Our Thursday home group has been discussing the spiritual discipline of fasting in recent weeks. We have decided as a group to fast together on Wednesdays (or Thursdays, if work prohibits on Wednesdays) during the Lenten season, which starts this Wednesday, 14. February (Ash Wednesday) and runs through the last week of March. We will generally abstain from food during the daylight hours of the fast day. (I think some may be starting their fast at sun down the day before, and some are doing only a partial fast.)
Please feel free to join us in this discipline. It is our hope that by fasting, we might focus and sharpen our prayers–the idea being, that every time you feel hunger during the day, it is a reminder to pray. This first week we are praying especially for our families and for our church family.
Obviously, if you are working, you probably will not be able to pray more than a sentence or two whenever your stomach growls, but if you normally eat breakfast or take a lunch break, the minutes you would normally be eating could be devoted to prayer.
Many get frustrated by the hunger pangs that come with fasting, but the discomfort of hunger is actually the point, because it is what reminds us of our purpose. It reminds us that we depend upon God to sustain us, and it also provides an opportunity to consider what it means to hunger after God and His righteousness.
Remember that fasting (and the other disciplines) are not done to earn “points” with God. They are responses of faith toward the grace God has extended to us, and they put us in the “path” of receiving more grace.
May God sustain and bless us during this season as together we fast and pray.
The Lord be with you!
P.S. Another tradition we discussed that many observe during this season is the “giving up” of something for Lent. For example, you might consider giving up coffee or Facebook or TV during the 40 days of Lent. You might consider giving up something that you know has taken over too much of your time, and see if going without it for 40 days doesn’t help you bring it back under control.
P.S.S. We will be discussing our experiences on Thursday nights at Home Group. Hope to see you there!