I’m convinced that fasting and prayer and the Word go hand in hand. Fasting alone could turn into a joyless self-discipline effort that causes the person fasting to notice all she is giving up, all she is sacrificing, all she is missing out on – and that doesn’t seem to bring God much glory or make much of a difference in the person’s life.
But when we combine fasting with prayer and the Word of God – then we have potential for some powerful results. I was thinking this morning about some of the results I’m finding in these first days of our church-wide fast:
A greater reliance on God. Experiencing hunger pains and the weakness of not eating and the resultant tendency to irritability and impatience is pushing me to cry out to my Savior for strength and patience and kindness to flow from His heart to mine. So many times, especially the first three days, I’ve been on the verge of tears, pleading, “Lord, please help me right now. I need you desperately. I can’t do this by myself. Come, Holy Spirit, and meet me at my point of need RIGHT NOW.” And He has done just that every hour beginning early Thursday morning when I slipped out of bed and knelt before Him in submission and surrender.
An increasing sense of intimacy. Because the physical body is making itself so known, and pushing me toward continual prayer, I’m finding an even greater sense of intimacy with the Lord. It’s reminds me of those times when I spend extra time with John, focusing on him, I often end up FEELING closer to him. I’m thinking about my Savior continually because I’m praying continually, so I’m experiencing a greater sense of intimacy with Him.
A greater hope that my prayers are going to be answered. I entered this fast with three heart-felt prayers:
For the salvation of people I love the most
For revival for our church
For miracles that bring glory to God
As I’m fasting and praying, there seems to be deep inside me a sense of expectancy and anticipation that all-mighty God is working RIGHT NOW in those areas, even when I cannot see His hand or His activity. It seems that my own faith is growing.
His Word is living and active as I open it up. I’m studying Ezra and Nehemiah and Haggai right now – three books of the Old Testament that you might think wouldn’t be jumping off the pages in relevancy to me. But the opposite is true! I’m overwhelmed at how much I’m getting from these books.
And finally, since yesterday’s encounter with the Lord where He rebuked me for my lack of joy and my focus on myself, I’ve been experiencing a measure of joy. Only He could have done that in me!
Yep, combining fasting, prayer and the Word is having an impact on my life. And I’m not even half-way through it yet. Wonder what else He will be teaching me.
In closing, I pray the words of the song I sang so often years ago:
Speak, Lord, in the stillness, while I wait on Thee. Hushed, my heart to listen. In expectancy.
(And by the way, I’m also getting more sleep. Since I’m fasting from almost all TV, and since I’m weakened by lack of food, I’m ready to go to bed by 9:00! Didn’t expect that one! )