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Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough Lesson 5: The Elijah Fast
19: 2 - 18
THE ELIJAH FAST
Why is it that bad habits are so easy to make and hard to break? Most of us have asked that question at one time or another. As creatures of habit, we tend to do the same thing we’ve always done even when we know it wrong and say we want to stop. We struggle week after week, month after month, desperately trying to break a bad habit, but realizing little or no success.
The Elijah Fast is a fast to break negative mental and emotional habits. In this chapter we will learn about habits, how they are formed, and how the Elijah Fast can help us break free of habits. As you work through these studies, ask God to help you break free of a particular habit as you apply these principles in your own Elijah Fast.
Recognizing the Habits of the Heart
While God used Elijah in a significant way on Mount Carmal, Elijah himself had an emotional problem. How did that problem manifest itself in Elijah’s experience? Are there times in your own life when you feel like Elijah?
Towns describes a habit as "a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition that is reflected in regular or increased performance." We may have many different kinds of habits. What are some of your good habits?
What are some of your instinctive habits that are relatively harmless?
Is there a particular bad habit you would like to break? Is this the kind of habit the Elijah Fast is designed to break?
Towns identifies several symptoms of needing the Elijah Fast. With which of these symptoms can you most readily identify?
Learning from a Man of Like Passion
While we are sometimes tempted to think of men like Elijah as super-saints far above anything we could ever attain in our Christian life, the New Testament describes Elijah as "a man with a nature like ours" (James 5:17). In this section, Towns identifies several principles growing out of Elijah’s experience. The first states "defeat often follows victory." Describe a time in your own life when you faced a personal struggle at a time when others might have thought you were celebrating a personal victory.
We work hard at hiding our inner pain from others, but we cannot hide what is in our heart from God. If God were to take inventory of your heart, what are some of the things you would hope He would not notice?
Involvement in ministry is often a source of significant joy in the life of a believer. Perhaps that is why we are so surprised when we find ourselves discouraged or depressed while doing God’s work. What tends to depress you most in your service for Christ? Why do you think you experience discouragement rather than joy in that ministry?
Do you find yourself relying on past victories to qualify you for future ministry involvement?
Based on your responses above, would you consider yourself a candidate for the Elijah Fast?
Prescription for the Elijah Fast
In this section, Towns identifies ten steps involved in the Elijah Fast. Use the following questions to examine these steps more closely as you prepare for your Elijah Fast.
Is your decision to fast impulsive or have you taken time to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for the fast?
What limitations are you facing as you begin your fast?
Where do you need to go physically and mentally during this fast?
What Scriptures will you study during this fast?
As you study these Scriptures, what do they reveal about your personal walk with God?
What weaknesses do you need to confess to God?
How is God trying to communicate with you?
What is God doing in you and around you?
What steps do you need to take next?
What "new thing" do you think God wants to do in your life?
How Habits Evolve
Read 2 Peter 1:4-8. Based on this passage, Towns has outlined six steps involved in the process of breaking old habits and making new habits. Use the following questions to help you apply these principles to the habit you want to break.
How do you need to think differently about your habit?
Which response to vision best describes your typical response?
What steps do you need to take to grasp God’s vision for your life?
What steps do you need to take to change your attitude toward your habit?
What are some specific actions you can take to break this habit?
What good habit would you like to see in the place of your bad habit?
Practicing the Elijah Fast
(Pages 96, 97)
What habit do you hope to make or break through the Elijah Fast? Be as specific as possible in expressing your purpose in fasting.
As you begin fasting, what will be the character of this fast? From what foods are you abstaining? When will you begin and end this fast? How often do you intend to repeat this fast?
Where will this fast occur? Is there a place where you can be separated from other influences during the fast?
What Scriptures do you intend to study during the fast?
Who will be praying with you during this fast?
What specific request will be the focus of your prayer?
A Word of Prayer
Heavenly Father, Despite past efforts, I confess I have been unable to break free of the habit of on my own. This habit seems to have a grasp on me too strong to shake. But I am reminded You are able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I can ask or think. I am further reminded You are my Helper in time of need. I need You and Your help to break this habit. Lord, as I follow Your leading in my life and observe the Elijah Fast, guide me through the process by which You will help me overcome this habit. Enable me to accomplish the things You want me to do and trust You to do the things only You can do. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
People in need seem to be everywhere. We hear stories of starving people, victims of famine, war and disease. The problem sometimes seems to overwhelm us and we are left wondering if there is anything anyone can do to make a difference. There is. In the next chapter, we will consider the Widow’s Fast for meeting humanitarian needs. As you anticipate your study, ask God to show you the strategic role He has for you in being one of His tools for helping the poor and needy in our world today.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your salvation experience so that we can rejoice with you.
For more information about the study guide Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough, please go to www.elmertowns.com.