Monday, February 11, 2013

30 Day Course on Faith - Day 11

Faith and Fasting

When we add fasting to prayer, we increase our faith and our spiritual power.  Sometimes the answer comes the first time we fast and pray; sometimes we need to fast and pray many times to get our answer or to get the results we are looking for.

The story of Esther in the Old Testament is a great example of someone who uses fasting to help in a difficult situation. 

Esther is chosen by King Ahasuerus to be his queen; it is unknown to the king that Esther is a Jew.  Haman, the chief priest in the king’s court, convinced the king that there were “certain people” that would not obey the king’s law and should be destroyed.  The “certain people” Haman is referring to are the Jews, and Esther’s relative, Mordecai, appeals to Esther to help save her people.

It is against the law for anyone – even the queen herself – to go unbidden in to the inner court of the king.  If the king doesn’t hold out his golden scepter, then it is punishable by death.  It has been 30 days since the king has called for Queen Esther so she doesn’t have any reason to believe he will be happy to see her.  On the other hand, if she doesn’t do anything, her people will be destroyed.

Esther understood the importance of fasting when facing a difficult challenge.  Through a servant she sends this response back to Mordecai:

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:16)

When Esther goes in to see the king, he does extend the golden scepter, and she is ultimately instrumental in saving her people. Esther, through fasting, faith, and courage, saved a nation.

While you may or may not be called on to save a nation, there are many times when you may need some extra guidance or courage to get through a difficult time in your life.  Here is an example of how I have used fasting in my own life to increase my faith and help me know what to do:

When we had our first child, my greatest desire was to be a stay-at-home mom.  I quit my job a few weeks before he was born and was so happy to be living what I thought was the dream life!  It didn’t take very long for that dream to be crushed as I realized that we didn’t make enough money to meet all our needs every month.  We were still fairly fresh out of college, and my husband wasn’t quite making enough money to meet all our financial obligations.  I was devastated!

Fortunately, in my devastation I turned to God.  I took verse 29 to heart, and I fasted and prayed to know what I could do to be a stay-at-home mom.  Two days after my fast, I received a phone call from a friend.  She was looking for someone to watch her 9-month-old while she worked and wanted to know if I was interested.  My son was 6 months old at the time, and I felt a little overwhelmed at the thought of caring for two young children.  But I couldn’t deny that this was an answer to my fasting and prayer (the amount she offered to pay me was the exact amount that we needed each month to make ends meet).  I expressed my concerns to her and we agreed that I would do it on a trial basis, and if I felt like it was too much for me to watch both children, then she would find someone else to watch her daughter.

To make a potentially longer story shorter, watching her daughter was not only the answer to the prayer I had asked, but was also the answer to prayers I hadn’t even asked yet.  Our two children became best friends and were a positive influence on each other in ways we could not have foreseen!

I know that fasting, coupled with my strong desire to find the solution so I could remain home with my child, brought me a fast answer.

Most religions practice some form of fasting.  I would encourage you to experiment with this in a way that feels comfortable to you.  Be sure to begin and end your fast with a faithful prayer.

Daily Challenge: Every day for 30 days in a row, I want you to say the following out loud at least 10 times each day!!!  Be sure to say it cheerfully and enthusiastically!  This scripture is found in Philippians 4:13:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” 

You've now completed this challenge eleven days in a row! 
Be sure to congratulate yourself for a job well done! 

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