Fasting and Prayer #2
Having shared words on prayers, definitions, why and other types of prayer in series of other articles titled “prayer”, I introduced fasting in my first article, defining it and telling us its types. I shall continue with fasting in this article sharing with us why we need to abstain from foods.
Why Abstaining from Food?
Though foods are necessary for humans growth and development, repairing of some damaged tissues in our bodies, however, as recommended by Jesus, I want us to see some of the reasons why it is good for us to abstain from food during fasting periods.
1. It Was the Weapon Satan Once Used
Food is the weapon which Satan once used to get our fore parents in the garden of Eden leading to man’s fall. He used food to entice them and drew them to himself.
2. To Have Victory/Control Over Flesh
When we deny ourselves food, we shall by that grow in having victory over the flesh which every time wages war against the spirit of God in us.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:17)
A believer needs to always put his body, flesh under control, believers who have not reached that status is essentially a babe and needs to work on him or herself.
3. To be Focused on Prayer
So that our minds focus what we are praying on. We need to know that Eve lost focus because of food and that is what Satan is doing today, drawing our hearts to what will injure us, to what would make us lose focus and take us out of tune with the Lord. Sometimes if not all the times when we are full, we would not be able to focus well on what we are praying on.
Though it is not good to be hungry, but it is certain when we overfeed ourselves we shall not be able to pray. That is the problem with many a one why they find it hard communing with the Lord during the midnight hour, because they eat too much before going to bed, and to wake up at night to pray becomes difficult if not near impossible, they will just be rolling from an edge of the bed to other, that is if they wake up at all.
We know that good sportspersons do not over feed themselves if really they want to make appreciable impact in the sports, because being over fed would weigh them down limit their rate of activities, thinking faculties at times may be slowed down by over eating.
“Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” (1 Cor 6:13)
And we should know that the christian journey too is also a race, we cannot avoid toying with it, if indeed we are heavenly conscious.
4. To Avoid Temptations
M. Kuckey says, when we are full, temptations always arise, and we may be moved towards false belief by the devil.
Who Can Fast?
We need to know that no one is exempted from fasting, irrespective of how old you are.
Everyone can fast. This is because we can all give up something e.g. Television, Radio and or those things that we cannot do without in day, such could be left for a time to get close to the Lord. (Jonah 3:7ff; Est. 4:16)
“And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
“But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.” (Jon 3:7-8)
From the above bible verses we need to know that in the land of Nineveh where the king proclaimed a fast, there would be old people there, there would be sick folks there, there would be those who are on drugs there, perhaps on hourly basis, yet they all complied with the wishes and the directives of their king and things changed for them, God repented of the evil that he purported in doing and save the land from destruction.
This therefore implies that those who are on medications (as a case study) give up some things other than what would keep them alive which was their medications maybe they leave interacting with people, maybe they do not allow visitors to come to them at the hospital bed where they were to reflect on what the king has said, joining their hearts with that of others to seek the face of the Lord to have mercy on them and deliver their land and that was done for them.
This would go for old ones too; they leave social activities and lives among other things for a while to seek the Lord.
Aims/Purposes of Fasting
Having seen above that fasting is neither a commandment nor compulsory in the bible for anyone, but it is highly recommended for us to do. We need to however see some of the aims and purposes of undergoing this exercise which makes the Lord to recommend it for believers.
(i) To Develop Closer Walk with God
When we want to know someone intimately we shall deny ourselves some things, some pleasures just to be associated with the person. In the same way is it for believers who wish to know more of God, believers who wish to be close with his heavenly father, would leave some things to be close to him as prophet Amos says, two people cannot walk together except they be united. (Am. 3:3; Ps. 24)
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Am. 3:3)
(ii) To Focus on God
If we do not want our focus to be blurred neither impaired we need something like this to focus God rightly.
(iii) To Remove Our Focus from Things of the World
The world is polluted flesh and since our fore parents have sinned in the garden of Eden, we put our focus more on thins of the world that would perish other than things of the spirit and God. Therefore, if we want to discipline the flesh and remove our focus from the flesh we shall need this exercise.
(iv) To Show Our Seriousness
It is a way to demonstrate to God and ourselves that we are serious about our relationships with Him. When a lover is serious with his or her partner, the serious lover would not want to lose the person. The same for a member of staff who is serious with the company work, the establishment would not want to lose that serious staff. If we do not want God to set us aside or discard us, we need this exercise to show him we are serious.
Having seen some of the aims of embarking on fasting though not a commandment from God, I trust we shall put our minds to doing this knowing full well that we can give something, and it is not a must that you deny yourself food daily. I shall continue in the next article with words on fasting.
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