As we engage in the final week of our fast, we’re so encouraged by how God has been moving in our lives through this time. In looking ahead to the end of our fast, we want to finish well. We don’t want to finish and fall back into old habits. Instead, we look ahead to day 22 and beyond with anticipation and preparation via these 4 truths.
4 Truths for Day 22 and Beyond
Always respond to the work of God with the praise of God.
- Read Psalm 71.19–22.
We’ve seen God at work in a lot of ways during this time of fasting and prayer. One thing that the Bible says is very important is how we respond to God’s work in our lives. Sometimes we spend months praying for God to do something in our lives, only to ignore or disregard Him when He answers our prayer. We go on with our lives as if nothing’s changed.
The danger of this lifestyle is that 1) God doesn’t receive the glory that He’s due and 2) we actually forget that it was God who brought us into the better place that we’re in. This is exactly what happened to the nation of Israel. God miraculously saved them from slavery in Egypt, gave them land, established them as a nation and blessed them. Then in Deuteronomy 6, He warns them, “do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery). We must not forget all that God has done for us. We must respond to His provision with praise and thanksgiving, rightfully remembering who God is and who we are.
Question: How has God worked in your life through this fast? How have you praised Him for this work?
Remember the ultimate goal of prayer and fasting is alignment with the heart of God.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been praying and fasting over a plethora of things—marriages, jobs, global crises, people to come to know Christ. However, the greatest benefit of a fast like this isn’t getting God to align with our priorities; rather, the greatest benefit is getting us to align with God’s priorities.
- Read John 5.17–19.
The reason that Jesus was able to accomplish so much in His life and ministry was His proximity to the Father’s heart. He was able to join God in what God was already doing. In Luke 10, Jesus’ disciples are sent out to do powerful ministry. When they returned, they were pumped up about all of the things that they were able to do. Do you know how Jesus responded? He told them to be less pumped up about what they can do and more pumped up about Whose they are.
Instead of rejoicing in our activity, we should rejoice in our identity. We can focus less on the results of what we’ve done and more on our relationship with God; focus less on signs and wonders and answers to prayers and more on being sons and daughters of God. Only when our hearts are aligned with God are we able to do the work of God.
Question: Reflect on your fast. How has God aligned your heart to be in sync with His? What are you seeking more: God or results?
Don’t go back to spiritual junk food.
- Read Matthew 12.43–45.
It’s relatively easy to commit to a discipline over a short period of time. When training for a race, runners are daily putting in miles and watching what kind of foods they allow into their bodies. However, the real test comes after the race is over; if they don’t continue their regime, they’re going to lose the health benefits that they gained from it.
Similarly, after a time of fasting, we can’t go back to spiritual junk food. There are some habits that we’ve removed during this time that need to stay out of our lives permanently, and there are some habits that we’ve added to our lives that need to stay permanently. We mustn’t neglect a life of spiritual training.
Often in our culture, we view fasting as a bold, radical thing. However, in the Bible, it was actually pretty ordinary. They regularly fasted and intentionally spent time with God in order to grow spiritually.
Question: Think about your fast. What activities have you let go of that need to stay out of your life? What things have you added that need to stay permanently? What steps will you take to ensure you continue to grow spiritually?
What God declares, He will accomplish.
As we wrap up this time of fasting, some of us may feel discouraged as we haven’t seen the changes that we were hoping for. Let Isaiah 46.10–11 be an encouragement to us: God says, “What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.”
When God declares that something will happen, it will surely happen, even if it takes some time. Think of Abraham and Sarah. When they were elderly, God promised that they would have a son. 25 years later—when they were even more elderly—God fulfilled that promise through the birth of their son Isaac.
- Read Hebrews 11.
Hebrews 11.11 tells us why Sarah was able to hold onto hope during all those years: she knew the character of God. She knew that God is faithful.
Earlier in the chapter, the author of Hebrews defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” When we are waiting for God to answer our prayers, we can be encouraged by being persistent in prayer and steadfast in faith, believing God is faithful to His promises.