“I used to fast with my mom.”
That’s what I quietly told my husband during church when the preacher talked about fasting the first time in January.
He nodded politely at me when I said it, as he does when he’s trying to concentrate on the sermon.
‘…But I really did fast with my mom.’ I thought. She’s the one who taught me how to do it, but I really didn’t focus on anything or concentrate on anything when we did it. I just learned to pray, usually about something specific that we had a need for.
Just in case I haven’t made myself clear, when I state “fast” I mean that we skipped a meal, or two, or purposely not eat for a few days.
When I was younger and would fast, it would usually be for something I needed. Or something that was concerning me.
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The preacher of our church asked us to fast for 24-hours as part of a “Spiritual Arsenal” series he was teaching on during the month of January.
A link to his blog post about the subject and his thoughts are here:
A link to his sermon about the subject is here:
Essentially what we were to do was to fast for 24-hours, and during the sermon he asked us to fast on a normal work day, either Thursday, January 28th, or Friday, January 29th. He asked that we consider it worship while we fast, and listen to what the Lord is telling us during that time. We had a hashtag created for photos (#ccofcfasts) taken during the time and afterwards, and the preacher asked that we break the fast with fellow members (family and friends) and discuss questions about our experience.
Here were his questions:
(1) What was it like to go without food for 24 hours? Was it easy?
(2) Share about a moment when you were tempted to cheat-or cheated.
(3) When you felt hungry, did you pause to pray & listen to God? What was that like?
(4) What thoughts or feelings came to mind as you prayed & reflected?
(5) Do you feel encouraged?
(6) Is this something you’d do again?
My husband and I decided on Thursday as our day of fast, and we started after dinner on Wednesday at 630 PM. This meant that we weren’t going to eat anything until after 630 PM on Thursday. I considered my running schedule while picking this day, as I wanted to eat the night before running, and eat after my run, and I run on Friday mornings. See my half-marathon training plan if you want to know more about this.
A photo of the “last meal” (on Wednesday) is shown above, and I had picked pork chops, green beans and brown rice. I also ensured to have a bit of almond butter as that is my current substitute for dessert.
That evening, although I wasn’t’ hungry, I was consciously aware that I wanted a snack, preferably peanut butter. I intentionally did not get up to get it, but I found myself acknowledging my craving, yet not being hungry.
I was running late in the morning so skipping breakfast was really easy the next day!
But come 10 AM, break time at work and my time I usually have a snack, I heard my stomach audibly growl. I took the time to fill my coffee cup, drink some water, write some notes down about this experience and pray.
My husband checked in on me, and here’s how our conversation went:
The prayer I wrote down in my notes was “Lord, what is it that you want me to focus my prayer on?”
I kept busy during my hunger pangs.
At lunch, I sent my husband this text and as always, he has a quick wit and made me LOL!
So during lunch, I typed up this blog post, while listening to Jason’s sermon about Fasting.
During the sermon he states the following things that hit me across the head like a brick thrown at me (and I am paraphrasing) –
God tends to show us a real need where we are needy.
The work of the Lord is the real need.
God can speak to us when we are needy.
Did you get hit across the head too?
Jason also goes into how sometimes we don’t like being quiet and needy (and not busy). Sometimes – we’re too scared to find out the problems we have inside.
My confession – I stayed busy. I admit it.
I was scared what the Lord would tell me.
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I got through the rest of the day, asking the Lord what to pray for.
As my stomach systematically reminded me that I haven’t eaten since the night before, I closed my eyes and put my head on the back of my chair in my office to focus and pray.
My answers came in waves as I prayed, and I wrote them down in the order I got the thoughts about what and who to pray for.
Pray for Sebastian (my new supervisor);
Jim (his supervisor).
It’s not about me.
Giving Him glory.
After work, I left with a co-worker and we walked together to the parking structure I park in. During that time, we somehow got into the conversation of how I was surprised how I liked my forced hour-long lunch. My exercise now consisted of running in the morning even though I couldn’t go to a personal trainer anymore, and I enjoyed the time in the morning with my children that I didn’t have before because I left so early with my previous schedule. I told him that other than the complaints everyone else has about the work environment, I really couldn’t complain about the change for me.
I said “Good bye”to my co-worker and walked to the car in the parking structure.
When I got settled into the seat of my car, ready to go …
It hit me.
That’s what The Lord was trying to tell me.
Pray for those supervisors and the work environment.
It’s not about me.
Be thankful He’s in charge.
Give Him the glory for knowing what’s best for me and my family.
Everything in the last hour and a half or so before I was ‘scheduled’ to start eating again was what I was I needed to hear/feel/pray for. I felt the clarity of my situation and what He has done for me really set in. What I told my co-worker was what I needed to hear.
As far as the questions, I think I answered some of them in this post.
Would I do this again?
Yes. But – My longer answer is this – I really like doing things like this with other believers. That’s the part that made this special to me. Other people I knew were praying during their hunger pangs and not eating at the same time I was.
I felt very encouraged by the preachers personal posts on Facebook, and several others who were going through the fast on the same day we were.
I was also encouraged the next day when we saw many of our personal friends at a house gathering to discuss what happened to us. Hearing their stories made me feel like we are were all bonded through this and I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how that feels.
It’s just awesome.
I hope this post encourages you to try something new for the Lord, even if it’s not fasting. Worship can come in many different shapes, sizes and forms, and this was definitely a time to get closer to Him and listen during those tiny times of peace and reflection. I can’t believe when it “occurred” to me in such a small window of time and after I had to hear myself explain it to someone else.
But that’s just me.
I’d love to hear your story!