Happy Friday Family,
I was a youth pastor in a beautiful small South Georgia city at Evangel Church. One afternoon while out for on a run it dawned on me that God had saved me spirit, soul, and body. I had been given new life through faith in Jesus Christ. My sins were forgiven. I was healthy and running on Lakeland Avenue. And it was with all of me that I wanted to know and serve the Lord! It was customary to think of Jesus saving our soul. But that day it dawned on me, he had saved all of me. In giving me new life, He changed me (my desires, dreams, longings, education, calling, everything)! How wonderful this life with Jesus and the Church has been! I’m ever grateful. Even writing this just now, I laugh with delight and thanksgiving at the goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe that I can say honestly, I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Just as honestly, I can also say I hunger for Him with all of life as well. It is why, I’m grateful for the call to fast and pray. The hunger that I experience reminds me that only Jesus can satisfy the deepest longings of my whole life. Pastor John Piper wrote these words, in A Hunger For God, speaking of the leadership of the early church. “They were hungry enough for God’s leading that they wanted to say it with the hunger of their bodies and not just the hunger of their hearts.” Get it? The hunger of their bodies as well as their hearts. Something about fasting and prayer enlarges our heart for more of God’s grace.
Perhaps you are not hungering for more of God but you want Him to be the greatest desire of your life. Ask God to give you strength and change your heart. He delights in those kinds of prayers because they are prayed in faith. Then prayerfully offer something up to God to abstain from now through Good Friday. In giving to God he always gives back to you. So try not to think so much of what you are fasting from or giving up. Instead remember that when done with the right attitude of worship, God will always pour back into your life what you give to Him. After all what greater gift can we possibly desire than to know and enjoy Him forever.
We fast for various reasons, because we long for a deeper relationship with Christ, for direction, and sometimes in response to an event like illness, tragedy, or death. Praying and fasting in the Bible brought tremendous results.
Jesus fasted and prayed, and so did the early church. It is a spiritual discipline that I’m grateful for because of the object of my fast, Jesus! The more I pray and fast the easier it becomes. The less I pray and fast the more difficult it becomes.
During this 40 days some in our congregation choose a day to fast from food but not liquids. Some will fast a meal, or give up something they enjoy in order to remind them that only Jesus can truly satisfy their longings.
If you have never fasted before start with spending your lunch break with your Bible and pray. Or give up social media for a week. But in all things look for the grace that God will give you while you seek Him. He will!