Friday, September 23, 2011

Answered Prayer and Fasting

This last week, I took some serious time to pray. So serious that I fasted for a day and spent extra time reading the Psalms. The results I've seen make me want to share the experience with you so that you can consider the power of fasting and prayer. I guess I don't feel like we often come into contact with talk about fasting, in particular, and I wanted you to know that it can make a difference when it's done with the right motives.

First off, a lot of things went into the decision to forego food for what turned out to be more than twenty-four hours:
  • I wanted to humble myself. Not eating was a reminder that without God, I would not have food and would not even exist. I wanted to remember how dependent I am on God.
  • I wanted to remember to pray. Feeling hungry was a reminder to turn to God.
  • I wanted answers to my prayers about several problems in my life, but I didn't want just any answer. I wanted the right answer. I wanted God's answer, even if His answer wasn't going to be my first choice.
I didn't mention the decision to anyone but some close family and friends, who I asked to join me in prayer. Matthew 6:16-18 says, "And when you do fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you." (NLT) Interesting that he says "when you fast" and not "if." Also, he says there's a reward for fasting if you go about it correctly.

At the end of the day, when I got in bed, I took a notebook with me and wrote out what turned out to be a two-page prayer. Again, I wrote it out to focus my thoughts and dedicate myself to praying. A couple spontaneous prayer requests wormed their way into my writing. One of those requests has already been answered in a very direct way, so I'm left to believe that I was led by the Spirit to write it out. Another request (this one not spontaneous, but, rather, heavy on my mind when I made the decision to fast), was also answered with a complete change of heart in someone else that I can only trust God to have orchestrated.

I'm sorry that I have to be so vague about what I prayed for and the answers I've received so far, but I hope that despite that, it's clear that two prayers were specifically and quickly answered. Granted, I'm still waiting on a number of other answers, but these first two are a reminder that God is good, present, active, and interested in me and my life. And now, as I close this, my prayer is that, in some way, you will be shown the same miracle of grace and love.

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