Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's in a fast?

I fasted once.  It was toward the tail-end of being in high school.  It was a full three days off by myself.

Super-spiritual huh?

But the problem was, it wasn't super-spiritual.  I'm not even sure it was quasi-spiritual.  Reflecting back, I can't think of one lasting (or even short-term!) spiritual benefit that I derived from that time.

However, I've fasted twice this year (just skipping breakfast and lunch) and seen some huge spiritual benefits.  Here are some reasons why:
  • I fasted with other people.  Both times there was a group of 6 to 10 other people that were also forgoing food for a set amount of time.  The accountability and camaraderie were very helpful.
  • During each fast I had specific prayer requests in mind.  That way, any hunger I felt caused me to seek God in prayer.  (And I get hungry on normal days, so I was seeking God early and often on these days!)
  • I found the consistency of my prayers continued on later days when I went back to eating.  Just one day started to develop the habit of constant prayer in my life.
I remember after my three day fast I decided I probably wouldn't ever do it again.  But now that I've done these shorter fasts with the purpose of developing my prayer life, I plan on repeating them.

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