Ann Farabee: Fast and pray
Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 18, 2023
By Ann Farabee
Fasting is not a topic I have ever chosen to write or talk about.
If I were to score myself on fasting, I would give myself a score of zero. I did fast technology — including cell phones — for a few days, and one time I actually fasted food one day a week for several weeks.
When the suggestion would come up, I have normally tended to go with an excuse for not participating.
Verses about fasting have been read in church services I have been in, but rarely as the main part of that passage for the message on that particular day, so I could easily ignore it.
I guess I could call myself a fasting failure, a fasting flunk-out or a fasting fizzle-outer.
Sure — I have my excuses, I mean, my reasons.
- I will get sick if I fast.
- I will be cranky if I fast.
- I have to prepare food for my family anyway, so it would be hard to fast.
I like food. It’s a highlight of my day. My days are built around when it’s time to eat again, and those who know me well can concur.
Food comforts me and makes me happy.
But, a few years ago when I was going through one of the darkest, deepest and most stressful periods in my life, there were days I had no ability to pray. It was then that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and sent me a three-word reminder that I could not ignore: fast and pray. It was not just once, but over and over in my head until I understood. I needed to fast and pray.
Matthew 17:21 says, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” This kind of what? What was it talking about? The previous verse tells us that if we have the faith as a grain of mustard seed, we can move mountains and that nothing will be impossible unto us. I needed this kind of faith.
So I did it. My situation that I needed God to guide me through was personal, and my fasting and prayer was personal, too. Every time I felt my stomach begin to growl, I made sure to pray specifically for my need. When I would feel the rumblings of hunger, I would pray and read God’s Word. I would lay on my bed, cover myself with a blanket and ask the Lord to hold me as I prayed. It was intimate. It was personal. It was “God and me” time.
The hunger was enough of a distraction to get my mind off my regular routine and focus on my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Have you ever been somewhere so beautiful and experienced something so amazing that you told others, “I wish I had the words, but I don’t?”
Not only is that how it felt, but that is still how it feels when entering into a time of intimacy with Jesus.
Fast and pray — it is worth it.
Ann Farabee is a teacher, writer and speaker. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or annfarabee.com.