Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What is a Fast?

"A fast is the self-denial of normal necessities in order to intentionally attend to God in prayer.  Bringing attachments and cravings to the surface opens a place for prayer.  This physical awareness of emptiness is the reminder to turn to Jesus who alone can satisfy."
--Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, by Adele Calhoun

Fasting is simply this:  Giving up something that is a normal part of our routine, in order to make time and space for God.

Maybe for you, it is giving up lunch, or meat, or caffeine... Maybe instead of eating lunch, you spend the time in prayer and scripture reading and donate the money you would have used for the food to a charity.  Maybe when you're craving a burger, you take a moment to give thanks to God for what you have, and have some pasta instead.  Maybe, as your craving for caffeine intensifies, you find yourself leaning on prayer to get you through the craving...

Maybe it's TV or video games, watching the news at all hours, or tending to your social networks online...  Maybe you give these things up one day a week, or a couple of hours a day.  I used to have the TV on in morning - and would get side-tracked from my reading and prayer time, it would interfere with exercising, and slow me down when getting ready for work.  As I've been fasting TV in the mornings since the beginning of Lent, my mornings are more focused, relaxed, and allow for more time with God.

There is no one way to fast.  A fast may look different for each of us.  It is not just about food.  And it shouldn't be about making ourselves miserable...  In fact, the Bible says we are not to be miserable when fasting, because, in point of fact, we are not miserable.  We are feeding on God.  It should be an exercise in joy and freedom!

And so, we continue to learn and grow and experiment with what fasting means for each of us...

No comments:

Post a Comment