Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fasting

I had been thinking and praying about fasting for the past few months. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. The logistics bothered me, because physically I cannot train or teach if I do not eat. So I began to pray. Then the session of our church called for a day of fasting and prayer for the church. I prayed more. One morning I woke up with the answer in my mind. I could skip breakfast, and spend several hours that morning in prayer, then I could eat lunch and be fine for teaching and/or training that afternoon. Fasting did not have to be an entire day. What an obvious, easy answer!

That first morning I was so excited about getting up and spending time with God that I woke up early. I prayed through the list I had planned, and then asked God what to pray for next. Immediately my mind went to Psalm 23. I turned to it and prayed through it for my husband and each of my children. Then my eyes fell on Psalm 25 and I knew it was exactly what I needed to pray for my husband and my 2 older kids, all about God’s plan for the future. I felt such a great joy and peace. Not assurance that my problems and concerns would go away, but assurance that God would be with me no matter what happened. As I went through the rest of my morning at home and then at work, I was constantly aware of God’s presence. Occasionally I would realize that I was hungry, but instead of being a problem, it was a wonderful reminder of the time I had spent with God that morning. After that morning’s experience with fasting, I was ready and willing, and even excited, about fasting for the church the next week. Since that day I have set aside several mornings of fasting for different concerns. At first I thought I would just fast once a week, but as I planned it felt wrong… it felt like fasting should be a special thing, not an everyday thing, and I needed God to lay on my heart a specific concern. So now I look forward to the times when God lays on my heart the times He wants me to fast and pray.

Random thoughts about fasting:
Doing without something you need
Not just doing without something you want for a short time
Depending on God completely
Bringing your concerns to God with an attitude of submission and dependence on Him
Self-control and self-denial
Loving God more than your needs as well as your wants
More than delayed gratification
To physically show my dependence on God, my body cannot support itself.
As a vow to God
Fasting is obedience
It takes preparation
Special time set aside for prayer for specific needs
Time to ask God Himself what to pray for

“… fasting is an act of humility wherein we acknowledge our need to subdue the appetites of the flesh and focus more intently on who we are and what we have been given in Christ.”
Ken Jones, Tabletalk, July 2010

“God rewards fasting because fasting expresses the cry of the heart that nothing on earth can satisfy our souls besides God.” John Piper, A Hunger for God

“Why the fast? In the first place, it was due to the desperate situation in which the people found themselves and their need to show their dependence on God’s kindness… Fasting reminds us of our creatureliness and moves us to learn better what it means to depend on our creator, thereby glorifying His name.” Ken Jones, Tabletalk, July 2010

©Rebecca A Givens, 10/02/10
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