Many are hearing the call to greater intimacy with the Lord. We are those who yearn to encounter his love, hear his voice, and live in his abiding presence. Most importantly, we long to know him. This desire is a God-given gift. It is an invitation of love from the heart of the Father that has the power to transform us at our core. If we accept his invitation and nurture this divine relationship with renewed passion and zeal, God will escort us into his chambers of holy fellowship. This is the place where everything changes. When the Lord becomes our priority and we pour ourselves into knowing the person who is love, fear is dispelled, and misguided mindsets are healed.
Getting to know anyone, even the Lord, takes time, intention, and desire. Even if you have walked with the Lord for decades, there is always more to know, always a deeper relationship to experience. We must become as intentional about knowing God as God was when creating and redeeming us. This longing to know him comes from him. Our Father loves to whisper secrets to those who are close enough to listen, so we must come closer and open our hearts to hear.
We were created for uninterrupted communion with the Lord, but what do we do if we’re struggling to hear or have lost perspective? The answer sounds simple because it is. First, we must believe that he loves us and wants to speak. Jesus is the Shepherd who said that his sheep hear his voice.
“My own sheep will hear my voice and I know each one, and they will follow me.”John 10:27 TPT
Second, we must learn to listen. When we connect our faith to what Jesus said in the above Scripture and learn to rest, his voice becomes clearer. Even if we’re in a beautiful season of connection with the Lord, we can grow in our ability to discern his voice. Listening becomes effortless once we’ve learned to quiet our internal noise.
One of the ways we silence our souls in order to lean into the Spirit is through fasting. Fasting fine-tunes our spiritual senses. When we’re so emotionally clogged that we struggle to feel the Father’s love or cannot discern his voice, fasting helps to declutter our minds. When Jesus told us to fast in Matthew 6:16, it was an invitation to a lifestyle of encounter.
“When you fast, don’t look gloomy and pretend to be spiritual. They want everyone to know they’re fasting, so they appear in public looking miserable and disheveled. Believe me, they’ve already received their reward.”Matthew 6:16 TPT
He was giving us a key to a naturally supernatural life. He didn’t say, “If you fast” but “When you fast.” As we push aside the plate and draw near to the Lord, we’re declaring that God alone satisfies the deepest cravings of our starving souls. It is our response to his invitation for holy intimacy. We are setting aside time to be with the One we love.
Hebrews 4:11 in the Amplified Classic tells us to “strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves].” Finding peace is vital, but true rest cannot be experienced outside of Christ. That is why you must diligently pursue him and release every care as you turn away from all that distracts. What a joy it is to set aside the lesser things like food, social media, television, or whatever steals your focus and enter the rest of God. When you do, grace for the fast is imparted. Regardless of how long you fast or what you choose to give up, remember that God looks at the heart. He sees your longing to know him, and as you make him a priority, he will bless you.
I believe so much in the powers of fasting and quiet contemplation (also known as a bridal fast) that I’ve created a devotional to assist you. The Encounter: 40 Days of Fasting with Jesus can be used for fasts varying between one and forty days in length. Each devotion contains a short encouragement, a prayer, steps for transformation, and verses to ponder. Each day is written with one goal in mind: to escort you into the presence of God.
If you’re looking to encounter the Lord and be transformed, fasting has the power to lift heavy burdens, free you from oppression, bring healing, and invite the glory of the Lord into your life (see Isaiah 58).
Let the encounter begin!