So we fasted and petitioned our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. Ezra 8: 23 NRSV
I don't do much fasting, yet it is all over the Bible - Old Testament, New Testament even for those of you who have an Apocrypha in the middle of your Bible. Fasting is a part of prayer, grieving, humility, and repentance. Fasting somehow seems to connect to God's ears in ways regular communication may be lacking. So, why don't I fast?
Part of the reason has been when I have tried to fast I just end up in a bad mood: a BAAAD mood. Dr. Jeckyl, Mr. Hyde kind of bad mood. So, I have a tendency to say no to complete fasting. I might give up a certain type of food for a period of time but that is not true fasting.
I have had some success with complete fasting: mainly if I am by myself. Put me in a regular daily schedule, and everyone around had better take cover! The one exception is Sunday mornings. I actually do well on those days. But I do look forward to lunch!
There are a group of us at my church who are praying through Acts and plan on fasting on Pentecost Sunday from dawn to dusk. One of the suggestions is that we don't wait until then - we need to "practice" our fasting. One idea that I have is to stretch out my own Sunday morning fasts until I can cope with a whole day. I also plan on drinking lots of water with a bit of lemon juice throughout that time.
But the biggest keys evident in this scripture seems to me the petition part to God. Fasting is not to be done just for the sake of giving up food. Fasting is part of an entreaty to God. Fasting should be an extension of my prayers, like kneeling or bowing my head. I need to be combining my prayers and my fasting. I think that is the key.
God, if you lead us to fast, help us to remain in constant prayer to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims