“When you fast…” Matthew 6:16
I have spent my entire life in the church, my fondest family memories are sitting in the wooden pews of Tidal Presbyterian. Dad, Mom, Matt, me and Ron all seated in a row. The older gentleman behind us, God forgive me, I can’t remember his name, always gave us chiclets. Dad always stood outside the front doors, smoking cigarettes with the guys before the service started. Rev. T. Donald Hamilton was our pastor. Loved him!
In all those years though, I never remember learning about fasting. There is a real possibility that I may not have been paying attention. I didn’t really start to learn about fasting until I was an adult. I definitely didn’t start practicing fasting until the last 15 years of my life. I did know about Lent. I always liked to give something up for Lent every year, even as a child. I didn’t truly understand the full scope of what I was doing.
Now I do.
Fasting is a powerful tool. My devotional this morning said it best:
“There is a closeness to God that you simply will not experience from prayer or personal devotions alone.” Excerpts from Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting and Spiritual Freedom by Stoval Weems (pp. 63-64)
That is why I love fasting. It draws me into God’s arms. It is like nestling into His shoulder, all warm and cozy. The insights He reveals to you during times of fasting are life changing. He has changed my life through every fast I’ve done.
There are several different types of fast you can do. Our church started a 21 day fast yesterday. Here is a great resource to learn more about fasting:
During this 21 day fast, I am fasting one meal a day and spending the time in prayer. My husband and I are completely fasting one day a week together. I have already been doing a modified Daniel Fast which is why I chose to fast an entire meal. A lot of people are doing the Daniel Fast for the 21 days.
I am so excited about what God will do in my life, in our marriage and in our church through this collective fast.
There are so many facets of fasting to talk about, I can’t do it in one blog. I want to share one of my most life changing fast experiences with you as an example of why I love fasting.
It was several years ago. I was going through a difficult time with my immediate family. My Mom had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, My brothers and I were at odds with each other, no one was speaking to each other. We were all so torn up in our emotions, no one knew what to do, we all felt so helpless. In desperation I turned to God. I didn’t even know what to pray, but I knew I needed Him more than ever.
I started a 10 day fast. I decided to fast breakfast and lunch, praying during those times instead. I have to tell you, those prayers were more like groans. I didn’t even know what to pray. I just clung to God, trusting Him. Pouring it all out to Him. It was about half way through the fast I felt the tides turn, for lack of a better way to describe it. I knew that I had found victory in the spiritual battle I was fighting.
Immediately I thought, “Yay, I can stop fasting!” Even quicker I heard God say, “Do you want the full victory or the partial victory?” I knew I wanted the full victory, so I continued the fast.
I received the full victory. It didn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen in the next week or month. In fact, some aspects of it took years. My family is fully restored. My brothers and I learned to work together. We learned to enjoy Mom’s last years here on earth with her. We were able to let her go to the arms of Jesus when the time came, all of us at peace. All of us together.
The person who God changed most during this particular fast was me. He didn’t change the circumstances. He didn’t change my brothers. He changed me, because I was the one who needed to be changed.
If I ever need to be reminded of the power of fasting, I just think of those ten days that changed my life forever.
Thank You God!
“When you fast…” Matthew 6:16