How often do you pray? Do you pray at a specific time each day? How much time do you spend praying? How do you feel about fasting? Have you ever fasted for a specific purpose? Have you combined prayer and fasting?
Many of us know about prayer. We likely pray, minimally, when we are in need. Some of us may set aside time each day for prayer. I suspect there are not many of us who fast regularly. Some of us may have fasted on occasion.
Fasting and praying was a key part of the early Christian church. It was a key part of Jewish traditions. I’m sure many will ask what fasting really does for us. They are thinking of not eating. However, fasting can include ceasing from any number of things, not just food. Yet, it was most often food the Jews and early Christians fasted from.
Fasting has an effect on us physically, mentally, and spiritually. The physical effects of going without food are obvious. The mental effects are more obvious in some than others, especially if the person fasting gets hangry. The spiritual effects can be less obvious. The purpose of fasting is to give up something you depend on and, instead, depend on God. That means, if you are giving up food for a period of time, you rely on God to sustain you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Fasting is to be combined with prayer.
While fasting, the time you would normally spend eating should be spent praying. If you are giving up social media, spend the time in prayer rather than on your phone or tablet or computer. If you are giving up chocolate, each time you want chocolate, spend some time in prayer.
Fasting and praying was often a tactic of the early church to seek answers from God. As seen in today’s passage, God will speak to us when we truly seek Him, which means we must enter into the time of fasting and prayer with our mind set on focusing on God.
I pray we all spend time fasting and praying. I pray we commit to focusing on God. I pray each one of us use fasting and praying to seek guidance from God, especially when in need. Give fasting a try. Spend time in prayer. Depend on God. Seek His guidance. Focus on Him.
Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.