A Forgotten Joy: Exercise of the Spiritual Disciplines--Fasting & Prayer

posted by Jeffrey on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 at 8:38 PM

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"Fasting?? What's that? Isn't that something Buddhist monks do or something??" Well yeah, it is actually, and perhaps we should learn a lesson from their devotion in this practice. Fasting is an incredible privilege available for anyone to partake of, but few seldom do. Unfortunately, a large percentage of those who do engage in this ancient form of communication with God may do so with wrong motives and expectations. Fasting isn't a way to manipulate or persuade God to do a certain thing (He does more than we could ever ask already), it is a humbleness of one's own soul as we deny ourselves those things (traditionally food) that give us sustenance--our vices, if you will. As we deny ourselves these comforts, we do not do so in pride or ignorance, but to understand this transcendent God and that His very Words, even His very presence is what sustains us!!

Fasting is a way for we as finite human beings living in 2005 to not only let go the reins of control, but to realize we never had control to begin with--it is the God who spoke the universe into creation who desires to commune with us and take our minds to new levels of understanding and conversation--if we would only respond to Him! This painting beautifully illustrates the distraction and difficulty sometimes involved with entering into conversation with God--perhaps a fast (maybe coupled with some solitude & silence) is just what we need to slow down and relax so that we may hear the very voice of God and see Him exalt His name among the nations!

"Prayer Focus" by Cornelis Monsama, expressionist Painter.
"Sometimes there is the struggle to enter the prayer gate. We have to fight ourselves to maintain the prayer focus needed to enter into the prayer place."


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