Week 1: Cleanse, Detoxify Your Soul

A typical cleansing diet involves a period of fasting, followed by adherence to a strict diet. The purpose of a cleanse is to empty the body of toxins and fill it with things that promote good health instead.  As we begin our 40 Days of fasting from our favorite distraction, let’s focus on emptying our lives of toxic things that take up energy and space. By cleansing our lives of wasteful practices, we are creating space that's wide open for God. Submit this space to Him and ask Him to work: revitalizing you and creating good spiritual health in you!

Day 1: No Other Gods Before Me

Read Exodus 20:1-6
I will never forget this demonstration of dedicated commitment to spending daily time with God through the study of His Word. I saw him, a recent high school graduate, from my front porch very early one morning. He stopped by to tell me that he was on his way to Krape Park, saying: “I am going for my devotions. I go early every morning to make sure that the first words that I read each morning are God’s Word.” What a good demonstration of “No god before me” that was!

As you fast from your favorite distraction, are you seeking God and His Word before everything else? How are you going to detox your life so that you seek God first? From what distraction have you decided to fast this week?

Day 2: Obey Your Father

Read Deuteronomy 13:4
“You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.”

This passage tells us to fear God alone. Think about all of your fears: some of those fears have been present in your life for a long time, while others are new. Maybe you fear rejection, personal loss, job loss, illness, or death. Maybe something else? God’s Word tells us to fear only Him. What do we need to fear about Him? Why is fearing God a good thing? What would it look like to let God remove all of your fears except for your fear of Him?

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
-Corrie Ten Boom (WWII Holocaust Survivor)

Day 3: End Toxic Thoughts

Read Ecclesiastes 3:11
There are four common categories of toxic thoughts: negative thoughts, fearful thoughts, discontented thoughts, and critical thoughts. In the privacy of your own mind, can you think about sweeping out these old cobwebs of unhealthy thoughts? Do you still hold a grudge from something that happened long ago? Do you find yourself thinking that you will never be good enough? Was there a time when you heard someone else say that you were inadequate, and you believed it? According to God’s Word, you are beautiful. He made you and said, “It is very good.” (Gen. 1:31).

Tell God about these thoughts and ask Him to help you sweep them out of your mind. Ask Him to show you some helpful actions to take that will allow you to cleanse your mind of these toxic thought patterns, and write them down! Instead, think of Job 34:4 “Let us choose what is right; let us know among ourselves what is good."

Day 4: Forgive

Read Colossians 3:13
Colossians 3:13 “bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."

Lewis B. Smedes stated that there is a miracle in forgiveness and power in seeing the former offender with eyes that wish him or her the best that life can offer. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you.” (Smedes)

A group of Christians who had been meeting for years finally were transparent enough to talk about their inability to forgive. After discussion, they agreed that non-forgiveness is a major barrier to experiencing God’s full grace and peace. If we want to experience the best that God has to offer, let’s examine our own hearts. Who do I need to forgive? (Go back in your life as far as you can remember and release the toxic waste of non-forgiveness by surrendering it to the One who makes all things new.

Day 5: Focus on Jesus

Read Hebrews 12:1-2
How is your fast from your favorite distraction going? Take time today to pray for all those who are fasting this week. Pray for endurance to finish this fast (and 40-day prayer journey) well.

In a conversation with a young new pastor, Dallas Willard quieted the room with, “You’re a soul made by God, made for God, and made to need God, which means you were not made to be self-sufficient.” He also said, “What is running your life at any given moment is your soul.” Our soul has a set number of days. Let us decide to spend our days focused on Jesus and serving Him. He will provide for all our needs.

A hymn by Helen H. Lemmel, a blind woman, beautifully captures the importance of seeking Jesus before all things: "O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness I see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace."

Day 6: Listen for the Holy Spirit

Read Psalm 46:10
Acts 3: 22-23, "Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.'"

We are in desperate need of God's wisdom. This is serious! You've just spent a week cleansing yourself of unspiritual toxins, and you now have so much room to hear God! Seek His direction today, and then consider how this week has helped you create more space to encounter Him.
24-Hour Fast: We encourage you to  join us in fasting from food for this upcoming 24-hour period, beginning 4 pm today (Saturday) and lasting until 4 pm tomorrow (Sunday).

Day 7: Praise Him and Reflect on the Week

Read Isaiah 58
How has this week been for you? How has intentionally praying each day affected you? Where do you notice differences: your attitude, your ability to control your words or actions, your mood, your focus? Maybe somewhere else? Prayer and fasting are spiritual disciplines. They take work, but the purpose of practicing these disciplines is not to make yourself better, but to remain close to God. How has this week of intentional prayer and fasting kept your heart focused on God?