In the time since my last post, God’s prompted me with things I need to let go of and change for my writing pursuits to reach their full potential. I’ve been excusing my lack of discipline and focus due to the constant change and chaos in my life.
As a result, I’ve begun efforts to change my normal default tendencies. I’ve eliminated gluten and other foods that increase my bouts of inflammation and irritability. I’ve also started the PiYo 60 day plan (a series of exercise routines that mix pilates and yoga and focus on correct alignment) and can say with 100% certainty, I haven’t felt better in body and mind in years!
All that back story to say that I’ve been mentally and physically preparing for this 40 day fasting and prayer long before I committed myself to the actual fast. It was in my prayer and journal time about 10 days ago that I realized yesterday (Feb 24, 2017) marked exactly 40 days before I boarded the plane for Mount Hermon. Could I really do this? What was God prompting me to fast and pray about?
40-Day Mount Hermon Preparation Fasting and Prayer Goal List
I can’t be effective in praying for others if I’m struggling from the moment I wake to the minute I attempt to fall asleep. Although intercessory will be the focus of the second part of my 40 days, I will still be praying for others when prompted. I’ve written a list to include both National and Personal intercessory prayers. I’m sure the list will grow as I dive deeper into the routine of prayer, but these are my starting points:
- Our President, his cabinet, relations with other countries, and his family
- That our Christian voice in America would become louder than any other
- Justifications for sinful lifestyles would cease
- Selfish Spirit would be quenched
- Protection from Enemies (spiritual, foreign, and domestic)
- Youth and Young Adults would see and seek Truth
- Plagues of Abortion, Divorce, Drug Use, and Mental Illness Would end
FREEDOM comes from
- Seeking God with all our Souls, Minds, and Hearts
In my prayer journal, I have listed names. For the purpose of this post, I am only including the general focus. These are “personal” intercessory prayers because they involve people I know personally.
- Authentic, life-changing Salvation for every family member and friend in my life who has not experienced the freedom and peace that comes from personally knowing Jesus Christ and seeking to know him through his Word, Holy Spirit, and God’s Divine differences that set him apart from human tendencies and other belief systems.
- Physical and Mental healing for numerous church and biological family members.
- For those who believe, but have not fully surrendered to all God has for them if they choose to turn 100% of their hearts and lives toward God.
- A significant building up of faith among fellow believers. Our own understanding and perspectives are never enough to experience the fullness of God’s plan. We must be willing to take risks, to step past our comfort zones, to get rid of distractions and hindrances, no matter how trivial or tremendous.
Immediate Family Prayers
These include my daily choices as I interact with and pray for each area. What I pray exactly will vary by day.
- My marriage
- My children
- My grandchildren (present and future)
- The current and future spouses of my adult children
- My Christian friendships
40 Day Fasting Focus Areas
My personal fasting goals might be different than you think. Due to my specific dietary needs and fibromyalgia, I cannot go on the type of fast that would keep me from eating anything. For those of you who read this list, though, you can see how hunger will still likely be a part of the process! In addition to fasting certain foods, I will also be fasting things that interfere with my mental and spiritual health.
My new PiYo routine overlaps all areas here. I’ve already felt the benefits of how this form of exercise is purging toxins and increasing my emotional and mental health.
Starting with a 21-Day Sugar Detox (based on the book by the same title), I’m eliminating all forms of sugar from food and beverages. This includes fruit (with the exception of 1 granny smith apple OR 1 green-tipped banana) per day. Other taboo foods include all grains, legumes, potatoes, and even high-carb root vegetables such as sweet potatoes. Again, an exception here is that I can have an extra serving of sweet potato or winter squash on the days that I exercise. Not even natural sugars or sugar substitutes are allowed. I’ve been meaning to do this for sometime to kill off any possible Candida overgrowth that could be contributing to my brain fog, pain flare-ups, PMS, IBS, or irritability. After 21 days, I will continue eating according to Paleo standards.
Between evening television watching (which on my bad days can push 3 hours), and scrolling Facebook and Twitter without cause, I waste a lot of mental energy. Sometimes it does feel good to “not think”. And there is a time and place for that. But for me personally, it interferes with my ability to sleep. I stay up later than I should to finish watching a show. Or I get caught up reading some political or health food thread on my social media when all I really meant to do was clear out my notifications.
Meanwhile, I have this stack of novels I’d really love to finish before attending the Mt Hermon conference this year. Some are books I bought at the conference last year and I want to be able tell the authors I read their books this year. Others are for my pure reading enjoyment, but by the time I get to bed after (x)hours of TV time, I’m pressed to read a full chapter before I realize it’s midnight and I must sleep.
This could probably overlap into the category of SPIRITUAL FASTING since I know these things interfere with my spiritual well-being at times.
Essentially my mental fast means:
- No evening TV show time (possible exception is a family movie night once a week). The point is to curb my daily routine and clear my mind.
- No social media scrolling, interacting, or reading unless it’s directly related to a positive event of a close family member or friend, or engaging with other writers. Staying positive and not wasting time on senseless discussions or information is my goal.
SPIRITUAL FOCUS ON DAILY PRAYER GOALS
Depending on my other commitments (my life doesn’t stop just because I am fasting!) — I may complete these all at once, or in bits and pieces throughout the day.
- Read the entire chapter associated with the YouVersion Bible Verse of the Day. You may see image quotes of these on my Instagram or Twitter.
- Read a section of each of the books What Happens When Women Pray and The Daniel Prayer (these are part of the weekly women’s study at our church).
- Confession. Pouring out is the first step to receiving from the Lord. This may include negative thoughts, straying from my fasting, or my list of worries (with three adult children (my oldest son turns 18 in March), two teenagers, and a grandson, this list is continuous). I firmly believe that worry is a form of sin. When we worry we’re saying we don’t trust God.
WORRY = LACK OF FAITH
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27, NIV
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6, NIV
- Pure Worship
- Intercessory Prayer
- Personal Prayer for focus, productivity, physical healing, and WIP breakthroughs
Sharing my 40 Day Fasting and Prayer Journey with You
My goal is to post at least once per week on my progress, answers to prayer, and topics related to the two book projects I will be working on during the conference. I know most of this doesn’t seem to have to do a lot with writing, but trust me — it has everything to do with writing to the Glory of God!
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Share your own version of preparing for Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference 2017.
If you are not a writer, can you still relate? If you are wanting to make major changes to your life, perhaps my journey will inspire you to begin your own version of a 40 Day Fast. I’d love to hear about it!