What Can You Do Without
Too many times our prayers are about what we want from God. Even fasting has been used to prove our desperation. We hope God will take pity on us and give us what we want. But that’s backwards. Fasting demands that we put all our wants aside to want one thing: more of God. More of His wisdom. More of His Truth. More of His Spirit living in us.
When Jesus fasted, he feasted with his Father. He grew his appetite for His Father’s plan and methods. His Father’s greatest joys and deepest grief became his. While the beginning of a fast may make you more sensitive to what you are doing without, eventually your focus is less on without and more on with. The end of a fast demonstrates that God has more of you and you have more of God. At least it should.
While fasting is between you and God, it doesn’t have to be so secret there is no accountability. The emphasis on secret is to stress the opposite of showy behavior that Jesus called hypocrisy. Everyone knew when the Pharisees fasted: they were dramatic about it from their clothing to their countenance. But it’s always what’s in the heart, and their hearts were not tuned to God.
Fasting reveals the addictions that take you away from God’s resources for meeting needs you try to fill your way. Few people leave God’s need-meeting encounter saying, “I’d rather do it myself.” What happened to Jesus after his fast? The angels came. It was God’s reward. God knows how to make his presence known to you in a way you need Him the most. Let Him surprise you.
Consider a preparation plan that involves fasting. Give up one thing, activity or attitude that you know will make more room for God in your day and focus. Each pang of withdrawal is a reminder to give God more of your attention.