Monday, July 30, 2012

Prayer and Fasting

I can't believe I haven't had a post on here since September of last year-and yet, I can. I didn't really think anyone was reading what I posted here so I was content to post the occasional thought as a "note" on my Facebook page.

My daughter, Naomi just turned one. I am no longer nursing her, and that is where this post begins.

You see, fasting is a complex challenge posed to Christians. While still pregnant and during her first year of life, I'd heard multiple pastors/teachers speak on fasting. "It doesn't have to be food" was the most popular phrase. "Fast something that costs you and take the time you would use to spend praying and drawing close to God."

I fasted from Facebook, I fasted desserts, did lots of different things, but none of them really resounded with that depth in my heart that I'd had in the past when I fasted actual meals.

A friend of ours was seriously hurt and the day we found out, I felt strongly that I should fast that day until dinner, and be in constant prayer for this friend. It was amazing what happened. The early part of the day I would pray whenever I thought of him, but as the day progressed and my three girls interacted with myself and each other, I wasn't thinking of him at all. Then, I had a hunger pang. And when I say pang-it was a real pain in my stomach saying "Why haven't you fed me yet?"

At that point, I remembered our friend and began praying again. This happened throughout the day. At the end of the day, I was famished and broke the fast at dinner, but it was a breakthrough in my mind of why the Bible speaks of fasting. Specifically food.

There is a physical consequence that goes beyond our selfish desire to only care for ourselves-and that is where intercession takes place. If I fast something that is outside my body-it may not be a true need. I may dearly miss it, but if it's just a want, it is not the life-giving sacrifice that shapes my heart.

As you read this, perhaps it is a completely different experience for you. Fasting is not dieting. That is the number one reason why I wouldn't recommend fasting for long periods of time. Fasting is for us, but really it shouldn't be about you at all. This was specific and I was able as I wasn't pregnant or nursing (for the first time in almost six years!)-and I knew it was for a short period of time. There was a pressing urgency on me-it wasn't an idea I came up with myself.

I am still in prayer for our friend and hope you can be too. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:12"

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