Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fasting without prayer is just a hunger strike

This month our church is doing a fast. I've participated the past few years, but I think I'm taking it more seriously this year. Yesterday I wrote out my plan for the decade. For each year I wrote out the main things I want to accomplish. Buying a house and having kids were the main "big ticket" items on the list. Last night during our Bible study time, I asked TheCount to do the same. We'll put our lists together and pray over them. That way we'll let God know our desires, but ultimately it's in His hands. We're going to tape the list to the back of our vision board. I may or may not share our list here, sometimes, everything ain't for everybody.
Another thing I'm doing is changing how I spend my personal time with God. So often I feel the pressure to have long drawn out Bible reading sessions where I can say I read the book of such and such- but what did I really learn? A lot of the time when we have Bible study at home, I don't really enjoy it because TheCount has me reading this and that, then we need to discuss what we got out of it, then we have praise and worship time, and then we pray. Two hours later I am tired and I hope we don't have to do it the next night. Clearly that's not the right attitude to have- but I'm just being honest with y'all. Yesterday as I was reading the studies I have emailed to me each morning, Philippians 4:6 was put on my heart. I looked it up and I only ready Philippians 4:6-7. When I finished reading it, I opened a word document and pasted it in there. Then I looked up key words in the verse for their definition and typed it in parenthesis right into the verse. I learned more in that simple study time, than in all my marathon chapter reading sessions. Breaking down the words "fret," "supplication," and "keep" were the biggest eye openers. I also read the verse in different translations ( just to make sure I fully understood what it meant. Today, I'm going to study Hebrews 4: 15-16.
If you have a hard time with personal Bible studies, try to do it this way. Simple, yet effective, one verse at a time. You can look up an issue you're dealing with and tackle it one verse at a time until you get it. Are any of y'all fasting with your church this month? What are you giving up? How do you handle your Bible study time?
{My title is something my pastor said 3 years ago during the fast. I typed it up, put it up on my wall and still didn't do any praying or Bible reading during the fast. I guess I was really just digging the weight loss from fasting, lol}


Jameil said...

I learned the value of breaking down verses word by word while at my church in Pittsburgh. Because I experienced the power of that, I am no longer willing to be a part of a church where the pastor rattles off a list of verses and half-explains all of them or skims most of them. I almost lost it last year when a pastor at bible study rattled off about 45 verses and told people to study them on their own and to buy the cd to get the verses b/c he was going to go fast (and went so fast you could only get every other verse even writing as fast as i write & w/shorthand). I also realized I rarely got anything from those 'read the bible in a year' exercises because I was just trying to get through it rather than learn from it. But it's time for me to act again rather than reminisce on past failures on my part or the leaders i was looking to for help with spiritual growth. I think I'll start with the Hebrews verse you're also studying. Thanks!

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