Every January my church holds a denomination-wide fast that lasts the entire month. This fast is food-based and is a consecration to unite the church in prayer as we begin the new year.
While I have never participated with this fast before, I have fasted in other ways. Mainly from television and the telephone, as those are 2 of my biggest vices. I can spend hours on the phone and although I’m usually multitasking while I talk, it doesn’t draw me closer to God nor does it make me feel like I’m any better off than before the phone call. Watching television is entertaining but again, doesn’t draw me closer to God & is just a plain waste of time. Nonetheless, canceling out television at least motivated me to be more productive during those primetime hours.
This year, however, I needed a change. Mentally, physically, emotionally and financially – I just needed a change. I’ve prayed, cried and have read the Bible but I’ve not physically starved myself (although fasting is not about starving yourself) with the intent of growing spiritually. So this year, I thought I’d give it a try!
This is the 3rd week of the fast & already I feel a change. We are allowed to eat but we are supposed to eat healthily and abstain from food all day only on certain days of the month. There are certain Scriptures that we are supposed to read every day but the key is to stay in prayer at all times. The best part about it is that I know I’m not alone. Thousands of Christians across the country are also fasting (most churches fast around this time of year), and are also seeking to hear from the Lord. Corporate prayer is the best type of prayer there is.
Like today – I haven’t eaten all day but instead of focusing on food, I’d want to hear from God. I knew that the physical breakdown of my stomach would be made up by the spiritual uplifting from God. And that’s the whole point of fasting. When we deny our flesh our other senses become heightened. Plus when you’re hungry, you tend to be a lot nicer! Fasting is definitely biblical (David fasted, even Jesus fasted). It’s a matter of flushing out all the distractions.
Fasting doesn’t have to be about food, though. Fasting is about sacrifice. Anything that distracts you from God is what you should be fasting from. That could be shopping, sex, alcohol or a multitude of other things. As one preacher put it, “If it’s not a sacrifice, it doesn’t count”.
God honors those who honor Him. Even if you “fall off” from the fast, it’s okay to start over again. God honors your commitment to Him. And I believe that at the end of the month I will hear from God; I can’t wait!