevere when fasting becomes challenging.
- If you make a mistake, don’t be discouraged. Get back on track immediately and continue fasting. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). He wants you to finish, and He will provide you with the grace and strength to do so.
- Begin each day of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6) and a moment of quiet worship and praying in the Spirit.
- Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan may intensify the natural battle between your body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17). Do not give in or give up. Keep praying. The fast is only for 31 days, and it will soon be over.
- Lactating and pregnant women can fast until 12 noon if they are unable to continue until around 5 pm. Please ensure you wait on the Lord and pray. Your babies are covered by the blood of Jesus, and His anointing protects them if you believe.