Fast, Pray, Grow
This week is Holy Week, the final week of the Daniel Fast. Pastor Cosby invited people who were not participating in the Daniel Fast to join us now for the five remaining days. He reminded us that the purpose of the Fast is to draw closer to God. It is never too late to do that.
Although I did not start this blog until a week after Ash Wednesday, I began the Daniel Fast on Ash Wednesday. I have been faithful despite a couple of times I ate foods that were not recommended—who goes to New Orleans and fasts the entire time??!! Actually, I am not as bothered about the eating of foods on the “Do not eat” list as I am about my focus on food during the entire Fast. Somehow I feel when I focus on what I should eat or what I should drink I am not focusing on God and our relationship.
I began to notice that I was thinking about food all the time. I think it is important to understand the value of eating nutritiously which is why I wrote several blogs on healthy eating. However, as we approached Holy Week I felt exhausted; not from what I wasn’t eating. I was exhausted because I was spending so much time thinking about food that I wasn’t spending enough time with God.
For over a decade during Lent I have set aside time for prayer, reflection, and writing in my journal. Without fail I have experienced a serenity, a surrender, and a sense of renewal at the end of the 40 days. I miss the focus on just God and me—me and God. Interestingly, God managed to break through my preoccupation with food to show up and give me some words for my spiritual growth. In spite of myself, God entered into my busyness to give me insight and peace. I am grateful for the ways I have grown this 40 days. My growth is all about God rather than my own discipline or strength.
As I come to the end of this 40-day Fast, I realize that, I need to take the focus off the Fast and the food and place it on me and God—God and me. I feel that God values our efforts. Scripture says:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Whether you participated in the Daniel Fast or not; tried to but did not complete the Daniel Fast; or is wondering what Daniel I am talking about does not matter if you know who God is. What matters is whether you have faith that God hears your prayers and will show up when you diligently search for him. It matters that you believe that God will reward you with his presence, with his power, with his love. You will grow in grace, strength, and joy not because you followed a Fast, but because you earnestly follow Jesus and his practices.
Prayer: Loving God, I tried to do the Fast right and failed to simply focus on you. Please forgive me. Thank you for continuing to bless me as I grow as you intend. Amen.