fasting ain’t easy…but it’s worth it.
Seriously, I love food.
I graze all day long.
And for good reason: it is NOT pretty when I go too long without it. My attitude gets ugly fast.
Right before Ben and I got married, my dad said something to him like, “just feed that one every couple hours and you will be ok.”
I’m not even kidding. Marriage success = food.
My hubby must have taken that advice to heart because when I get crabby, he brings me a treat. He offers no words of condemnation for my sideways behavior, he just offers food.
God bless that man for loving me.
Besides making marriage to me difficult, this “charming” trait of mine makes it all the more challenging to fast….which we are currently doing.
Every January, we do a fast to seek God’s direction. This year, we are doing a partial fast – skipping one meal a day and spending a half an hour in the Word and in prayer instead. During that time, we praise and thank God for who he is and all he has done, we ask him to reveal himself to us, and we surrender our lives for his glory. In light of all that has happened recently, we are feeling desperate for him to guide us like never before.
I am not telling you this for any sort of pat on the back or recognition. I simply want to share so that I can encourage you to think about engaging in this discipline as well. It took me until I was in my 30’s to understand fasting and have the courage to attempt it. Before that, I thought it was something only religious nuts did.
Now I know better and it has changed my life.
Friends, fasting ain’t easy. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.
But it’s worth it.
If you have never taken the leap, I want to invite you to consider it.
I realize it can be daunting, so I want to share a few things I wish I would have known sooner.
(Side note: I’m not claiming to be an expert on this topic. There are several great resources available and I will attach a link to one that I think is helpful at the end of this post.)
- Fasting is a tried and true and very old tradition – it is not a new or radical practice. Going all the way back through the Old Testament, God’s chosen people would fast as an expression of mourning, brokenheartedness and desperation. They were waiting for the promised Messiah and enduring many trials and persecution. They yearned for the Savior to come and rescue them. Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Fasting showed their trust in God to literally sustain them.
- Fasting is still relevant today, although it’s practiced for a different reason because we are living after the coming of the Messiah. Jesus already accomplished his mission! Now, we fast because we long for him to come back in all the fullness of his glory and power. We anxiously await his return because we have tasted his presence and desire more of him. Therefore, we fast for God to reveal himself to us, for his Kingdom to come, for understanding and wisdom, for breakthrough and healing.
- There are many different types of fasting, most of which fall into one of four groups:
- A regular fast: this fast involves drinking water, but not eating food. Some scholars think this is the fast Jesus did at the beginning of his ministry because the bible makes mention of his hunger after 40 days in Matthew 4, but does not mention his thirst.
- A partial fast: there are many different methods of this type of fast. A person can omit one or two meals a day, omit food one day a week, or a person can omit certain types of food. In the Bible, Daniel and his men ate only vegetables, fruit, and water for 10 days.
- A full fast: no food or drink are consumed. In the book of Esther, God’s chosen people fasted completely for 3 days and in the book of Acts it is recorded that Paul did the same. This type of fast needs to be done with extreme caution and for a very limited amount of time.
- A non-food related fast: a person gives up something other than food and drink for a specific amount of time. Examples include TV, social media, books, movies, video games, and other technology. This is a great alternative for kids or for people with limiting health issues.
I would recommend praying about the type of fast, checking with your doctor if you have any health issues, and doing the prep work (food planning, etc.) before jumping in. Because of some of the health issues I have, it’s safest for me to do a partial fast, and a pretty moderate one at that. But I know that God sees my heart and knows my intentions, just as he did when I was doing longer, more intense fasting.
This week, instead of eating breakfast, I get on my knees, read the Word, and sing praise songs. Then I sit in silence and listen for his voice.
I press in.
I chase after.
I claim dependence on him and his Word.
And every time I feel hungry, instead of eating, I pray for him to come and fill me up.
I’m pretty sure I pray 20-30 times a morning, but he meets me and sustains me every.single.time.
Crabbiness and all.
In those quiet moments, he has revealed things to me that I need to work on, given me direction for the future, and started to heal some of my hurts. He feels so close and I know I’m being lovingly pruned. In addition, our family has received too many blessings to count this week…and I know it isn’t a coincidence.
Friends, there is nothing more satisfying than time in the presence of the Lord. Nothing. No food, no drink, no distraction. When we have the courage to rely on him, he reveals himself to us in new and powerful ways. Join me!
As always, I love hearing from you. Message me or comment on the blog and I will get on my knees for you. Let’s do this faith journey together.
Here’s the link I mentioned: https://www.peterhaas.org/21-days-of-prayer-fasting/
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