Reflections on 2011 One Desire Fast

 

Photo by HMCC Publication Team
 
 
 
I will confess – I hate fasting, but it is a spiritual discipline that has been a part of my spirituality ever since I was in college. For some reason, with all the ups and downs of fasting, God has used it to really minister to me over the years. This is why as we were preparing for the One Desire Fast 2011, I just knew that God still wanted to deal with various areas of my life.

When I was younger, I always saw fasting as “denying” myself of food and that through fasting I was somehow becoming more holy. But Christina would be the first one to tell me that I am becoming anything but holy. There have been many times when I would have to double check my motives and most of all, my attitude. It is always during fasting where all the ugliness of my heart would come out. I am wondering if fasting is one of God’s tools and purposes of showing who we really are.

This year’s fast for some reason has been a little bit different. In the previous years, I really had to guard my heart against various things; but this year I really felt God was doing something not only in my life but in the life of our church.

Here are some personal reflections and realizations from the One Desire Fast:

1) The simplicity of focus. This year we did not have our annual congregational retreat. It was our conviction to simplify some things in our church structure. Therefore, in the month of January, the only thing on our church’s calendar was the One Desire Fast. Even in our Sunday sermon series, we decided to preach on the spiritual habits of a Christ-follower and the first part was on the topic of fasting. We also had specified applications that were specifically geared towards the response of building spiritual habits. We never had this kind of focus for just a fast. But the more I reflect on this, the more I see how our focus does play a huge part in the benefits of having a corporate fast. Also, instead of focusing so much on the food (what we can eat and not eat), we tried to focus on the various prayer topics.

2) The spiritual warfare.
It was incredible to hear all the different stories about how members were experiencing spiritual warfare during this fast. People were having weird dreams, struggling through some old sins from the past, getting more distracted, sensing an intense feeling of spiritual opposition. One day, I was talking to Christina and asked her why she thinks the spiritual warfare was happening and her answer left me speechless. She said, “It is not that there is more spiritual warfare, but as people are fasting, we are more spiritually aware of the battle that occurs every day.” What she said was so true. When we are fasting we are just awakened more to what goes on throughout a normal day. This definitely caused us to pray more and depend on God’s protection.

3) The strength of unity. For some reason, it just felt like more people were fasting than in the previous years. I was very encouraged to see that all our LIFE Group members (married couples) participating in the fast. Usually it is harder to motivate post-college people to make the sacrifice to fast and seek the Lord. But when I found out that our members were fasting, it made me realize the power of unity. Even as we were meeting together for LIFE Group on Tuesday, we just knew that we were standing together and persevering together. We had a great time of sharing and praying for one another. I also felt this on the church-wide level. It was inspiring to see some of the people fast for the first-time in their spiritual journey. Then to see all our HMCC churches fasting together and praying for one another, it was mind-blogging.

4) The spread of the Gospel. After our fast, a lot of people were getting the sense that God wanted to challenge us, as a church to be more outward focused. It is so easy to be focused on ourselves, especially when we are doing a fast. But ultimately, we have to realize that the fast was preparing us and positioning us for something greater. There was a tremendous burden for us to find ways to spread the Gospel message throughout our campus and our community. Now that our corporate fast is finished, we are going to pull our resources and our attention to reaching out to more lost people. I am wondering if we want to grow in gaining God’s heart for reaching the lost, then we need should seek God by committing ourselves to a fast.

 
 
With all these blessings, I am looking forward to another opportunity for our whole church to come together to fast and to seek God as one body. But in the meantime, we are excited for all the things that God has in store for us in the months to come.