Are you smart enough to design, create, and guide an entire life? I’m not. Therefore, I am extremely thankful for God’s guidance. The Psalmist’s leading/guiding terminology in the 23rd Psalm is insightful.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Fasting is one of the strangest phenomena in the Christian devotional life. It is fair to say that I have read thousands of pages about fasting and I am still not sure why God chose fasting. But He did. Maybe it is a reversal of Adam and Eve’s sinful eating? No one seems to know for sure.
Going without food for a short amount of time has documented health benefits for those approved for fasting by their medical professionals. The spiritual benefits, for a Christian who accompanies the fast with prayer, reflection, and devotion, are more difficult to quantify but of great value.
There is also the matter of fasting and privacy. Jesus, in Matthew 6, places strong emphasis upon private and secret fasting. Does the secret fasting of Matthew 6 make the public fasts of the Bible obsolete? The short answer, from my perspective, is no. Public fasts are as valid today as they were in Bible days, after all, Jesus’ forty day fast must have been a bit public or the authors of Scripture wouldn’t have known about it.
The MCA Church Annual Fast can have both public and secret elements.
Back to God’s guidance. A public and secret fast that is not guided by God is mostly an effort in hunger. It is in the guidance of God that our fasting is given direction, meaning, and sustenance.
Through prayer I feel led, on the public side of the fast, to eliminate two of my most loved food items; bread and caffeine. Caffeine just seems a good thing to fast. Bread, on the other hand, came to me while reading the verse, “Man shall not live by bread alone…” It seemed that the Spirit nudged me, “Live without bread for a season.” Pray for me, because bread is my one food essential. I eat bread at nearly every meal.
It is a good feeling to have a sense of God’s guidance for fasting and prayer. Our Annual Church Fast begins on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 and concludes on Resurrection Sunday, April 20th.
Ask God and as the Great Shepherd He will guide you.