Monday, August 13, 2007

Fasting Out Loud?

Growing up, I don't remember hearing much in the church about the spiritual discplines. To me, discipline was something your parents did when you misbehaved. And if I did happen to study something about the spiritual disciplines in church or in school, it was probably referred to as something that people did back in the "Bible days" but that was antiquated and no longer practiced.

Of course, now I know better. I realize that some of the things that I often do--such as intercessory prayer--are considered spiritual disciplines. And I realize that practicing these disciplines can help us focus on the One who truly matters, and remove the focus from ourselves.

One of the disciplines that I am not very familiar with is fasting. I've done it before, sometimes fasting from food, other times fasting from watching TV. Still, it's not something that I do with any regularity.

Last night I was thinking about all the people in my life in need of prayer for their various trials and circumstances, as well as my own trials that I need to pray about. I felt a very strong impulse to set aside tonight as a time of fasting and prayer, both for myself and in intercession for others. There's no doubt in my mind that I'll be blessed by spending that time alone with God, pouring out my heart to Him and searching His heart.

However, I did have some hesitation in mentioning that I'll be fasting. I was reluctant to share that because I don't want to come off as bragging or making myself seem more spiritually "fit" than someone else, because believe me, I'm not.

At the same time, however, since fasting is not something that is often preached upon (at my church anyway), let alone discussed in conversation with others, I wonder if we would fast more often if we were encouraged to do so more. Not out of peer pressure or a desire to fit in, but rather because of witnessing the example of others and the way they grow closer to God through their own fasting and praying, and desiring that intimacy with God for ourselves.

Any thoughts? Are fasting, praying and other spiritual disciplines meant to be shared, or something to be done in secret, with only God knowing about it?

1 comment:

DJG said...

When you are speaking out of humility...as you are....I think it is a great way to "spur each other on"