For a number of years now I’ve made it a regular practice to spend most Monday’s in study, meditation and fasting…
I set aside the day to day humdrum details of life and wait to be inspired by the Big Picture…opening up space to dream, to think outside the box…to create…to receive visions of things that are greater than myself and things to come in the future.
Some of this time is spent reading new books, some of the time in prayer, some of the time writing ideas that come to me down in my journals and all of the day fasting.
(Since marrying my wonderful wife and having 3 kids, my Monday mornings are now spent in Asda…however…because my wife prefers to do the shopping by herself and at her own pace, I still get to sit in the cafe and dream while she looks after the details!)
Over the years God has used this time to speak to me, or maybe a better way of putting it is, I have been able to hear God because I have slowed down and made the space to listen
Pascal says this: ‘I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they are unable to stay quietly in their own room’
I would add to this and say: ‘the unhappiness of men and women is down to a perceived loss of meaning….a lack of purpose…a feeling that life is passing us by, a general confusion or that the things we long to do we are too busy to do…’
We have forgotten how to be still, to hear, to receive spiritual direction, to listen to our own hearts and desires…
Fasting is another ancient practice…in a similar way to being still and meditating, fasting dials down the every day habits (of eating) and enables us to be more in tune with our spirit and the Spirit of God…it somehow gives us clarity
I began regular fasting around 2003 and have received new instructions, directions and what some might call ‘revelations’…insights that go beyond the kind of thoughts I get on a ‘normal’ day of eating. (I will write more about fasting in a future post)
When it comes to study, I never get tired of this…I devour books and new ideas! I am always eager to learn and so regularly sit in my local Waterstones bookstore browsing through the various departments searching for new sources of inspiration. King Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever walk the earth says ‘Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them.’ (Proverbs 18:15)
I also find inspiration and direction through one of the most ancient books in the world; the Bible. On days set aside for fasting and meditation, thoughts and new ideas almost seem to leap out of its pages. I find myself drawing new connections between different passages I read and sometimes the voice of God speaking to me is so clear I come away renewed with a new sense of what is possible!
Charles Johnson said this in his book about Martin Luther King Jr: ‘After his trip to India he’d vowed to set aside one day a week for fasting and meditation, and to spend more time in study – he was certain he needed these things to be a better leader.’
Throughout history, great leaders including Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King have set aside regular times of fasting, meditation and study…
To turn the world upside down and change the course of history nothing less will do…
What will you set aside in order to change the world?
(If this article has inspired you or you have stories to share about your journeys into fasting, meditation and study please leave a comment, contact me or share this with others)