Today's practice is fasting. Fasting is intentionally abstaining from food for spiritual purposes (whether that be for guidance, overcoming temptation, healing/deliverance, or for times of crisis). People often react to the concept of fasting like they do to running - "Why in the world would you choose to do that?" But there's something very powerful about fasting that makes it important to living an integrated life. Mahesh Chavda, pastor and author of The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, explains why:
It is likely that at some point in your life and ministry, you have been stopped cold or greatly hindered by obstructions. That thing, whatever is...will not budge until you combine your prayers with fasting. When you combine your prayers with fasting, you suddenly drop a hydrogen bomb on the mountain that is blocking your call and divine assignment. Fasting boosts the intensity and effectiveness of our prayer at least tenfold, and often a hundredfold!There are lots of difficult situations that you may be carrying into 2011; fasting helps us overcome them by weakening ourselves in order to rely on God's power. But in addition to giving us a boost over challenges, fasting helps to reorient our priorities and bring balance to our life against our overly indulgent culture that wants to appetize us to consume more and more. Fasting reminds us that we don't live on food alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
So today, practice fasting. A standard fast means no food, only water. That would be the ultimate challenge for one day. But at the very least, follow a basic principle of making some kind of substantial sacrifice in your eating habits for 24 hours. Maybe skip one or two meals. Maybe just eat vegetables or only drink juice. And then just spend the the time you would normally eat (or when you are hungry) gobbling up some prayer or sacred reading instead, to fill yourself with the food of God. If you want an inspiring example, check out how Jesus fasted in the desert for 40 days before he began his ministry. Imagine starting 2011 that way! But let's just take it one day at a time.