I know you are not supposed to really talk about fasting when you are actually doing it, but I feel as though this may encourage someone, so I will break the “rules” this time (Jesus does talk about it in Matthew 6:16-18). [ Note: This is not for any sort of selfish motive or attention. All the glory goes to God, for He has done great things!]
At work, (Creation Science Evangelism), we have been fasting and praying this week as a ministry. God has really been working in our hearts and lives, and there have been several huge prayer requests that have been answered! I mentioned God’s work in us first for a reason (and to bring you to the point of this post): we are not supposed to fast just for answers from God.
I was re-reading a portion about fasting from Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, and he points out the fact that many of us will fast and pray for God to give us an answer [btw, I have been guilty of this many times!] . He then proceeds to remind us that the purpose for fasting and praying is not for an answer, though we may be desiring one. The number one reason why we should fast and pray is that we may draw closer to God. By denying ourselves things that feed our flesh, and that do a great job distracting us (i.e. food, coffee, television, music, social media, etc.), and if we fill that time with talking with God and reading His Word, then we will fill those needs with Him. And then, as a result, there may also be some prayer needs that get answered.
There is nothing wrong with seeking God for an answer to a specific prayer (I John 5:14-15), but what it comes down to is motive. God desires to be in relationship with us, and wants us to draw closer to Him. A result of that relationship is that the Good Father will provide for his children what they need (Matthew 7:7-11). But if the only time we ever come close to God is to ask Him for something, then should we expect Him to just keep dishing it out?
- Have you ever had someone (either a friend or relative) that only talked to you, or got close to you, when they needed something?
- What was your response to them after a while?
- Is a healthy relationship built on what the other person can do for you? Why?
God wants you! And in return, we should simply want Him… not what He can do for us, or give us, or help us with. (Though, there are some fringe benefits to being children of the King of kings!)
Seeking His face, not His hand…