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Women Living Well Blog: Fasting and Prayer

Women Living Well Blog

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fasting and Prayer

So this week I have focused on taking care of your temple - your body - and today I want to address fasting - which is a spiritual discipline that feeds your soul while you starve your body - it's a mystery how it works! You replace meal time with prayer time and each time your mind signals - "I want food" - you let that be a signal to pray. So a day of fasting equals a day of fervent prayer.

Fasting is something that I rarely hear discussed in church so I had to do a little research to learn how to do it. Dee Brestin has a book titled "A Woman of Moderation" that has been very insightful if you are looking for some help in this area. Also, John Piper has a book titled "A Hunger for God" which is all about fasting and can be downloaded for free by clicking on this link.

Here's what he says on page 20: "When midmorning comes and you want food so badly that the thought of lunch becomes as sweet as summer vacation, then suddenly you realize, "Oh, I forgot, I made a commitment. I can't have that pleasure. I'm fasting for lunch too." Then what are you going to do with all the unhappiness inside? Formerly, you blocked it out with the hope of a tasty lunch. The hope of food gave you the good feelings to balance out the bad feelings. But now the balance is off. You must find another way to deal with it.

At these points we really begin to discover what our spiritual resources are. The things I discover about my soul are so valuable for the fight of faith...I almost subtitled this book: Fasting - the Hungry Handmaid of Faith. What a servant she is! Humbly and quietly, with scarcely a movement, she brings up out of the dark places of my soul the dissatisfaction's in relationships, the frustrations of the ministry, the fears of failure, the emptiness of wasted time. And just when my heart begins to retreat to the delicious hope of eating supper with friends at Pizza Hut, she quietly reminds me: not tonight. It can be a devastating experience at first.

Will I find spiritual communion with God sweet enough, and hope in his promises deep enough, not just to cope, but to flourish and rejoice in him? Or will I rationalize away my need to fast and retreat to the mediation of food? The apostle Paul said "I will not be mastered by anything." (I Corinthians 6:12) Fasting reveals the measure of foods mastery over us - or television or computers or whatever we submit to again and again to conceal the weakness of our hunger for God"

If you've never fasted before - (and you aren't pregnant, nursing or suffering from a medical condition which would not allow you to fast) then consider - one 24 hour period of fasting. When I fast I go from sundown to sundown. So I eat my "last supper" around 5pm and then I don't eat again until the next evening at 6pm. Enjoy a day of fervent prayer and allow God to be your portion and strength.

Walk with the King!

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Blogger Jamie said...

Our church just did a whole series on Fasting. We as a church fasted together and it was amazing. I have never heard so many amazing stories for the same time period where God moved in so many lives. This was an awesome post.


January 30, 2009 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Thanks Jamie and it's great to hear that your church has focused on this discipline! Americans are so into having what we want, when we want it, that it's hard to deny ourselves - even for just one day! But when we deny ourselves - that is when we find ourselves strangely more fulfilled than before!

January 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Mel ~ said...

I was searching online for blogs about fasting and came upon yours. I just started a fast on Sunday night at 9pm. So far, so good. I want to try and fast until Thanksgiving Day, but I fear I won't be able to go that long. I have accountability/prayer partners (who just finished 40 day fasts themselves!) but would love extra prayers if you have a moment! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

November 3, 2009 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Wow! That is a very long fast - till Thanksgiving! I just said a prayer for you. May this time be special and a blessing in your life.

God Bless!

November 4, 2009 at 9:02 PM  

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