Flowing Faith

Could Fasting Be a Blessing?

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what if fasting is a blessingWhat if fasting is a blessing?  The early church put fasting and prayer together as ways of seeking God’s guidance. Why don’t we?

So they commissioned them. In that circle of intensity and obedience, of fasting and praying, they laid hands on their heads and sent them off. (Acts 13:3, MSG)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his famous book Cost of Discipleship reminds us of the importance of fasting as a part of discipleship ” If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh (taking care of course to keep within the limits of what seems permissible to the world), we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ. When the flesh is satisfied it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote oneself to a life of service which calls for much self-renunciation.”

Fasting can help us to put God first in our life. Fasting can help us to hear God’s voice in the noisy world. Fasting can help us to dedicate our life to serving Christ.

With the words of Andrew Murray “Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

Fasting can help us to focus on God, not on our wants. Fasting can help us confirm our total submission to God. Fasting can help us to self-empty ourselves of ourselves, make room for God.

John Piper asks “Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting.”

Why don’t we fast indeed? What are our excuses? Mine are pretty lame anyway. Hence I give them up and, by God’s grace, start fasting. You know, John the Baptist  who said He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]” (John 3:30, AMP) was not a stranger to fasting either. And even Jesus himself fasted.

Are we ready to follow? Are we ready to let Jesus grow more prominent in our lives? Are we ready to receive blessings upon blessings?

 

Gracious God,
We want to follow you
but we don’t know how.
We want to fast like you
but we don’t know how.
Show us, lead us, enable us.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: How have you fasted? Has it helped you to self-empty yourself of yourself? What are your thoughts/questions/experiences of fasting?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you pray and fast on your faith journey!

Image courtesy of Jackie Almond, design Mari-Anna Stålnacke. Linking up today with Thought-Provoking Thursday, Faith-filled Fridays.

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  • Nannette Elkins

    I just came off of an extended fast…a first for me. I have done one and two day fasts in the past but never nothing like this. I was desperate! I cannot tell you what it did for me. It wasn’t necessarily DURING the fast though, and so much that I read said it might not be so…my answers were AFTER. But God was with me every day. It became easier and easier every day as far as the longing for food. Crazy things happen to your body but what happens to your mind and spirit are worth what you go through in your body :) Now to make it a regular part of my life…

    Thank you for the post. If Jesus and the disciples thought it important enough to mention it as a PARTNER with prayer, shouldn’t we?

    Blessings!

    • http://www.flowingfaith.com Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke

      Thanks so much, Nannette, for sharing your experiences. I agree fasting gets easier and easier with time. May God continue to bless you on your faith journey!