Fasting is something that was brand new to me when we first hear about the Daniel Fast at Saint James. Growing up, church had to be out by noon or else people started getting restless they were going to be at the end of the line at the S&S cafeteria and they may run out of fried chicken. As you can imagine, there was definitely no talk about fasting, you just didn't mess with a man's food.
The very first time someone asked me about fasting I believe my exact words were "We don't do that." Yep, I was not really willing to push the boundaries of where I would let God in. I mean we were already giving money to the church and now He wants my food too?
Since then, I have learn much more about fasting. Fasting is a spiritual discipline just like praying, studying the Word and tithing. All of those things are like spiritual "work-out plans" to whip our relationship with Jesus into shape. Things we decide to do when we truly desire a deeper relationship with Jesus. You don't just wake up one day and decide to do a triathlon that weekend. It takes months of training and practice for your body to be ready to compete. Fasting is one of the tools we have that helps us train and practice hearing from God.
The first fast I seriously devoted myself to, Ann Pemberton gave me the advice to ask God for a word to be fasting for. I did pray for a word and prayed extra that I would actually be able to receive the word God wanted me to hear--that it wouldn't get lost on the way.
It came quietly as we were traveling for Christmas. I was mulling over and talking to my husband about all the things I wanted for the next year. "Clarity" rang out in my head as we were cruising down the interstate. It was the perfect word for the several big things I was preparing for that year. One of which was deciding what school our daughter would be going to for Kindergarten. So I devoted myself to fasting and praying for clarity on several issues.
It just so happened that all the schools open houses were in the three weeks of our fast. As we attended the first open house the headmaster used the word 'clarity'. I looked at my husband in shock. As the Lower School principal spoke she used the phrase "clear eyes." At that point my eyes started misting up and my heart started pounding. Lastly, when we were in the kindergarten classroom, the teacher talked about having clarity when we make our decision. Well, I could have about fallen out of that tiny school chair right there! It was apparent to me that God was using the word He gave me to show me where we should send our daughter.
Being intentional in fasting has helped me to hear from God in new and deeper ways. It was more about me drawing closer to Jesus than it was about the food or about not eating something. Consider fasting as a way for you to begin your new year by deepening your connection and relationship with Christ.
~ Stephanie Donovan ~