Did you click on my post because of the title? Give me a minute and I’ll explain.
Fasting is a Spiritual discipline that I am interested in but am NOT an expert on. From what I understand in scripture, people withheld food from themselves in order to pray. I guess there is something about suffering that focuses the mind, and lets Jesus know that you are serious.
But couldn’t fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? Does it have to be just food? Several years ago a beloved uncle was in the throws of cancer. He was riddled with it, and there was nothing left to do but pray. I found myself forgetting to remember him on certain days that I was consumed with my job and life. I DIDN’T WANT TO FORGET! So I devised a plan. I stopped painting my toenails. Hear me out y’all. In my part of Texas we wear sandals all the way up until winter. When I look at my toes, it makes me happy to see shiny, bright colors staring back at me. When they are not painted I cringe. (I know some of you are laughing…me too) These unpolished toes reminded me to pray. Not only that, but it reminded me that while I was living a perfectly healthy life, someone I loved was in agony.
And now, another person I love is in agony over an ongoing job situation. I should be praying for him daily, but I became frustrated when my prayers seemed tiny and brief. I wanted my prayers to be as big, and bold as my love. So I devised another fast, especially for this situation. I will continue this fast until a conclusion is reached. Since this fast is current, I will keep it private for now.
Jesus gave specific instructions for fasting.
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18 NLT
Did you notice that Jesus says WHEN YOU FAST. Not IF you fast.
Other ideas for long term fasting are: television, computer, phone activity (you could use it just to take calls), coffee (taking it black when you don’t usually would be a great fast), sodas, makeup, jeans, earrings, nail polish, even taking a different out of the way route home from work would be a great reminder to pray. Anything that could purposely cause you inconvenience. And by the way, if you recoiled when you read one of these ideas, and said to yourself you could never give up that particular item…I hate to tell you, but THAT’S the one you should go for first! It’s all about suffering y’all. Click here for Long Term Fasting Ideas printable PDF.
All of the above are long term fasts. There are times when immediate abstaining from food fasts are more appropriate. Big decisions, upcoming surgeries, safe travels, marriages are a few examples. In scripture there were times when fasting was done with a group. Once my sister and I fasted and prayed for a immediate need in her family. And on a side note, EVERY time I have abstained from food to pray I have received deep, powerful insights from the Holy Spirit. He is working with you, n sync with you while you suffer in prayer…bringing your groans to the Father. (Romans 8)
Be creative with your fasting y’all. Think outside of the box and become powerful prayer warriors. Blessings!
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