Why is fasting so darned slow?

Sep 20, 2012 by Tony Chung in Philosophy

Northside Kingsway Church, where I serve as worship leader, officially launches on September 23. While we’ve been holding regular 10:00 am services since April, on this date we celebrate all the work God has done through us before, and declare the next phase in the history of this church.

Quest Conference at Northside Kingsway Church Sep 23-26 2012

Quest Conference at Northside Kingsway Church Sep 23-26 2012 – visit http://bit.ly/nsquest12

We’re all on a Quest

We kick off the launch with a conference. Go big or go home, right? The Quest Conference is an opportunity for you to explore the person of the Holy Spirit in significant, practical, and powerful ways that you might not have thought about.

From Monday through Wednesday, the morning and afternoon workshops provide you with opportunities to hear testimonies, receive training, and share your experiences about how the Holy Spirit moves in your life. While the usual focus of events of this type is on the supernatural, this conference also demystifies the concept so you don’t need to be super-spiritual. For every time God’s presence can be felt in tangible ways, there are other times where it takes a lot of work just to trust that He is there.

Each of the evening sessions from Sunday to Wednesday explore the character of God through the Holy Spirit, framed in the context of each element in the Church of the Foursquare Gospel emblem:

  • Jesus as Saviour
  • Jesus as baptizer in the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus as healer
  • Jesus as coming king

The importance of fasting

This conference is not only historical, but serves as a spiritual marker. As such, Pastor Shannon declared that our team fast and pray that God will make Himself real to those who attend the conference. In my history, whenever the church fasted corporately, and prayed corporately, mighty things happened. Of course we were all in tune with what the Holy Spirit wanted.

During the past week, I fasted something very near and dear to my heart: COFFEE. I know, not a big deal, right? But it’s an amazingly big deal for those of us who can’t go without coffee. Strangely enough, I was happy drinking unsweetened ice teas and my vanilla chai vegan protein shake. More later.

I found that I wasn’t as dependent on coffee as I once was.

Then where does your dependence lie?

The question then became, where, on what, or on whom am I dependent? The most significant thing I learned this week was that because fasting was a physical act, it’s really a no-brainer to deny ourselves something if we believe strongly that it is for a greater good. But, and there is a big but: Our ultimate dependency is not on the object of our fast, but on God. We cannot–we MUST not–forget the importance of prayer. The success of any fast is not dependent on our denial, but rather on the time we spend in prayer.

Jesus taught: “When you fast…”, so we know that fasting is an important spiritual discipline. He also taught “When you pray…” so we know how we are to pray earnestly from the heart and not repeat words like a parrot. However, we need to recognize the importance of both spiritual disciplines and how they work together. Jesus taught that certain types of breakthrough can only come about “…by prayer AND fasting…” emphasis mine.

Disagree with me? Read for yourself:

Yes, I switched translations for the last scripture. The NIV translation only referenced a footnote  “Some manuscripts say fasting and prayer”, whereas the New King James doesn’t mess around. Walking with God is an all or nothing deal.

It became evident as we broke our week-long fast that while most of us got the fasting part down, many–myself included–were not as “fervent and effectual” in prayer as we had hoped. But we definitely learned something from this experience, and you can be sure the prayer has kicked up a notch since last night’s meeting.

Where do we go from here?

We’d really like you to attend the Quest Conference Sept 23-26. The evening sessions start at 7:00pm and are free. The morning sessions run from at 9:00am to 3:00pm and for three days costs only $25.00. If you can’t make the conference, you’ll be able to order the DVDs from the Northside Church website at http://northsidechurch.ca. Watch that site after the conference.