Praying and Fasting, Is This Something We Should Do?

 

praying hands

I have heard about the concept of prayer and fasting from scripture. I have witnessed people I know participate in this activity, annually for a specific length of time. I have never done this myself, however.  I have given up particular foods and such for lent. That was a type of fasting. But it wasn’t combined with prayer or intention.

Those who partake of this practice are convinced that it is a game changer for them. It bolsters their faith and enhances their spiritual growth. Some say it releases the power of God in a new way in their lives.  This year, the pastor of our church has given us a challenge to fast and pray for a 21 day period ending March 31.  The fasting doesn’t mean fast from all foods everyday. It can be whatever you choose. Fast from sun-up to sun-down. Or fast a particular meal or a particular food. Whatever it may be. But in conjunction with the fasting is the prayer. You don’t have to do it for a specific time frame. You can chose 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, whatever.

I have decided to do the 21 day fast. Since this process will be something new for me, I am seeking to gather information and guidance from scripture as well as others who have been doing this for a while.   Here are a few of the resources I am looking into to help me with this : Jentzen Franklin, Fasting,  John Piper,  A Hunger for God.  

While the fasting is going on, I am looking forward to the time spent in prayer. What will my prayers be at this time?  Will I indeed increase in faith?  I am hopeful that this will be an amazing spiritual time for me but at the same time, I am concerned if I will actually stick with it.  My motivation for things (especially pertaining to food) often wane over a short period of time.  I am planning on journaling as well during this time (another thing I have a hard time keeping up with). My fast will likely include skipping my evening snack (which has become a habit for me) or cutting out caffeine and chocolate, and I  will try to spend an allotted amount of prayer in its place.

With my new journey of trying to live life fearlessly, I am doing more and more to step out of my comfort zone. And I must say…this is one of those things. But with faith and trust in God, He will help me get through it and help me to  grow spiritually in the process.

Note: If you have health issues, please consult your doctor to be sure you fast in a way that is not harmful to you.

 

Doing Good for Others Provides Benefits for Us As Well

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was working on my Goals for the Month of January.  I had 3 goals in mind.

  1. Start up a Home Management Binder.   Did that.
  2. Start a new way to Save Money for Vacations.   Started that.
  3. Do 3 positive things to help others, habitually.  Ok…that one I am having a harder time with. I have decided on one of the things. Donate regularly to our church food bank.  But I still haven’t come up with the other 2 things. I am looking for inspiration.  Should it be something for a family member?  A friend? A stranger or an organization?

 

I just don’t know.  Until I figure something out, I will try to look for opportunities to be a blessing to those I come in contact with in some way. Whether it’s just saying something nice, flashing a smile or holding a door open.

I have heard numerous times that one way to help us to live our best lives is to be involved with others in a positive way. Give of ourselves to others. Time, money, encouragement, whatever it may be.  When we look for ways to be of service to others it takes the focus off of us and our problems, whether they are real or perceived. Doing good and helping someone else, blesses us as well as them.

Think about 2 people in your life who you could do something nice for.  The cashier at the grocery store who looks like she is having a bad day? Your sister-in-law who is struggling financially? Think of ways you can help them. Step out of your comfort zone and tell the cashier how much you like the necklace she has on. Or the color of her hair.  Give your sister-in-law some cash to help her out…a little or a lot…anonymously or upfront.  You get the picture.  Look for ways to do seemingly random acts of kindness.

By doing so, you step out of your comfort zone and work on living your life to the fullest. Making someone else’s day, makes your day too!

Adventurous? Who, Me?

No one who knows me would call me adventurous.  I have usually lived my life pretty safe.   I am not one who likes to try new things such as kayaking, zip-lining or even driving down a road I am not familiar with.  I think a part of me has always been that way, but in recent years, my living “close to the vest” as the old saying goes, is more prevalent.  I am not sure when I started to feel less in the mood to take a risk.  Don’t get me wrong, I have taken risks in my life and things have often gone well. But there are certain times I am extremely hesitant.  My recent struggles with anxiety have exacerbated this.

Where am I now?

I am at a point in my life now where I don’t want to live fearful anymore. I want to be more spontaneous and adventureous, fearless. I owe it to my husband, my family and most of all to myself. Looking back at my life I can see areas where I was willing to take a risk and areas where I definitely was not. It helps me at this stage to realize I have taken risks before and I can do it again. Even take new risks!

One example of a risk I took was agreeing to move out of state, away from family and begin a new life together with my husband.  I had barely traveled out of state let alone LIVED in another state.  At that time in my life, I was willing to do so.  We had a young child back then and our work options were limited. We needed a change. So we made the move. We did have one family member who lived in our new area. That did help put me at ease some.  As it turned out, this was the best move we could have made. We have been in Virginia for over 20 years now and definitely call it home.

Being somewhat shy and lacking self-confidence I often felt unsure of the choices I made.  I was nervous to step out of my comfort zone, but I now realize it was those very uncomfortable things that helped me grow professionally as well as personally. The growth allowed me to have enough confidence and faith to start my own very small business as well as a blog several years ago.

While I did have emotional setbacks, I feel that am on the other side of that now. I can see how God can use our struggles and our pain to first, strengthen our relationship with Him and second, to allow us to have greater compassion for others and use our experiences to help them carry on.

Moving Forward

I know I have missed out on things in my life because of my lack of “risk” taking and I don’t want to live that way anymore. Part of the reason for this blog in the first place is to help me and hopefully help you to live life to the fullest. To live fearlessly. I don’t mean live stupidly. But to be able to live a life that is unafraid. A big inspiration for this new perspective is the song, Fearless by Jasmine Murray.

I say that I trust that God has got my back, but am I living that out? I hope so. Maybe one day people will say that I am adventurous. Fearless, even.