Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fasting & Praying

I was about 35-years-old the first time I decided to fast and pray.  I fasted about our finances.  I just remember our needs were great and there seemed to be no way out financially.  So I decided to fast and pray about it.  I didn't choose an easy fast...I chose to fast from food for seven days.  So for seven days, I only drank water and devoted my time to praying.  Of course, I wasn't on my knees 24-hours a day for seven days.  I had four kids to take care of and laundry didn't stop for me.  But the purpose of those seven days was ever before me.  The first day wasn't so hard.  I missed those three meals and prayed my heart out.  My grumbling tummy was only a reminder to turn to God in prayer.  The second day was a little harder.  It was hard cooking meals for my family and not eating that day.  And by the end of that day, I had a bad headache.  The third day was the worst.  I've since learned that toxins begin leaving your body on that day and I had a migraine.  Honestly, it was hard to think, let alone pray.  And...I was hungry!  But everything began to change on that fourth day.  The headache was gone and everything seemed to be more focused.  My praying was even more fine-tuned.  I found myself less preoccupied about my finances and more centered on God and coming in agreement with Him.  I had mixed emotions by the end of the seventh day.  I was ready to eat again...but I had so enjoyed a time with God which brought me closer to Him.

I'd been told about fasting and praying since I was a little girl.  I'd heard the story of Esther and when she and her people--the Jews--were about to be annihilated, she called her people to fast and pray as she went before the king to petition for their lives.  In my mind, fasting was for life-threatening situations.  Not finances.  And it was from stories in the Bible.  I didn't know anyone in my life who had fasted.  Of course, Matthew 6 tells us to not make a big deal about it when we fast and pray--with a motive to impress men.  So people around me may have fasted, but I just didn't know about it.

Interestingly, a week of fasting and praying didn't immediately change my finances or my circumstances.  It changed me.  Peace parked itself in my heart.  I knew it had done an obvious work when a man commented to his wife that a change had come over me.  He didn't know what had happened, but I seemed more at peace.

I know fasting is powerful.  If you have something challenging your life, I encourage you to fast and pray.  I know some people can't fast from food because of health issues, but you can fast from things like television or the internet...or something else important to you.  It's coming to God and saying, "I'm overwhelmed! And this is so important to me, I want to make this sacrifice so you know exactly how weighty this thing is to me."  Kings in the Old Testament declared fasts to save their countries from the enemy.  They also called their people to a fast to repent from their sin.   Fasting may not immediately change your circumstances, but I can promise you that you will be changed.  But then may change your circumstances!

I've fasted since then.  I was called by God to fast for a young woman who'd had several miscarriages and was pregnant again.  I fasted one day a week throughout her pregnancy--and she delivered a healthy baby boy.  I've fasted for friends and family who were sick.  I've fasted for a prodigal son...and God brought him home.  I am telling is POWERFUL!  No wonder God tells us that some demons can't be cast out except by fasting and praying.  (Matthew 17:14-21)  I encourage you to try it.  Take your overwhelming needs to God.  You might want to start by fasting one meal and spending that time praying.  Build up to fasting and praying one day...two days...or seven days or more.  Try it and let me know what God does.

*Breakfast took on a whole new meaning to me at the end of those seven days.  I'd never known til then that breakfast was actually a word to signify the end of a fast.  Break-fast.  We break our fast by eating...breakfast.

No comments: