Growling stomachs aide prayer
A friend of mine just completed a forty day fast. During the fast, he only had water and juices which he prepared with his kitchen blender. I was astonished. I have never researched fasting and really had not paid it much attention. When I asked why he did it, he was astonished that I knew nothing about it.
He is right that I do not know much about fasting. I assumed that it was a symbolic purification process. My take on it was that we had the flood for forty days in order to purify the world and rid it of the evil that existed on it. The Jewish nation wandered forty years in the desert to purify them in preparation for their entry into the Holy Land, and Jesus fasted for forty days in order to prepare Him for His sacrifice.
It would be illogical to assume that all of these forties are merely coincidental and I always have focused on discerning its meaning and not the fasting aspect. Of course I have read about fasting throughout the Bible but had really never taken note of it.
Maybe I should give it a go myself????
Yikes! Forty days would be an awful long time to go without my favorite meal, (hamburger, chili, sour pickle, chips, and a Coke).
According to the small amount of study that I have begun since talking to my buddy it seems that fasting is indeed a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21). King David said, “I humble myself through fasting.” It was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras. For example, Moses fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods. Jesus fasted 40 days and reminded His followers to fast, (“when” you fast,” not “if” you fast).
It is mentioned in the Book of Acts that believers fasted before they made any important decisions (Acts 13:4; 14:23). Fasting and prayer are generally mentioned together in the Bible and most holy men have been mentioned as fasting at one time or the other.
As best I can determine fasting has been mentioned in the Bible in a context that the best reason one should fast is to come closer to God and it seems to intensify our prayers. In other words we shouldn’t do it so we can appear righteous to our friends and acquaintances, (Jesus said this.) For those of us who are all porked up, we should not do it for the purpose of losing weight, (although logically anyone who fasts for any length of time will no doubt enjoy the dual benefit of shedding some blubber).
When the disciples could not exorcise a demon from someone, Jesus successfully did so and when His disciples asked Him why they could not cast it out, He answered in Matthew 17:19-21 below.
After reading this I might prepare myself mentally to give it a go. I would dearly love to draw closer to the Lord and pray more effectively. I think I might research how I can fast safely.
Hmmm Forty days seems like a long time without solid food I tell you. I hope the Lord does not mind the sound of my stomach growling.
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said,
“Why could we not cast it out?”
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief,
for assuredly I say to you,
if you had faith as a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there,’
and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
However this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”