Thursday, October 18, 2012


       I have been meditating on the meaning of, and need for, fasting in the last few weeks because several ministries have called for prayer and fasting for our nation before the Presidential election on Nov. 6.  I know that we can't get things from God by fasting.  It is not a way to "twist His arm".  Some have said it is a way of getting close to God because it removes things of the world from our lives for a time so that we can focus more on God.  I'm sure this is true for many, but for me I've never seen a great correlation between when I fast to sensing God's presence in a greater measure.  As I've heard several say, "When I fast, I don't feel closer to God, I only feel hungry."
       But since I feel this election is so important, and just in case adding my fasting could help to make a difference I decided to fast breakfast for these 40 days prior to the election.  This morning as I was rededicating this time and reminding the Lord He is welcome to use it in any way He sees fit, the thought occurred to me that fasting is a sacrifice of praise, a way to place God in the highest place in my life--above food, above money, above my time.   Matthew 6 came to mind where Jesus included giving, praying and fasting in the same chapter with the same emphasis.

  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 

17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    All of these are sacrifices, or rather, offerings to God.  I don't know why I am so slow to learn, but for me, recognizing fasting as an offering makes it much more enjoyable.
     (Of course, I realize that by telling you I'm fasting breakfasts, I may have lost all rewards--see verse 18.   I'm willing to take that chance though, because if you have been confused about fasting as I have been, you may have not seen it as the great opportunity and privilege that it is--just as giving and prayer are.)
      I love to give offerings to the Lord.  I love to please Him.  I just hadn't seen fasting in that light.  I've questioned what good fasting could be doing spiritually because I saw no immediate, or apparent results. (Do we always see immediate and apparent results to giving and praying?) Therefore it seemed so useless.  But if I realize I am pleasing God with a sacrifice of praise then it becomes meaningful and even enjoyable.  If I remember Him every time I'm hungry, it also causes me to draw near to Him more often throughout the fast.  Whoever thought of a growling stomach as a call to prayer and remembrance?
     Isn't God amazing!!  Just as He says, He uses all things to work together for our good!  Even fasting!

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